☕️ We grabbed a coffee with our Art Director Mike DiGiacomo – who’s celebrating his 10th anniversary at BerlinRosen!
He shared great advice for designers applying for jobs, highlights of his past decade here and the best concert experience of his life (involving 4 hours under torrential rain!)
How do you like your coffee?
100% Black. At work, I go straight to our cold brew machine and drink a cup a day. Fully concentrated with three cubes of ice.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Spend time with my wife and daughter. On weekends, we usually go to parks, multiple times a day. I also try to go to shows as often as possible.
This month marks your 10th (!) anniversary at BerlinRosen. What have been the biggest highlights?
There’s so much that we’ve done—every year, sometimes every month, there are new highlights. I’ve worked on hundreds of campaigns in my time here and it’s always exciting to figure out new ways to approach design, illustration and photography. In fact, twice a year we do a full critique of what’s working and which areas we can improve in order to make our work stand out from the rest.
How has BerlinRosen changed since you started working here?
It’s almost night and day. When I started 10 years ago, there were about 10 employees and now we have over 170 and growing. We were in an office that was half of the space of one of the floors in the NYC office. It’s exciting to see the industries we’ve expanded into and still maintaining the same approach we have in how we execute our work.
We went from only creating political direct-mail, to now providing full-service design capabilities. From large brand design and visual identity projects to digital services, video production and more. We’re able to bring any vision to life.
On the other hand, how has the company not changed over the past decade?
The caliber of people that come on. No matter what sector, whoever comes on is really passionate about what they do and their clients. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been here this long. It’s inspiring to work with everyone that’s here.
What’s your day-to-day like at BerlinRosen?
It changes every day. We are a fast-moving industry when compared to many other creative industries, whether it’s creating and running campaigns or reacting to the news. It’s part of how we’ve evolved from politics to now working across tech, real estate, issue advocacy, education, lifestyle, arts and more.
Tell me a life-changing moment that helped shape who you are today.
First, the birth of my first child. But honestly, also stumbling into this job. Prior to this, I was a very casual follower of politics, probably only paid attention to presidential races. Coming here opened a whole new world for me. How I joined was pure luck and chance. I worked at a magazine before BerlinRosen. The recession hit, the magazine folded and I was looking for freelance work. My wife ran into a colleague of hers who’s friends with Jonathan Rosen. She casually mentioned that I was looking for freelance work and Jonathan said that BerlinRosen was looking for a freelancer. I started in 2009, working on the NYC city council elections and ever since then I never expected to become so engaged in politics, issue advocacy and public affairs.
And as we continue to expand, I get the chance to be a part of more industries and issues that I didn’t know I’d work with, such as real estate, labor, technology and innovation.
What advice would you give to candidates applying to join the Design Team?
On the practical side, have simple online portfolios. Lots of designers like to put a lot of creativity into their website, but when I look for designers I want to see their work—and see it easily. The ones who stand out lay it out clearly. We work in an industry, whether digital or print, where we need to grab people’s attention in a few seconds. If you can grab my attention in a few seconds, I know you’ll be able to give what our clients need.
Also, I like to see a real point of view. Whether it’s work that you’ve done for other clients or your own passion project, it’s important to see where you’re coming from with your design work.