Is pharma advertising boring for a creative?

Hello! My name is Lauren Bottino and I am a rising junior majoring in Advertising with a concentration in Art Direction.

Hello! My name is Lauren Bottino and I am a rising junior majoring in Advertising with a concentration in Art Direction. This summer, I had my first internship with the agency Evoke as a graphic design intern. This was my first experience with a large agency and I have enjoyed it tremendously. Evoke focuses on health and wellness advertising, primarily focusing on pharmaceuticals. When people heard that I would be interning for a pharma agency, they were worried that the work would feel less creative than at a regular agency. I am here to disagree.  

As a designer, above everything else, you must be a problem solver. The best designers are not those who make something merely look pretty, but solve visual problems. In pharma, a designer must negotiate the given space with brand and legal requirements in order to deliver a piece that follows FDA regulations and with which consumers will want to engage. For instance, advertisements for medications must have Important Safety Information (ISI). The ISI can be more than three pages worth of information that must be incorporated into mailers, web banners, etc. A designer must come up with a solution in order to incorporate this information while still leaving room for the advertising message. On web banners, this may mean having a scrolling section that includes this information. However, this section will take up half of a 250 pixel x 300 pixel space, leaving a designer even less with which to work.

Branding projects had more creative freedom, but there were still caveats. For instance, different colors can signify different types of medications and classifications. I had to make sure that my palette was accurate to the type of medication and was not close to another company’s or drug’s brand. Additionally, we had to take into consideration what was scientifically and medically correct when presenting information since pharmaceutical advertising is also directed towards health care providers.

These constraints teach you to work with what you have and look harder to find a solution. Overall, I could not be more happy with the work I have done and the time I have spent at Evoke. I’ve gained a lot of design experience, sharpened my Adobe program skills, and learned how a big agency operates. There is also the personal satisfaction in knowing that the work I am doing matters. I have designed advertisements for medications that are essential to keeping people alive and living their best lives. Along with the feeling of satisfaction when you finish a design, you will also be able to take a special pride in your work because you know it will be meaningful. Want to test your creative chops? Try pharma.

One comment

  1. Hi, Lauren! I relate deeply to how you see problem solving as an essential skill for designers, I completely agree. From my internship experience I learned that it is crucial to really know your client in order to create solutions for them. I have always been curious about being a creative in pharma and am thankful that you shared your experience!

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