by Chelsea Brierton and Kara Robertson
Red Ventures has a reputation for working fast, learning fast, and leveraging data science to make cool stuff — none of which would be possible without our uber-talented designers. We checked in with a few of them to find out what being an RV designer is really like.
1. Creatives are involved in strategy from start to finish.
Paul Briney (Creative Lead): “Red Ventures is a place where developers, who are traditionally black-and-white thinkers and linear thinkers, have an opportunity to weigh in on functionality, strategy, and user behavior. Where copywriters understand they’re not just writing 100 characters, but they’re shaping content strategy overall. Where designers understand that while there’s a difference between a red button and a black button, the location, the implementation, the content that given button is wrapped around has a strategic impact.”
2. We leverage data to drive design decisions.
Jessica Beaver (Senior Web Designer): “We rely heavily on our CE analysts to provide us with a lot of details behind the numbers… Having a deep understanding of what the problem is can eliminate a lot of design decisions and [help us] target the problem to come up with the best solution.”
Paul Briney: “Analysts suggest the theme they believe we should be designing around, and from there we do a top-down design, trying to hang onto the core data that was the inspiration behind the original concept. We’re really working toward being even more strategy-driven, as opposed to strategy-involved.”
Jake Mize (Creative Director): “Red Ventures is an environment where you actually learn why creative works. A lot of what other designers do is based on their gut or trends, directed by the client. Here, we actually use data to back our decision-making.”
Data for the win!
3. We’re empowered to focus on what we love.
Ken Hocker (Senior Web Designer): “It’s tough in the creative [freelance] world — stopping every hour to write down, ‘Oh, I just worked on that for 10 minutes and this for 20,’ etc. That’s something I always got bogged down by. But here, I’m not worrying about that, so the day goes by a lot smoother. I’m not dreading [figuring out my time sheet] every week.”
Dustin Putnam (Creative Lead): “Invoicing and getting clients can be kind of exhausting [as a freelancer]. You end up doing design 20% of the time and the rest of it is just client relations. Here, you get to spend a lot more time on the design portion of projects. And the more senior you get, you get to be more involved in the strategy, leading your teams and really owning the site that you’re building.”
4. We’re always chasing the next big thing.
Paul Briney: “There are truly no lids here. There’s no ceiling. If you dream it, you have the ability to make it. We’re in an environment that’s hungry. We’re constantly driven to find better ways, more refined ways, stronger ways. That’s what differentiates Red Ventures from other places: the status quo isn’t acceptable forever.”
5. We play well with others.
Jessica Beaver: “Front-end development has been a huge influence on the way I design, especially as things switch to a more mobile-first way of thinking… I talk to our front-end developers to find out, what’s the best way to design this to avoid a lot of extra work for you? How should I design this so the functionality results in the best customer experience? It’s just an open conversation [between creative disciplines].”
Dustin Putnam: “Being at Red Ventures has taught me that collaborating and delegating and having a good team… you can tackle tasks a lot quicker and smarter [than you can going solo as a freelancer]. And the end result will be better than if you tried to own it all.”
Ken Hocker: “The people here are amazing. There’s a lot of people here I can learn from… ’Cause if there’s not people around to push you, it’s a lot less likely that you’re going to grow.”
6. We’re flexible and adaptable.
Paul Briney: “The fact that we’re autonomous is one of our greatest strengths. Because every business is completely different. Every business has the ability to adapt to the partner, to the flow, to the urgency, to the speed — whatever it takes, we have the ability to pivot and create an environment that accomplishes what we need to accomplish.”
Ken Hocker: “When I worked in a typical agency setting, there was always a project manager hustling me along, a copywriter that used up half my design time, and a developer who’s worried you’re going to eat into their dev time. [But] I don’t feel the time squeeze here. Being more relaxed and hyper-focused on the task at hand helps me do better work… Here, everyone’s like, ‘If it can help us, let’s do it.’ That flexibility is nice.”
Jake Mize: “I can’t put a metric to how much I’ve actually learned about design [here] because of how quickly we move, how quickly we test, how much data we gather… There’s nothing else out there like it.”
Kara Robertson is a former intern and current copywriter at Red Ventures. She loves sweet potato fries, Clemson football, and teaching her less-savvy teammates about Snapchat.
Chelsea Brierton is a Red Ventures copywriter/editor. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and collecting dad jokes to spring on unsuspecting colleagues.