My job is unpredictable, unlike the dull predictability that the Central line provides me every morning and evening. I will usually be briefed twice a day and will usually ask at least two unintelligent questions that show an intellectual gap in my armour but, apart from that, I can never tell what I’ll spend my time working on.
Monday morning usually consists of a fairly awkward presentation to the rest of the creative department on what I did the previous week, as my shaky hands attempt to hold up run-outs and my stuttering mouth attempts to pad out copy amends.
Copy amends are the bread and butter of a designer’s work but, as someone told me when I started, "you have to taste the sour to appreciate the sweet", and I’ve realised just how true that is. When you get a really nice piece of work to sink your teeth into, it makes the endless rounds of amends completely worthwhile.
Later on in the week, I saw a girl from the creative department in the lift. Embarrassingly, she was wearing exactly the same beige trench coat as me. There was an air of awkwardness after she realised it too. After a tense 30-second negotiation, it was agreed I would be allowed to wear mine on Mondays and Wednesdays, while she would wear hers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Friday, we decided, would be a trench coat free-for-all.
Throughout the week, I slowly begin to see progress as I finish the jobs that I had been briefed on at the start of the week. Kerning the final characters of some of the beautiful Virgin Holidays headlines, hearing a subtle sigh of relief from account handlers as I send over those final PDFs. I can then move on to working on some of the upcoming pitch work.
We are currently pitching for various pieces of business and, as a designer, that means I usually play a role in the process – I love pitches, they’re fantastic. Out of nowhere, a potential new client with its new products, new philosophies and new branding styles comes and knocks on the door of Lida, shaking everybody inside into a whirlwind of creativity and anarchy.
In a pitch, you’re working insane hours in a team of fine people with an urgency to provide outstanding work that is going to make jaws drop. Since I’ve been at Lida, I’ve been on pitches for clients such as Virgin Holidays and Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest. In turn, I’ve realised that there is no greater feeling than hearing that the work you helped produce beat all the other competing agencies.
So, as the week ends, I pack my bags, say goodbye to the wife and kids and prepare for another seven-hour flight to meet with the New York chief executive. If, by bags, I mean a Tesco carrier bag containing a half-eaten cheese-and-pickle sandwich. And, by New York, I mean my mum’s house in Essex.
Oh well. At least I can wear my trench coat on Monday. That’s something to look forward to.
Josh Cadwallader is a design apprentice at Lida