Featured Studio

Oust

April 2019

Andrew Averso has always been heading in the same direction, but on a flexible route. Now as Creative Director at Oust, he looks back on his winding path and dishes out some epic advice from lessons learned along the way. We discuss why communication skills are first & foremost, falling in love with failure, and setting intentions for the day.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

Put simply, I interpret and curate the client’s vision into a clear, concise identity from both a visual and a language standpoint.

Did you have a plan for graduation and what actually happened?

I had no plan whatsoever, but I knew I wanted to become a creative director. I didn’t even really know what that meant at the time! Nevertheless, I knew I wanted to lead bold, creative ideas. And I honestly think that’s a common thread for any dream. It starts out as a wide, blurred target that narrows and becomes more clear with work and time. So from there, I took free internships, really whatever opportunity I could get my hands on that I thought would put me in a position to eventually become a “creative director.” I guess you could say my plan was focused on an end goal, but flexible on the route to get me there. Each role I took on the path allowed me to hone in on my dream as well as what it even meant to be a creative director. Hell, I feel like I’m still learning what it means. That’s part of the fun. But the key has always been persistency aimed in what I believe to be the right direction.

What qualities and skills do you look for in a graduate?

First and foremost are communication skills. You can be the world's most talented creative, but if you can’t communicate effectively you are going to be incredibly difficult to work with. Talent may impress in the short run, but confident communication will connect you for the long run. Communication also demonstrates a person has empathy and cares deeply about the project. If you cannot connect with the people around you, then it is going to be incredibly difficult and frustrating for your team to move forward and create great things.

Secondly, I’d say ambition. At Oust, we truly want to create work that is bold and adventurous. This takes a devotion to excellence and grit day after day and a healthy sense of doubt. There has to be a deep hunger for creation regardless the challenge set in front of them.

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The key has always been persistency aimed in what I believe to be the right direction.

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Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

We took it upon ourselves to give LaCroix a complete facelift this year. We thought the brand deserved it, but also wanted to make some waves. The work was met with both big fans and a fair amount of outrage. And that’s great by us. If you aren’t upsetting people then I don’t think you’re being bold enough for worthwhile impact.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

1. Fall in love with failure. Learning how to navigate and even embrace failure will make you a better designer, creative, professional and person. Hopefully you’re taking on daring opportunities where failure is almost guaranteed to some capacity. And not even in your work life. Develop a lifestyle of welcoming failure. Do uncomfortable things - get outside of your comfort zone. You’ll surprise yourself on how much you’ll actually succeed and grow from taking these risks. And when you fail, you’ll learn it stings but it will not kill you. You’ll even learn it is a necessary part of the process in creating killer work. Fail, LEARN, make adjustments, repeat. This process allows you to zero in on success, and even more importantly, your character. Failure has made me everything I am - it is the one consistent defining force in my life.

2. Take the best job, not the highest paying job. They are not the same thing. There are too many people who are paid well, but trade in their sense of fulfillment and happiness for that paycheck. Work takes too much of your time and energy to view it purely as a means to make way for the weekend. The best job is one that fits well with your overall values of who you want to be as a person. If you enjoy your job, you’re more likely to enjoy life outside of it. And that’s what you and all the people around you deserve.

2019 for you in a sentence.

2019 is about organization and intention. I’ve learned that if I allow my days to dictate themselves as they come to me, then I will waste them quicker than capitalizing on them. This year is about understanding where my day is going and how it is going to end even before it begins. So I plan out every day in 30 minute blocks and stick to the plan, knowing I’ve created a rhythm that prioritizes the important over the urgent. My day-to-day whirlwind makes it terrifyingly easy to get lost in the urgent without intention and a plan. 2019 is about structuring my days with the intention of allowing myself and my team to make the most of them.

Website: weareoust.co

Instagram: @weareoust.co

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