The diversity of working with the Government is the draw card for Georgia Carrington. The scope for a designer and for a studio is huge and this is one of the reasons why the work is so varied and fulfilling.
In episode 6, Vicki-Anne uncovers what working inside a studio in a large scale government department is like, the type of work they produce and what business units they manage.
Working as the Creative & Advertising Services Manager for the Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions the focus is on creating jobs and communication. Georgia outlines that great communication is the key especially in times when communicating important messages around COVID-19 are essential.
Here’s what they discussed...
The purpose of the department.
Georgia tells us that the purpose of the department is predominantly to grow the state's economy, jobs for lots of people and building thriving regions with a strong focus on inclusive communities. It's a large department with lots of internal stakeholders. Georgia looks after the Creative Services team which comprises the design studio, marketing and advertising team and advertising governance. These business units service varied entities within the department such as jobs and employment, as well as other entities such as 'Global Victoria', Agricultural Victoria and Creative Vic etc.
All these departments have their own initiatives and programs, the team also works outside the department sometimes with the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Georgia says "We are a central service essentially, we are looking at developing really highly creative and effective communication, from the design studios perspective we don't just produce great communication we solve problems. As well as looking at a different way of communicating things so that it really connects with the Victorian community and we need to stay on brand. Everything we create must adhere to the brand Victoria."
From a background in retail.
Georgia tells us that what attracted her to make the move from retail was around the scale and diversity of government. She says "It's not until you are amongst it that you see the scale. There are so many projects, brands and deliverables. We are a really diverse department and work with interesting and diverse groups. The government is spectacularly big so that when you work on so many varied projects that benefit Victoria it really makes you think your work is worthwhile and it gives you a great sense of satisfaction in all we do."
"The first thing that I thought when I first came to the department was that the standard was so high and it was really creative and the responsibility that the designers have was immense and the outputs were impressive to say the least." Georgia outlines
The department continues to build on that and what is output now is even better.
Attracting high level designers & writers and marketers to the department.
At the end of the day it's all about the standard and putting out the best possible material. There is a great deal of trust that is put upon the department to come up with innovative solutions.
Georgia says "People mistakenly think that government work is dry and it's not the case at all. We work on spectacular initiatives. The work is so creative and so diverse. We go across all channels and there is massive amounts of digital work. We are working on apps and websites and on every kind of social channel possible. Everything from books to brochures as well as all the sensible stuff." The ability to enhance and elevate those publications to a higher standard are only limited by creativity.
The team is continually being asked for more creative work and better outcomes, to make things look different, more beautiful and not like government. The brand VIC is incredibly flexible, the more distance from government the more flexible it becomes.The brand is not restrictive it really has a huge colour palette and the core elements are so flexible with a great structure and they have a good time pushing the limits of what's possible.
From the department's perspective it's common that they work on big branding projects with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of work with a huge audience and remit. All the visual elements from the logo, full colour palette, all the internal elements, style guides and templating and pitch it in and deliver documents and collateral and sending them to print or publishing them. Georgia told Vicki-Anne that the Government is working on new challenges and constantly expanding and looking at more, including animation and motion graphics and there is huge scope for that kind of work.
Highlights for the team in recent times.
The department was living and breathing covid for the past few months, with everything you see on shop windows and cafe windows which are items that the department developed which helped the Victorian public really understand and what the messages were and where they were coming from across all channels and at breakneck speed.
The team have been working on the new brand 'Global VIC' which is the trade agency for Victoria and the team recently supported them with a new beautiful brand and entity. Another is Agriculture Victoria which is so important to so many and that was also a great project to work on for the design team under Georgia's management.
Simple things have worked well for the team during COVID in order to communicate, they used toggle to track simple projects and slack which is common but for a team that is used to yelling out and communicating constantly they have managed effectively using slack.
"It will be a different environment, we are not going to be in the office all the time and there's more flexibility that there are people around the state that are not locally based and now the entire state is open to us and it's no issue. The long term benefits are enormous." says Georgia. As a recruiter, Vicki-Anne says if we don't expand then the talent pool gets smaller and this is something we have been saying for years.
When asked about delivering outcomes Georgia says "You can't deliver great outcomes without great people.Your work will only be as good as those in your team. it's important to seek them out and keep them on board. Push for highly creative people, that are productive and take on responsibility well and cope with pressure well. Diversity of gender, age, skill, culture and personality is important. It's not the same designer that is right for each project and they need to think differently so that they can challenge you. We are always looking to get better and looking for ways to make the business model leaner, and more client focused. So people that can help you with that are going to be great."
Want to listen to the podcast with Georgia Carrington? Check out the full episode here.