Working In-House vs. Agency

Before interning at Slice Communications, I had only worked in-house at a few companies, so my goal from this was to get agency experience.

Hey! My name is Cary and I am a senior advertising major with a direction and minor in art at Klein College of Media and Communications. I also have an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management Certificate from the Fox School of Business. This spring, I interned as a graphic designer at Slice Communications located in Old City, Philadelphia. Since COVID-19, the work environment at the agency has shifted from being fully in-person to mostly remote, so I completed this internship fully remote.

Before interning at Slice Communications, I had only worked in-house at a few companies, so my goal from this was to get agency experience. I’ve learned that there’s pros and cons to both of these environments, and here’s a quick breakdown:

You’ll be working with a team in both settings, but your team is typically smaller in-house than at an agency.

I’ve had two different experiences in-house as a graphic designer. At Temple, I worked with a team of 5 people and at New Foundations Charter School I worked with 2 people. For all of these, you’ll always be working with the same team unless a member resigns/quits and a new one comes in. I’m very thankful that all the teams I worked for in-house were great, and since we always worked together, it made it easier to build connections. However, if your team sucks, it sucks!

At Slice, each client is given a different team to complete work for them based on the skills of the employees and asks of the client. This means that you’ll be with many teams since you’ll have multiple clients. Slice is a small agency with only 30 employees though, so although you may not be working with the same people every day, you will most likely be working with the same people every week. This still allows for connection building, and if you’re not clicking with someone, it gives you the opportunity to still work with other people. At a large agency though, this could be harder. However, if you’re someone who likes to go in, get your work done, and head out – this may be for you!

There are more design assets to work with at an agency than in-house.

At Slice I had done work for about four different clients. One was Slice themself, and the other three were businesses they did work for. I enjoyed this because I got to work with multiple brands, which meant multiple colors and design elements I could use. Although this was fun, it was also a little frustrating having to get used to another brand’s assets after just figuring one out. Some clients are also more particular in how you use their assets, which takes some extra time to get it down. However, if I wasn’t a fan of one brand, I still had other brands to do work for that I enjoyed!

There’s always frustrations working in this field though because working in-house meant I needed to create multiple graphics and advertisements with the same assets every time. This was definitely challenging at times, as I had to think outside the box to not make all my projects look the same. However, I really enjoyed this challenge because it tested my creativity and layout capabilities. 

Overall, I enjoyed working at both an agency and in-house. I found that I’m someone who likes to work with a smaller team because I like making connections with the people I work with. However, if I were to have a crappy team, my mindset on this may be different! I would suggest to all advertising majors looking for work to see how big the agency or organization you’re looking at is before applying because this could be a game changer in what your daily tasks and interactions look like.

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