RGD highlights the experiences of Greg Dubeau RGD, Art Director at m5 Marketing Communications in Halifax.
Name: Greg Dubeau
Company Name: m5 Marketing Communications, Halifax
Job Title: Art Director
2. When does your typical work day start and end?
I walk to work at 8:30 a.m., arrive between 8:45 – 9 a.m., and work until about 6 – 7 p.m. in the evening. I usually work one day on the weekend for a few hours to explore and develop concepts I wouldn’t otherwise have time for during the week.
3. What’s the first thing you do when you get to work?
The first things I do when I get to work is take out my earbuds, say good morning to whoever is in the kitchen, drop off my bag to my desk, hang up my coat in the closet, say good morning to more coworkers, then place my lunch in the fridge. Once all the housekeeping things are done I check Basecamp and my email for new messages. Then I jump on whatever project takes priority that day.
4. List the 5 things you spend the most time on during a typical work day and allot them a percentage amount (adding up to 100%).
40% — Art direction explorations
40% — Graphic design and production work
12% — Meetings and briefings
06% — Reading and responding to emails
02% — Arguing with my coworkers about our fantasy basketball league
5. Of all of the tasks you complete during the day, what is your favourite? What is your least favourite?
My favourite thing to do is a tie between developing abstract ideas into visual concepts and presenting ideas to my team and clients. Creating something out of nothing, then speaking people through your ideation is difficult, and that’s why I feel it’s so rewarding.
My least favourite thing to do is adopting projects from other designers. In my experience this is where most agency mistakes happen. It may not seem like a big deal, but (as a delicious analogy) imagine an Italian chef giving a dish to a Thai chef and asking them to finish preparing it. Yes, both chefs can cook, but their styles and knowledge of the recipe and ingredients are very different. There is absolute room for creativity and innovation, but this type of situation is also a breeding ground for mistakes.
6. Do you have any strategies to keep up your productivity/inspiration over the course of the day?
To stay motivated I rule Google Home with an iron fist. Sometimes you just have to pump Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart my Heart” on replay for an hour when you’re trying to make that EOD deadline.
My inspiration comes from trying something new on every project. Even if it’s something as simple as a leaderboard ad, there is something within the process or artwork that can be explored or executed to challenge what I think I know about design.
7. Are there any tasks that you like to do at the end of the day? That you feel you must do before you leave?
Walking home from work is a very important and zen time for me. It’s such a low-impact way of transitioning between work and non-work life. I’ve turned down jobs because the commute would have been too long. That’s how much I appreciate my time walking to and from work.
8. How has your job changed over the last year, 5 years, if at all?
There has been nothing but change in the ad agency world since I’ve entered. I love it. Change suits my personality and work ethic well. There is always something new to learn and add to my toolbox.
The biggest change has been mobile integration. A majority of projects I work on go through the “mobile device filter”. Will this work on Snapchat? Can this be shot as vertical video? Will this be in-feed or pre-roll? Mobile devices are more important than any other media channel right now, and the rate of change within that industry will dictate a huge part of my career.
Finish these sentences:
9. As a graphic designer, I can’t go a day without …
Thinking about creative things nobody has ever done before and how I can bring them into my work.
10. One thing I wish I knew when I started my career is that …
Nobody is watching. Get weird with your conceptual explorations. Don’t rely on anybody else’s expectations but your own. Aim high because it’s not worth it to only make the client happy. To have a long and satisfying career you need to find a way to make yourself and the client happy through your creativity.
11. In my job, I wish I had more time for…
Conceptual exploration and development. Always. Sometimes I just want one uninterrupted day to bond with my creativity. But that rarely happens. It’s a necessary evil though because one of the most important skills a designer can have is to shift gears on a dime between projects and clients. It’s absolutely essential in ad agencies. So I put as much energy into the time I have for conceptual explorations because I know it can shift at any moment.
12. Can you also provide an image of a project (or something else) you are currently working on?
Right now I am working on developing the visual branding for Tourism New Brunswick (first photo), which will reach various national and international markets for the next three years. I’m also working on an internal brand video for Chorus Aviation (last three photos).