Thoughts on working in-house early in career versus the other way around? I’m a student and my past experience and internship offers are heavy on the in house ‘startup’ d2c brand archetype... Will this hurt my chances of later going into an agency role? Concerned if I’m pigeonholing myself too early.

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honestly as a designer i would stay in-house unless you can get an AD role on the agency side. i've had this same convo with mentors before who in turn told me that designers aren't respected on the agency side (time and idea wise at least) and are better off with more autonomy working directly at a brand

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My personal experience is that design usually stays pretty flexible as long as you’re still growing in the same skills you could leverage at an agency as well. It’s more likely that you may pigeon hole yourself into one industry or one type of design (b2c or d2c), print vs digital, etc etc. Agencies tend to have larger design teams and more turnover so they often hire based on skill level and strong portfolios because they have a regular need for talent.

I’ve hopped between in house and agency - I will say agency experience is great for quickly adding to your portfolio (maybe some big names) and getting exposure to different problems/working with other teams and client relations. I have found in my own career that doing some freelance design on the side often helps you develop a lot of these similar skills of time management and the nuances of working with a client and managing expectations.

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