Why are we so desperate to hire senior designers that I’m wearing a t-shirt that announces we’re hiring senior designers?

(The t-shirt got its first outing at a @CreativeReview event in London where I was on a panel — it generated a bunch of comments and conversation)

There’s a couple of reasons I’m making a human sandwich board out of myself.

First, I clearly don’t have any shame.

Second, we’re attempting to cast our net a bit wider than normal. We’d love to hear from designers who’ve never considered working at an agency like Wieden+Kennedy. Actually, we’d especially like to hear from designers who’ve never heard of us.

I’d love to get even a couple of new folk to think about why it might be fun / interesting / worth giving a shot. And by wearing this dumb t-shirt I have an excuse to write this blog post which helps to tell a bit of the story of design at W+K.

By the way the story is still massively unwritten. And that’s a big part of why I like this place. It’s not afraid to admit what it doesn’t know. And as long as people come through the door with an untwatty attitude everyone loves welcoming new people, new skills, and new kinds of creativity. That includes designers who may never have been anywhere near advertising before.

W+K is a place where “The Work Comes First”. You’ll find that mantra on mugs, screens, dog-eared notepads and lord knows where else. It’s an easy thing to say, but a much harder thing to live every day. But I think there’s been a culture where that’s true for years and years. It’s not about money, politics, or any of that nonsense. Through thick and thin, better and worse, it’s always all about ‘the work’.

It also gets talked about as a place where people come to do the best work of their lives. (We hope that’s as true of our clients as it is our people). Whoever you are, whatever you do, we do our very best to give everyone the space, support, and opportunity to do great things.

And this is at least as true for designers, if not more so.

What makes W+K a special place for designers?

Recently we asked a bunch of the designers who work here why they find this a great place for them to work. Specifically about their role, and what they get to do and make as designers. The top 4 things were:

Diversity of work and people

Designers get involved with making all kinds of stuff here - of course there’s posters, print ads, TV-endframes and titles. But there’s also games, apps, websites, packaging, bespoke typefaces, and loads of random stuff.

But it’s more than what we make, it’s also how we make it. Because we’re an agency with a diverse range of assignments we also have an incredibly broad community of people to collaborate with - both internally and externally. Which means that one minute you could be designing a new typeface with a top-tier typographer, going on a photoshoot to Slough (or somewhere more exotic), and the next working with a community manager to figure out how to make a brand pop on Instagram.

We pride ourselves on not being afraid to try new things, and to give people a shot at stuff they’ve never done before. It’s often where the most interesting and provocative work comes from. Designers making ads that run on TV. Yes please!

Scale and cultural impact

We’re lucky enough to get to work with some of the biggest and best brands in the world. And we’ve been fundamentally involved in shaping a few of them.

We pride ourselves in doing work that makes a dent in culture. Or at worst a momentary blip. We’re not happy for our work to just sit in textbooks or annuals. We want the world to really connect emotionally and profoundly with the companies we partner with.

Creation of brand worlds

Our best work is often far more than ‘just’ making ads. When we’re at our best we create entire worlds for brands to ‘show up’ in. That’s everything from how it sounds, how it writes, how it behaves online and in the real world, and of course how it looks.

This often means diving into painstaking detail and making stickers to go on Honda space suits.

Obsession with craft

We really really care about every last detail. Perhaps this is too obvious to even say to designers, but this obsession is agency-wide. And it affects all aspects of what we create. Sometimes it means taking the long route, or grafting for an extra hour or two. But that’s what it takes to get to great.

In addition to these things, there’s all the stuff that you’d expect from a creative company. One that’s trying to make a place where people can thrive and do amazing creative work. Whether that’s trying to give people the time and space to nourish their creative brains, funding pet projects, letting people bring their dogs to work on Fridays, or just the fact that we’re constantly messing with things to try to get to better work.

Anyway, enough selling. If you’re in any way intrigued by any of this and you’re a designer with 5+ years of big chewy projects under your belt we should chat. It doesn’t matter what your specialism has been, as long as you’re excited by making great work in collaboration with half-decent people it’s worth getting in touch.

And if you’re not a senior designer, but know someone who is, can you tell them please? I could really do with not having to wear this T-shirt again.

If you’re interested email: wkdesignldn.jobs@wk.com

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