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What I Wish I Knew Before Joining Creative Ink

by Dajah Ray

As a sophomore undergrad, an on-campus marketing agency sounded intense and very “real-world”. I was interested but didn’t commit simply because I didn’t know enough about it. Fast forward a couple years, here I am as a senior at Stephens College, who finally took a chance with Creative Ink and joined the team as a Creative Executive. If I could go back in time to my uncertain sophomore self who wasn’t sure about Creative Ink, I would tell her this:

1. You’ve Got a Friend in Creative Ink

I was convinced that once I would join Creative Ink, I would be given clients and would have to take on 100% responsibility in communicating with them and designing pieces all on my own. False!

Once you join, you’ll be paired with a compatible partner to make a team. There are two positions that make a team: Account Executive or Creative Executive. The Account Executive handles all the communication with clients such as emails, thank you letters, etc. The Creative Executive is the designer of the team, so if they aren’t intimate with Adobe Creative Suite, they’re about to be. When you apply, you get to choose which position you want. When paired with your partner, you two will tackle all the projects together. Each partner has very specific responsibilities and expectations, so for all my type A friends out there like myself, you’re in the clear!

2. Get Familiar with Time Management

95% of the client work that is done for Creative Ink will need to be done on your own time outside of class—yay time management! Look forward to strengthening your organization, time management, and task delegation. There are set meetings every week for class that are
used to discuss progress with clients, receive feedback on designs, meet a guest speaker in the industry, or have small assignments.
Tip 101: Find a scheduling resource that works best for you such as a planner notebook, Google Calendar, etc. And actually use it!

3. Craft Your Creativity

Although there is a lot of structure within the course and the position you uphold, there are chances that clients will allow you to have full creative freedom on their projects. Some clients come to meetings knowing exactly what they want and how they want it to look.
Others come to the meeting having a rough idea of what they want but need your assistance in bring an idea to life. This is where your creativity comes in!

This can be extremely overwhelming for some, but with proper communication, task delegation, and time management, full creative freedom can be a fun and healthy challenge. Plus, you’ll only get better with practice!

4. Prepare for Professional Training

Creative Ink is essentially an opportunity to put what you know about marketing and design to the test like you would an internship. You’ll work with real life clients who expect real life results. You’ll learn how to professionally and effectively communicate with colleagues and clients, schedule meetings, meet deadlines, and present your final pieces. Throughout the whole process, you’ll be building and perfecting your personal creative process as a professional. The sooner you get the hang of that, the better you’ll be able to handle various
projects!

5. Your Resume and Portfolio Will Thank You, Seriously

Going into Creative Ink I knew the experience would look good on my resume to future employers and clients. However, I underestimated exactly how beneficial it would be to my resume, portfolio, and professional experience. With Creative Ink, you’re not only able to talk the talk with the experience on your resume, but also to walk the walk with the work in your portfolio! The portfolio is the holy grail to
future employers and potential clients because it shows them how qualified you really are for certain positions and projects.

Creative Ink has helped me as a marketing and graphic design professional by allowing me to understand and craft my creative process, put information I learned about marketing and graphic design to the test, build a strong resume and portfolio, and bring me closer to understanding what I enjoy doing as a career. If I could go back, I would have joined sooner and told my sophomore self to jump on the opportunity as soon as possible!

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