New beginnings

Beginning something new, when it is a change to something you’ve been doing for years, can be difficult. I remember, when switching from shooting film photographs to shooting digital, it was a blessed release to no longer have the worry of how things were going to turn out: that the uncertainty and frustration of knowing I could do better would be more under control. Sure, there were times at the beginning when I questioned the change: would I be able to make the same kinds of picture? Would I still have full creative control over what I wanted to achieve, or would the change simply mean that my long years of experience would be voided by the requirements of the future? I found that by learning to apply my knowledge to the new medium, and being patient enough not to expect instant great results, I could achieve and even exceed the quality of my previous work.

And so it has been today. I began my new job with Burson-Marsteller Switzerland as Web and Screen Designer in Dani Jörg‘s Crossmedia team, joining an experienced team of designers and media producers in the Bern offices. An earlier start than I have been used to, but one which was made much easier by bright sunshine and a keenness to meet my new team colleagues and begin the latest phase of my life. A tour of the offices, housed in a large airy office within what appears to be a converted brewery (of which photos soon); a team meeting with much concentration on slightly unfamiliar dialects; meeting new team colleagues and going straight into overviews of websites, projects and plans for the future.

From my first day’s experience, things will be much different here at Burson Marsteller, from the working hours to the work I will be doing. Coming from ten years’ of programming and problem solving, the new job is a divergence into much more conceptual and non-visual creative work, alongside the graphic design and occasional online media production. Projects ranging from an international transport group to well-known Swiss brands and internal re-designs are at the planning stage; some of them requiring my visually creative expertise whilst others play more to consultancy and know-how experience in the area of online design. Work, which was billed by my previous employer in tight, monitored, quarter-hourly increments, will be calculated here in advance on more flexible and all-encompassing rates. The modern necessity of accurate, daily reporting is – of course – a continued must but is slightly let down by the slight disharmony of the system with my Mac computer.

First experiences of the advertising aspect to the company, for which my role is primarily aimed, reminded me a little of Stephen Fry’s comedy Absolute Power, albeit with a less London-based suit and tie approach but with all the impromptu demand for a quick brain and ready wit. I think I acquitted myself well enough when challenged to come up with a punchy slogan for a website re-think, and managed to come up with some reasonable (if not necessarily perfect) suggestions. So, a good, tiring and challenging first day. There is much new ground to be assessed and covered, beginning pretty much immediately, but I am certainly enjoying it and am up to the challenges of a new way of working. The familiar, easy route of design and production for small, local clients remains a good foundation, where the challenges of the new role will build my abilities, competencies and – the point of the move – my enjoyment of my daily work.