In-house design jobs – Everything you need to know

July 30, 2019 posted by


– Hello and welcome back
to my design job series. In the previous video in this series we went over the three main
different types of design jobs, in-house, agency, and freelance. And now in this video, and the next two, we’re gonna dig into each one of those in a little more detail. I’m gonna start with in-house design because that is what I do. We’re gonna cover what the job is and what kind of work you’ll do there, some of the challenges that you might face and also the skills that
you need to be good at it. (upbeat music) – First, a quick refresher. If you’re an in-house designer that means that you’re a designer based
internally at a company working on their brand and projects. So rather than working with
a bunch of different clients, instead you’re gonna get to
know one brand and their app or product, what it is, really well. In-house design jobs
can kind of be divided into two categories. There’s the tech jobs, which
are for software companies, for apps, for websites. And then there’s the non-tech jobs, which are more for traditional companies like perhaps a retailer or
magazine, things like that. I would say that graphic design roles are the ones that you’re
most likely to find at a non-tech company working in-house, mostly because the
companies tend to be smaller so they’re looking for
more of a generalist rather than a specialist. Although of course there
are larger companies as well in this non-tech space and in
those ones you’re more likely to find the specialist roles
like illustration for example. My first role in the
design industry actually was being an in-house graphic
designer at a distributor that sold fridges and heat pumps, those sort of home
appliances and in my role I handled things like
branding, advertising, posters, campaigns. We had an internal print
magazine that we did so it was a lot of print work with the odd digital thing here and there. Although I would say that these days, especially graphic design roles, are getting more and more digital because every business needs a website. Like I said, you’ll find
these in-house design roles at many different types of companies, from small ones like retailers or there’s a lot of print
shops hire graphic designers and they go up to larger
companies like magazines, e-commerce stores, and in
London especially there’s a lot of fashion brands that hire
a lot of in-house designers to work on their website and do their advertising and things. If it’s a smaller company you’re joining as an in-house designer,
first of all, like I said, they’re probably gonna be expecting you to be more of a generalist
and that also means you won’t be working on
a design team most likely and have a design manager so that’s something to keep in mind, that you need to be really
good at communicating about design to people
who aren’t designers. A huge portion of in-house
design roles these days though are in the tech industry,
especially if you’re living in a major city and I separated these out because the way design
works at a tech company is a bit different from the way it works at a non-tech company. Design roles at a tech
company can be split into one of two things usually, either product design or marketing design. Now they’re both in-house roles
because you’re both working for the company and not for other clients. You’re working on the
same brand, same product, but product design and marketing design have very different tasks
associated with them. A product designer will work
on the app, on the software, whatever it is that the tech
company makes and sells, so they need to be really,
really good at UX and UI design, research and learning
from the user’s journey. Unless you join a company
in a very early stage, usually being a product designer will mean that you’re making incremental
changes and improvements to an app that already exists to make it better for the users. Now UI and UX is also really
important in marketing design because one of the main
tasks of a marketing designer is to design the website that
markets the tech product. But usually a marketing
designer will also work on things like branding,
advertising, marketing collateral, whatever it is that the company needs in order to market their product. So while most tech company
marketing design roles will have digital website design focus, you also need some classic
graphic design skills in there to apply to all of those other tasks. One of the main challenges
that I’ve come across being an in-house designer over the years is that because design
is generally just a part of the organization rather
than the focus of it, like it would be at a
design agency for example, you often find yourself having to fight for the value of design
and explain it to people so I’ve had to get really
good at communicating why design is important over the years. You have to kind of learn a
spiel that you can just spit out explaining why design isn’t
just making things pretty, but is instead a vital
part of building a brand that people trust and making information really
easy to understand and digest so people are more likely to
be educated and stick around. Another challenge with in-house design is that you are working with
the same brand day in, day out and of course there’s room
for creativity and changes, but you can’t go wild and do
a completely different style for every single new project because things would get very fragmented and especially if you’re
part of a design team you need to make sure that
any huge shifts in style, even small ones really,
need to be discussed within the group so that
everyone is aware of it and on board because that’s the style that they’re gonna need to incorporate into their designs going forward. So there are probably more
constraints with in-house design than there would be at, say an agency where you can essentially start
fresh with each new project. I would say that in-house
design is more about incremental changes to improve the way that information is displayed,
the way something works in a way that still fits with the brand. I mean, I personally
enjoy those constraints and I enjoy the personal
connection that comes with working in-house for one brand, but I’m aware that not
everyone might feel that way. To be a good in-house
designer you definitely need to be good at communication
and, like I said before, communicating with people who
aren’t in the design world and might not understand all
these strange design terms that you’re using. You also have to be good with
communicating with your team because this is not
your project in a silo, but is actually a project
that affects the whole team. For example, if you wanted
to tweak the shade of blue that you used slightly, you’ve gotta tell the rest of your team because
they’ve got to update it across all of their designs as well, so you’ve gotta be mindful
of things like that. You also need the ability
to step back from your work to critique it because you do feel quite
a personal connection to it so it can be really easy to be too close and harder to be objective. You should also be good at
keeping things cohesive, so the ability to zoom in and
really perfect one small piece that you’re working on,
but then also zoom out and look how that fits
within the wider picture of the designs that all
the rest of your team and company are creating. As you heard, there’s slightly different technical skill sets
depending on what type of in-house design you wanna do. So to be a marketing
designer at a tech company or design in general
at a non-tech company, you do need to be more of a generalist and I would say with more
of a focus on web design because this is 2017 and
everyone lives on the internet. And then if you wanted
to be a product designer your UI and UX skills would
have to be absolutely topnotch because that’s what you’ll be spending most of your time doing. To round this whole look at
an in-house design job off, I would say that it would
really suit someone who firstly, doesn’t mind working with the same brand and having some constraints
to work on things in an incremental process,
to create something, learn from it and improve on it next time. If you like trying new styles all the time and doing something completely new, then it’s probably not gonna be for you, but if you do wanna feel
more of a personal connection to your brand, then
in-house might be ideal. So that my friends is a
more in depth look at what an in-house design role is
and I hope you enjoyed it. Hope you got some value from it. If you’ve got any
questions about it though, please leave them down
below in the comments because I will definitely
be keen to answer those. If you didn’t hear yet,
I started a Patreon, which is really exciting. I’m basically using it
as a membership site where you pay a monthly fee and you get a bunch of different
content to learn from, so there’s things like
assets to do with my videos, behind the scenes content. Even one tier has a
monthly Google Hangout call where you can discuss
anything that you’re working, get critique, whatever it is you need. I’m pretty excited about it and there’s a bunch of really
great people in there already so if you wanna join, it’ll be on a card, it’ll be linked in the
description and what do you know, the link’s on the screen as well. So, hopefully see you in there. Thanks for watching this video. Give it a thumbs up if you enjoyed it and I will see you in the next one. Bye. (upbeat music)

23 Comments

23 Replies to “In-house design jobs – Everything you need to know”

  1. Hey Lauryn says:

    Great video. Also really liked the transitions you used as well.

  2. Lucas Keavney-Rattue says:

    Working as a freelance designer I work with new brands on almost a weekly basis. Do you ever get bored working within a sole companies branding? If so how do motivate yourself to keep working?

  3. Nhan Trinh says:

    I don't know why, but every single time when I watch your videos, I always feel so excited. Your videos're great.

  4. Kathy Weller says:

    This is excellent and so helpful for those starting out in design!! Great work!! Congrats on starting Patreon! Your hair is stunning! I have to piggyback on the person complimenting your transitions. I love them. Do you use Final Cut Pro?

  5. Danni Hill says:

    Any tips on staying creative when working full time in house? My goal is to work in a studio but I'm worried my portfolio won't be that varied when it comes to applying and that I'll have 'lost' my creative touch 🙈

  6. Adrian Leonard Canning says:

    Hey Charlie another interesting video, Thank you by the didn't you say in one of your precious videos that you will do a video on becoming a limited company, are you still planing on doing that and when.

  7. iamtimchung says:

    Great video 👍

  8. Twinkle Jumani says:

    Hey Charli! Congrats on 70k subscribers… loving the little animations and effects throughout the video… could you please name the fonts used in this video? And obviously a very relevant and crisp content… u know how much i love your videos… Kudos gurlllll!

  9. Matilde Wittrup says:

    How many projects would you recommend you list when you apply for a job? A link to all of them or just the most relevant projects?

    Also really amazing video 🙂

  10. osage says:

    Great information and well put out video 🙂 appreciate all the info!

  11. Bebe Ran Bi says:

    Hi Charlie, your videos really opened my eyes to UI/UX. I've been thinking about switching my role to UX, and I am currently learning some useful tools, and shadowing other UX designers at my company. Just want to say thank you for keeping the topics interesting!

  12. Toni Conn says:

    Congratulations on starting your Patreon!

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  14. Musicman The FAM says:

    Thank you for sharing your input on in-house design. Do you think a in-house design job would be a good job for someone who recently just graduated University to get some practice before they apply to a studio?

  15. Cody Brown says:

    Nice video Charlie! Keep em' coming 😀

  16. Jai Mitchell says:

    As a product designer in an agency setting, you’d be surprised how often I still have to argue for the value of design. Mainly with clients/partners that came to you FOR ‘design’ but had a warped concept of what the word means.

    Great explainer video though, I also teach part tome at a graphic design college occasionally, I’ll definitely link this series of explainers to the students when they’re all up.

  17. andy t says:

    Will u marry me?

  18. Eric lau says:

    HI, I just graduated and now I am job hunting… I am quite worried that why will not hire me because I am a fresh grad and have very little experience… I have try some company but they never replay my email.

  19. Sarah Alyse says:

    Great video!! I'd probably separate out working in house at a print firm is different to in house for another company as you're working on not only the branding for the print house but also the customers work. So there's a lot of variety and if you're not into dealing with clients directly and dealing with people who want the cheapest possible design probably not the right place.

  20. ☆Rachel Rochelle☆ says:

    I love your hair!

  21. Gibeom Lee says:

    I wish to become an inhouse designer because when I am in design class with my class mates, I feel stressed out because it feels like I need to compete with them to be the best.

    Limitation of the creativity is the downside, but I think I will be a lot happier if I'm not in the position of competition and just mind my own business.

  22. Saurav Kumar says:

    I am an aspiring fashion designer I am presently in a fashion school in ug programme , I found Ur videos useful how can I have a regular contact with u

  23. Oleg Fedak says:

    You speak fast.

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