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The Key Characteristics of an Olive & Company Graphic Designer

The response to our Graphic Designer job post has been fantastic. It’s inspiring to look through the portfolio submissions and see work from so many amazingly talented designers from all over the world. We’re grateful for everyone’s interest in our company, and we wish we had ten more open positions to fill.

The job post includes the standard elements that appear in most listings (responsibilities, skills, experience, etc.), but most of those details probably look similar to many other graphic designer job opportunities. In order to provide a more thorough overview of exactly what we’re looking for in a graphic designer, we thought we should step back from the details and describe the bigger picture.

Finding the Right Fit

As experienced designers know, every design firm has their own unique culture and process. Firms are defined by their values, leadership, size, focus, and myriad other factors. While there are obviously many common characteristics among successful graphic designers, the specific characteristics that make someone well-suited for a position at one agency don’t necessarily make them a good fit at other agencies.

At Olive & Company, we’re looking for someone whose skills will help our team and our clients, whose personality will fit our culture, and whose creativity will thrive in our studio environment. We’re looking for someone who …

… Is Passionate About Design and Driven to Help Clients

Hopefully, this one is obvious. Everyone at Olive & Company is passionate about design. Our team consists of designers, developers, strategists, planners, and others, but the one common trait we all share is a profound passion for design. We’re not here to design for ourselves, though. We believe that design has the power to transform culture and business, and we’re driven to use design to help our clients achieve their goals. More than anything else, we’re looking for people that share this fundamental value.

… Is Skilled at Design Craft, But Never Content

Having passion is essential, but, when deadlines loom, we need people who can put that passion into proficient, prolific, design work. Our clients expect superior-quality work, and they expect it to be done by yesterday. We can’t afford for anyone on our team to struggle with design fundamentals or tools. At the same time, though, the tools, technology and trends of our industry evolve rapidly. We expect everyone on our team to adapt and learn, and we’re looking for people that embrace that process.

… Is Focused On the Details (All of Them)

Our designers are responsible for the work they produce, and for all of the details that surround that work. No matter how many people may be involved in a project, our designers take ownership of everything they create, every email they send, every meeting they attend. The details matter to us and to our clients. We need our designers to pay attention to every detail, and to understand how those details reflect on us and our work.

… Embraces Collaboration and Teamwork

Our design process is a collaborative effort. Brainstorming, sketching, concepting, and reviewing. One way or another, we always have multiple people working on, and thinking about, projects. We don’t believe in “designing by committee,” but we do believe in collective brainpower. If you’re uncomfortable working closely with others, sharing and receiving feedback, or pitching in on projects mid-stream, chances are pretty good that you won’t be comfortable at Olive & Company. We’re building a team, and we want to add people that enjoy open creative collaboration.

… Possesses an Infinitely-Flexible Skill Set

This may be the biggest difference between an agency like Olive & Company and large advertising agencies. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with “specialist” graphic designers. Designers can focus all of their attention on logo design, type design, or even packaging design at some agencies, but we need designers that can move quickly from logo and brand identity design work, to website designs, to ad layouts, and back again. Our designers don’t have to develop fully-responsive, content-managed websites from scratch (we have developers for that), but we do expect all of our designers to thoroughly understand the principles of modern interactive design, and to have a basic working knowledge of HTML and CSS. Pitching in on video production, motion graphics, and messaging helps, too. Essentially, we’re looking for multi-talented people who can do a lot of things and do them all at a high level.

… Is Off and Running

This one is probably true at most creative firms, but it’s particularly true at a company like ours. We like to have fun in our studio, but we also move fast. That’s the nature of our business. No one here has time to micro-manage, so every one of our designers – and everyone else on our team – must be a self-starter. If you have downtime, seek out ways to help other designers. If you see an opportunity to push a project to a higher level, point it out. If you have an idea for a process tweak that could improve our studio’s productivity, bring it up. Self-motivation and initiative are valued and rewarded at Olive & Company.

Putting Together the Perfect Team

After ten years of business, we know quite a bit about studio chemistry and productivity. We also know that nothing is more important to a design agency’s success than the make-up of its team. Our goal is always to put together a team that best suits our studio and the needs of our clients. If you have the characteristics we’ve outlined here, apply or contact us today.

Erik Norsted
Erik Norsted
Erik has spent his entire career immersed in every aspect of marketing and branding. His expertise around current digital trends, content strategy, and technical best-practices proves invaluable as he guides clients through the dynamic Modern Marketing landscape.