3 Years of Agency Life

3 Years of Agency Life

So I was sitting around last week literally stumped as to what my next blog post would be about when it hit me. In a month or so, I would have spent 3 years at ZGM and seeing as how this is my first agency, I thought I’d use this as an excuse to share what I’ve learnt thus far. So without getting into the nitty gritty, here’s a brief overview of things that came to mind.


Deadlines are real. We always used to complain in school about multiple projects being due at the same time, but now when I look back, I think it was a necessary piece of grooming. It’s happened quite literally here at ZGM that we’ve rolled out a hand full of websites either on the same day or during a span of a couple of days at most. When dealing with such tight timelines, it’s important that we as creatives learn to master and harness our time management skills in conjunction with having to multi-task at a level where we’ll always stay ahead of the curve.

New Technologies

The web thrives on new technologies and experiences that shape the way users absorb content. Adaptability is of the utmost importance in a designer/developer to become familiar with and execute the bi-products of an account manager’s recommendations of such experiences/technologies to the client so that they can better engage their target audience.

Account Managers

Account managers can either be your best friends or your worst enemies. Like the client, they constantly need to be educated on what the best practices are for executing ideas online that require creative concept execution with the support of proper functionality. It’s only then that they’re able to relay that information correctly to the client so that the production team has enough flex room in various aspects of completing a project such as budgets and timelines. In Calgary there are good account managers and then there are the bad apples. Good account managers are organized, always willing to learn, clear & concise in their communication, and they aren’t afraid to fight back on things like budgets or timelines. Bad account managers of course aren’t any of the above.

Art Directors

Don’t jump into a lava pit if your art director says that it’s safe to do so. Art directors are just like any other creative trying to maximize the output of creativity by having a perfect balance between concepts and executions. I’ve managed to learn a lot from my art directors here at ZGM but I’ve also picked my battles whenever I’ve felt the need to fight back on my approach. It’s made me a better critic of my own work and it’s definitely increased my attention to detail.

Concept vs. Eye Candy

It’s been said in this industry that more often than not, the concepts win awards as opposed to the way an idea is executed creatively. While I agree with that to some extent, I’ve seen eye candy being a useful tool in winning accounts or just getting through meetings. As far as judging creative work is concerned, I’ve always felt that it entirely depends on the mindset of a creative judge who will either make a decision of who bags an award on how pretty something looks or on the message a campaign is trying to get across. Just a side note on this topic: a budget should never come in the way of an amazing creative opportunity.

3 Years have flown by here at ZGM. I’ve been with the agency long enough to see it blossom into a powerhouse capable of tackling any creative challenge. With ZGM being a small to mid-sized agency, there’s no shortage of web work which really keeps me on my toes and gives me a lot of variation within a 9 to 5 time frame. I’m passionate about my personal development inside ZGM and out. I’m Umer Tahir and I hand craft websites with a lot of love from design to production. I’m also thrown into Photoshop from time to time at the request of our traditional side to perform creative voodoo.


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