What New Agency comes from a complete global reset? Thinking about this question brings up a lot that has happened since the beginning of COVID in March. After starting my internship in August, I feel I have a new sense of power, power in the workplace, and power within myself.
When thinking of power in the workplace, for example, I think of professional performance, movements, and phrases that are the ways we communicate and engage. I ask myself is there a particular ‘corporate, creative’ way of speaking? I have understood that it's essential to learn this specific type of language to communicate in the right manner. Still, it raises many questions for me: who gets to speak when? Does this certain type of language exclude anyone or include only certain people? Do people have to moderate themselves to fit into this role?
Meetings with clients are where I experience this type of behavior and language first hand. As Zoom and Teams meetings are usual during these times, I remember my first digital meeting with a client as it was right after my acceptance at Scandinavian Design Group (SDG) in Oslo as an Intern.
I was thrown into an exhibition design project that SDG was doing in collaboration with HAV Eindom and Rodeo. Together, these companies would create a replica of the man-made up and coming island in Oslo called, Grønlikaia. My task was to create the informational cards placed on the island and design them compared to the rest of the exhibition.
Although this seems like an easy task, this was very challenging. Not only do you need to focus on the design of these cards, but you also need to think about placement on the island, the client's wishes, how to hold them up, and be sustainable while creating.
It was difficult as our client, Rodeo, did not feel comfortable coming to the exhibition space or coming to our offices. This resulted in all communication being done digitally. This posed a challenging task for us designers as a lot of our designs would be physical. Sending clients digital files is not the same as physically seeing and touching the design outcomes. I learned it could create misunderstandings and confusion, but taught us how we could communicate and show our physical designs in a better way.
Sett farge på Grønlikaia, Exhibition October 2020 that I worked on
Although it worked out fine and we were about to work around all the meetings only being digital, it was the first experience I had at work where COVID had a huge impact on communication. Although this was only one example I have encountered many ways in which our workplace has changed. The way everyone operates at work daily and being a junior designer in an environment during this pandemic has taught me more than I thought it would.
Coming back to the question of what New Agency comes from a complete global reset? I believe that every way each of us designers approaches a task will be different from before the pandemic. With ‘different’ I mean that we will be more understanding of each other, we will be open for people working from home, we will be there for each other, know that we can overcome anything. Thorugh the personal strength a lot of us has gained since march comes power and a power that will help each one of us to walk into the next challenge with ease.
I also feel as if I am becoming an empowered new agent through all these hands on experiences. Being so fortunate to work for an agency that is doing everything they can to complete all work digitally is very impressive while still creating a social environment for all its employees. Looking back at when we applied for DPS no one would have expected any of this. Still, I find it so inspiring and cool to see how people are doing everything in their power to continue working and being creative. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and I can say that if it wasn't for COVID, my experience at SDG would be completely different. Although we all wish this pandemic would pass, looking back at the last couple of months, even though they have been hard, I look back at them and think of the positives as I believe these months have made me an empowered new agent.