Five Rounds – Round One

Ever wonder which is better, agency life, the freedom of freelance or the stability of in-house? Maybe a better question is which is better for your design career?

5-Rounds offers you a ringside seat for what is set to be a slugfest of opinions. We’re introducing a new format where three experts go toe-to-toe with 5 rounds of questions covering everything you need to help decide the winning approach for your career.


Our experts are:

Deanna Dionne, Creative Contractor
Jim Masie, Senior Graphic Designer at AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Chris Haas, Art Director at Flourish Agency



DD: I work in a live/work artist’s loft in downtown Cleveland. No, I do not share my workspace although I at times hire help to come work with me on a temporary basis, or host collaborations.

JM: I work in an office building located in downtown Cleveland. My workspace is a low-visibility cubicle, which allows for quick and easy interaction/collaboration with my fellow employees. I have my own desk/cubicle that is positioned in a 6 person workspace group.

CH: Our office setting is modern and simplistic with an open environment. We play a variety of music through our space, so it is rarely quiet. We also have a full kitchen, small bar and a Ping-Pong table that doubles as our lunchtime hangout. We have a very open environment where the creatives share large tables, but have their own workspace. This allows constant sharing of ideas and Q&A.



DD: It varies day-to-day. I enjoy an early start, sometimes rolling out of bed at 7:00 AM and immediately getting to work. I like to be able to knock out a good 5 hours of work before lunch. Other days I move a bit slower and will make myself a nice breakfast which rolls into lunchtime, and start in the afternoon.

JM: I start my work day between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM. Time varies based on traffic into downtown.

CH: 8:30 AM is the start. But, as a perk, we allow creatives to flex their time 2 hours in both directions. I typically choose to start later and stay later. (Not sure flex-time is a standard perk at most agencies.)



DD: I view it more as how many hours of work I do in an entire day, not what time I do it. I spend 3 to 7 hours a day on client work or on my personal work. Some days I’ll stack my personal work with client work, and some days I won’t work at all.

JM: I end my day between 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM. If I have completed my tasks for the day (or at a good stopping point), I will leave closer to 4:30 PM. If I need to stay longer I will stay up to 5:00 PM. Occasionally I will work later than 5:00 PM.

CH: 5:00 PM, but once again, it could be as early as 3:30 PM or late as 6:30 PM.


DD: I usually have about 3 meetings a week, each for different clients. We may schedule these through a phone agreement, email, or even Facebook messaging.

I often drive to meet my client at their place of work or a coffeeshop. Being in their environment helps me get to know their business quickly and clearly see what problems need solving. I also enjoy Google Hangouts for clients out-of-state to use screen-sharing to discuss designs and even work together on-the-fly.

JM: I average around 1 meeting per day, but can be up to 3. Usually, meetings are in person and on-site. Occasionally I will participate in conference calls and attend off-site meetings at a pre-determined time and location.

CH: Creatives typically don’t have many meeting because the AEs cover most client communication, but there are certain client meetings that occasionally need an Art Director or a creative to attend. Clients typically like to come to our space, so most are face-to-face. The rest are done over conference calls.



DD: My Adobe CC subscription serves me well and is a steady tax write-off. I have no software limitations.

JM: I start by researching the software. Then submit a proposal to my manager (the proposal will provide justification for the software acquisition). After manager approval, I submit a request to our Help Team, which processes the request and installs the software on my computer.

CH: We are currently on Creative Cloud, so software is auto updated. Each creative also gets a personal copy for home.


DD: 1/10… I get all the drama I need from Facebook and reality TV.

JM: I would rate drama a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being severe). Normally, we don’t experience a lot of drama. On occasion, drama does increase closer to deadlines, when projects have exceeded the deadline or a rush project has been requested.

CH: If your workspace has more than one person, there will be some sort of drama. My personal experience says the larger the workforce the larger the drama. A healthy work environment and even-keeled coworkers can help mitigate the drama.

By Kassey Sikora
Published September 14, 2017
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