By Chrystine Witherspoon
Be a do-er. Sometimes in order to work through a challenging problem, you just need to roll up your sleeves, work late, stare at a wall with your co-workers for a while, get slaphappy, get a second wind, roll up your sleeves a little further, and then work some more. Answers (and sometimes even the direction) will never just be handed to you. Be a proactive, productive and passionate problem-solver. No woman (or man) is an island. Good work is hard to make, and it rarely happens alone. In an agency, you won’t be the sole owner of an idea. That’s okay. Actually, that’s great. You’ll be a better teammate—and produce better work—the more you get comfortable with sharing the success. Embrace the power of “yes, and…” The best work happens when ideas collide and morph and mutate and start to grow new idea limbs. Be open to something totally new, or even just slightly different. Be willing to build on anything. Because a great designer knows the value of bringing together multiple perspectives to make one great idea. Make things you love. Then, be willing to watch them die. If you love an idea, present it with conviction, listen to feedback, and if it’s time, be ready to move onto the next idea. Remember, love doesn’t always last forever. Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. Take a chance, try something you aren’t sure will work. Better yet, try something you’re sure won’t work. Just try something. Then, try something totally new. Bottom line, don’t just push pixels around a page, push yourself to find completely new solutions. The devil is in the details. And he’s a stickler for seeing things through. Ideas matter. But flawless execution is key. Have the passion, drive and attention span to stick with the project every step of the way. Curiosity: Bad for cats, great for creatives. Always ask questions of yourself and others. Poking around for new angles and unexpected insights can be the difference between something meh and something that really moves people. Be nice. And Sincere. Talent matters, but attitude is everything. Would you be fun to eat late night slices with while pulling an all-nighter? Would I want to sit next to you on an eight-hour trip to London? Can we get beers after a successful—or unsuccessful—client pitch? Bottom line: chemistry guides the agency every bit as much as great work.
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As Associate Partner, Executive Creative Director within VSA’s Design Discipline, Chrystine leads a team of designers in delivering engaging and multifaceted solutions for some of the most respected brands of the world. She is responsible for the planning and development of a variety of projects, including brand expression, packaging, corporate communications, retail, marketing and strategy. Chrystine has been with VSA since 2007. Since then, she has put her skill and strong design sensibility to work leading projects for clients such as Northern Trust, Kraft-Heinz, Target, Cole Haan, IBM and General Motors. Her work has been featured in the Society of Typographical Arts and she was featured as a design leader on CNBC’s The Profit and The Partner in 2017. Chrystine can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.