Monday, July 23, 2007
Syrup just won the Adidas Fanatic VI soccer tournament in NYC. Congratulations!
What does it take to be on the team? We tried to find out by talking to Co-Founder Robert Holzer and Design Director Erik Jarlsson:
What do you look for in employees?
We look for excellent thinkers - those that show that they have a unique vision and can develop new ideas and make these ideas palpable for people to understand. This goes for designers, account people and programmers alike. It's not enough to be a great designer because one needs to be able to communicate a thought - hopefully an original thought.
Also, a curious nature is key to becoming a successful designer, as a lot of the work involves getting inside the head of clients and putting yourself in their shoes.
How did you first find out about Hyper Island?
It was many years ago, but our first contact came from students who reached out to us to apply for internships. Also, Jakob (our CD) is Swedish as you know and had heard of the school.
Our Design Director Erik actually applied to Hyper Island in '98 but was not accepted! In a stroke of revenge he was however later asked to come back to give a lecture :)
What do you think makes Hyper Island students unique?
I think Hyper Island gets very specific in teaching the skills that are very relevant to working in an interactive or integrated agency. This is a big advantage against other "art" or "design" schools that are much more general and teach a more abstract version of design that doesn't allow the graduating student to hit the ground running like the Hyper Island students seem to be able to do.
The key to succeeding at anything is your personal motivation level, the students that attend Hyper Island are not only very talented but highly motivated and interested in learning and understanding new things (although a few of the students do seem to have a chip on their shoulder coming from such a renowned school, but they soon realize there is a big difference between the safety of a class room and the real world).
What do you see in the future of the Digital Media industry?
Wow - big question ...well we are certainly living through another huge push forward much like the late 1990's. The difference today is that the push is not coming from start-up dot-com ideas, rather a fundamental shift in the advertising industry. Budgets are shifting to interactive - online, web media and emerging media - and this is a trend that won't go away soon or explode in a bubble-like environment. While there may be adjustments, the facts are that a company's media mix is forever changed and the change is a shift away from a dependence on TV and print towards online.
This is of course great for students who will be coming out to a very healthy environment that will receive them. The downside is that the formulas are not figured out just yet and new employees need a vast range of skills to excel in this new environment ...in order to figure out the new world order, its going to take more than simply good design skills - the leaders will excel at marrying great design with great conceptual development.
Starting this fall, non-Swedish speaking international students are welcome to apply to Digital Media in Karlskrona. Why would you recommend young Americans to apply?
Good schools mean you are surrounded by good students and this above all you learn in class will always propel you further in your education. Hyper Island seems to be the place to be surrounded by other very talented people that will push you further. Its also important to be exposed to an international group of people so you can learn about cultural pulses from places other than your own - this is critical to being a great thinker and communicator.
What's happening at Syrup?
Wow - another big question - well, really what isn't happening at Syrup! We are growing very quickly and are taking on more and more exciting projects and clients. We have developed into a true integrated agency, executing campaigns across multiple media. From filming on location around the world for GE's Ecomagination project and bringing these films to the web, to fashion advertising campaigns for Lycra, Syrup's clients remain diverse and the projects seemingly even more disparate.
However, for the trained eye, its pretty easy to find the common thread with us - no matter the client or the media, the concept remains king around here and we are always searching for the best way to communicate our clients' messages in a way that will be compelling for the audience. We also get bored easily so having a broad range of clients keep things interesting around here ...it also doesn't hurt that they are some of the biggest companies in the world with enough work to keep us busy :)
Why should Hyper Island students apply to Syrup for their internships?
This is an easy one - they should come to us because in the space of 6 months or a year, they'll get 3 years worth of experience. We don't have interns answering phones, they do actual work and get involved in everything. We have no ability to have people sitting around for fluff so everyone has to perform - its that kind of environment. The same holds true for interns - we choose them very carefully as we can't have too many, and we expect them to be 150% dedicated (like the rest of the team here).
Through the course of their internship they will be challenged at every turn and will be completely integrated into the creative or programming team. "trial by fire" has a great way of making people perform at their best :) ...It's also New York City - the greatest city in the world ...oh, and we party as hard as we work ...oh oh, and I have to mention our ping-pong table - you have to come with or develop serious skills on the ping-pong table. ;)
Thank you Rob, Erik and Vida!