Dezeen Debate features Polestar's "forward-looking" rear-windowless electric car

Polestar electric vehicle

The latest edition of our Dezeen Debate newsletter features the Polestar 4 electric car, which doesn’t have a rear window. Subscribe to Dezeen Debate now.

Swedish car manufacturer Polestar has revealed the Polestar 4, the world’s first mass-market car without a rear window. The vehicle is a five-door electric SUV coupé that is now available to buy in Europe and Australia, following its release in China last year.

Readers had varied reactions to the vehicle. One joked about its rear-windowless design, saying, “there’s no looking back from here,” while another praised its “forward-looking design”.

Maggie's Centre at the Royal Free Hospital by Studio Libeskind
Studio Libeskind encloses Maggie’s Royal Free with slanted walls

Other stories in this week’s newsletter that fired up the comments section included the latest Maggie’s Centre designed by Studio Libeskind, an infinity pool in Lake Como by Herzog & de Meuron and Zaha Hadid Architects’ plans for 100 hydrogen refuelling stations in Italian marinas.

Dezeen Debate

Dezeen Debate is sent every Thursday and features a selection of the best reader comments and most talked-about stories. Read the latest edition of Dezeen Debate or subscribe here.

You can also subscribe to our other newsletters; Dezeen Agenda is sent every Tuesday containing a selection of the most important news highlights from the week, Dezeen Daily is our daily bulletin that contains every story published in the preceding 24 hours and Dezeen In Depth is sent on the last Friday of every month and delves deeper into the major stories shaping architecture and design.

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This Airport Terminal In Florence Will Produce Wine In Its Rooftop Vineyard

Dubbed the Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci, this impressive new airport terminal is being planned for Florence, Italy. Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the construction is inspired by the local tradition of wine production, and it will be equipped with a green yard amped with a working vineyard! How exciting is that? Sounds like a total heaven for wine lovers on the go – although we doubt they’ll be able to get their hands on it.

Designer: Rafael Viñoly Architects

The airport terminal will measure 538,195 sq ft (50,000 sq m) and will be able to host over 5.9 million international passengers every year. The featuring vineyard will measure 19 acres and will include 38 rows. When it comes to irrigation and cultivation, some certain challenges and issues exist but a leading winemaker will take care of the vineyard, and produce wine, which will be specially aged in cellars located underneath the terminal.

The airport terminal construction will also involve lengthening and reorientating a preexisting runaway, shifting it away from the hills, which causes issues when modern aircraft need to operate. The arrival and departure areas will be spanned across a massive public space located at the center of the new terminal. This will make the airport easy to navigate for tired travelers.

The airport will also receive the LEED Platinum green building standard, and the architects will try to maximize natural light in the space with generous glazing and skylights. The terminal will also have a green roof, and solar panels that will be integrated throughout the building. A rainwater harvesting system and greywater recycling will keep the greenery watered, bringing down the structure’s potable water requirements. The first phase of the project will be completed in 2026, and the second phase in 2035. Adding greenery to airports has become one of the latest architectural trends, as witnessed in the Jewel Changi Airport too. The Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci is another exciting and innovative addition to this growing collection of green, nature-filled, and sustainable airports.

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Designers must challenge "aesthetic injustice" in public spaces says Little Wing Lee

Little Wing Lee

A lack of care over design decisions made in public spaces is a key source of inequity in America, New York designer Little Wing Lee tells Dezeen in this interview.

Lee, an interior designer based in Brooklyn, believes that poor design decisions in the public sphere reinforce a cycle of inequity in the built environment.

“When I think about aesthetic justice, my mind first goes to public spaces,” she told Dezeen.

“I think about urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture, public housing – we all see that there is this inequity in the consideration given to public works or how public monies are being spent.”

“What leadership role can we take?”

Lee said that even the most basic design decisions, such as the temperature of light, are aspects of this lack of consideration, noting that sometimes the choices are not about “even about money” but rather a lack of care.

“These decisions are treated as less-than because the people affected have less agency,” she said.

“As designers, we know that the negative emotional responses to these choices are universal, but in these instances that is simply overlooked.”

Lee, who was a judge for the 2023 Dezeen Awards, wants designers to be more proactive in challenging these issues.

Little Wing Lee Rugs
Little Wing Lee is a Brooklyn-based designer who recently released a line of textiles

“I would like to see this be a question considered by the broader design community,” she said.

“What leadership role can we take to ask this question of our policymakers, our own communities, perhaps even our clients?”

To this end, Lee formed Black Folks in Design (BFiD) in 2017, an organisation that facilitates meetings between architects and designers to talk about problems faced by minorities in the design industry.

Born in New England, Lee lived in Hawaii as a youth and studied at the Pratt Institute and Harvard before setting up shop in Brooklyn where she runs her design practice, Studio & Projects.

Working in interior and object design, Lee first had the idea for BFiD after working on the exhibition design for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History in Washington DC.

“That was such an amazing experience – to be at the table with 20-plus Black designers working on this incredible and beautiful project,” she said.

“Black Folks in Design was born out of my desire to create this community of Black designers across all disciplines and, obviously, to share resources and ideas but then to also commiserate and laugh about crazy experiences that we’ve had working in the design world.”

Through network-building, Lee believes that opportunities and resources can be more easily shared between members and among minority communities in general.

Blacks folks in design installtion
Lee has organised New York showcases for Black Folks in Design

She is currently in the process of turning BFiD into an official non-profit, which she said will make fundraising easier and help to organise initiatives such as bringing North American designers to Lagos to interact and share ideas with the designers there.

“As we move Black Folks in Design forward, we can give Black designers some of that flexibility of travel and time,” she said.

Lee came up during the maker movement of the 2000s and 2010s – the movement oriented around small studies working in spaces previously inhabited by industrial spaces in Brooklyn.

The movement had a major impact on design globally, and the experience impacted Lee’s view of design’s ability to reshape inequity, she explained.

“It was a very specific and important time in New York design,” she said. “That moment gave everyone a push of confidence.”

“More and more people understand the power of design”

“There has been a change in the past 20 years and more people understand the power of design, certainly in how it helps business and the private sector,” she continued.

“I think that awareness is also expressed in the public sector, but often these projects have not been evenly distributed, or are inadequately expressed in areas that would benefit the most from them.”

In her design work and network building, which Lee views as part of a single practice, a variety of traditions, demographics and approaches to design have informed her thinking.

“Your life is so much more enriched when you have a community of different types of people,” she said.

Lee has curated two shows under the BFiD umbrella.

The first was at the Ace Hotel Brooklyn in 2022, and the second, called SPOTLIGHT II, was staged with local gallery Verse, first on Long Island and then in Tribeca.

Lee said that the goal was “to highlight the range of approaches and visions of Black designers working today” while showing various material approaches to craft traditions and historical production techniques.

“As I built the show it was inspiring to see the threads between these pieces reveal themselves,” said Lee.

“Most heartening, perhaps, was to discover and build the community between so many of us, which is ultimately the goal of BFiD.”

Lee’s work with Studio & Projects has also touched on craft traditions. Her recent project, ECHOIC, is a line of textiles that takes influences from West African traditions.

The photography is by Kelly Marshall.

Dezeen In Depth
If you enjoy reading Dezeen’s interviews, opinions and features, subscribe to Dezeen In Depth. Sent on the last Friday of each month, this newsletter provides a single place to read about the design and architecture stories behind the headlines.

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Bent Plywood Benches Made from Industrial Waste

DTER, short for “design & territory,” is a French company that mates industrial waste with designers. They learn what materials manufacturers get rid of, then commission designers to turn that waste into something useful.

One of DTER’s pairings yielded this SAI 39 bench, by French industrial designer Robin Bourgeois:

I’d never seen industrial waste that looked quite like that, and couldn’t figure out what the heck they once were. DTER explains:

“The company from which the materials come manufactures corrugated cardboard boxes. It controls the entire value chain, from the supply of paper to the transformation of cardboard through the recovery of scraps which are then recycled. However, its production tools, worn or decommissioned, are not recycled.”

“Among these tools, the half-cylinders used for cutting cardboard boxes must be replaced regularly: these consumables, considered waste by the company, are the raw material for the SAI 39 bench. The scrap has already lived its first life from a few years to more than twenty, as a cardboard stamping tool.”

“These are openwork wooden tiles, in which steel blades and pieces of foam of various qualities have been fixed. These blades allow you to cut or create a fold on the cardboard. The foams, for their part, allow the cardboard to be pushed back once pressing has been carried out. Each tile therefore offers a particular cutting pattern, corresponding to a specific packaging box. Two tiles are needed to make a single bench.”

The benches retail for €825 (USD $888).

Five interior design courses on Dezeen Courses

A person looking at a colour chart fan

Dezeen Courses: we’ve selected five courses that aim to enhance students’ knowledge in interior design at institutions in USA, UK and online.

This roundup covers short courses, undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes that offer students options to study with a group of peers or at their own pace.

Tailored for interior design students at various experience levels, these courses delve into fundamental design principles while honing essential research skills.

Here are five interior design courses listed on Dezeen Courses:

A person looking at a colour chart fan

Certificate in Applied Color for Interiors at New York School of Interior Design

The Certificate in Applied Color for Interiors course at the New York School of Interior Design equips students with an in-depth knowledge of colour schemes to create stylish interiors.

Find out more about the course ›

Render of a commercial space

Master of Interior Design at University of Florida

The Master of Interior Design course at University of Florida equips students with professional interior design and advanced research skills.

Find out more about the course ›

UAL Short Courses image by Sean Hawkey

Introduction to Interior Design Part 1 at University of the Arts London

The Introduction to Interior Design Part 1 Short Course at University of the Arts London provides students with the practical skills and knowledge to design for domestic spaces.

Find out more about the course ›

Lighting sculpture by Interior Design BA (Hons) student at University of East London

Interior Design BA (Hons) at University of East London

The Interior Design BA (Hons) course at University of East London encourages students to explore all sectors of interior design and develop essential skills to find their “design voice”.

Find out more about the course ›

Certificate in Residential Interior Design at KLC School of Design

The Certificate in Residential Interior Design course at KLC School of Design teaches students the fundamentals of residential interior design and introduces them to the industry.

Find out more about the course ›

Dezeen Courses

Dezeen Courses is a service from Dezeen that provides details of architecture, interiors and design courses around the world. Click here for more information.

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Aerial photos reveal work progressing on The Line megacity

The Line megacity under construction at Neom

A set of aerial images has revealed work progressing on The Line megacity, Oxagon port and Sindalah resort, which are being built as part of Neom in Saudi Arabia.

The images, shared by The Line’s chief operating officer Giles Pendleton on LinkedIn, show construction underway on the controversial project.

Aerial image of The Line under construction
The aerial images show The Line under construction

Pendleton’s images include aerial photos, that appear to be taken from a helicopter, of the excavations for The Line, which is planned to stretch 170 kilometres across the country.

He also shared aerial shots of hotels under construction at the Sindalah island resort and preparation works at Oxagon development.

The Sindalah resort is nearing completion
The photos capture the Sindalah resort nearing completion

According to Pendleton, the images, which were published in a post titled “Neom is real”, prove that the project was moving forward.

“How to answer the naysayers about the incredible work being done in Neom?” he wrote.

Oxagon under construction
They also show work progressing at the Oxagon site

“Show a cross-section of the world’s largest building site from the mountains to the sea,” he continued.

“Massive excavations on The Line, the future of island resorts on Sindalah and the next generation of ports and logistics at Oxagon.”

Sindalah resort in the Red Sea
Sindalah is set to open this year

While the images of The Line show excavations and groundworks, construction of the Sindalah resort appears much more advanced with the structure of the majority of hotel buildings complete.

Designed by Italian studio Luca Dini Design and Architecture, the luxury island resort in the Red Sea is planned as the first of Neom’s regions to be completed.

According to Neom, it will begin welcoming guests in early 2024.

The Line under construction
The Line will stretch 170 kilometres across the desert

The images of The Line site show the groundwork stretching across the desert as well as some of the structures that have been built to house people working on the project.

His picture of Oxagon, which is being designed by Danish studio BIG, captures work progressing to develop the existing port on the Red Sea.

Construction camp for Neom
Several developments have been built to house Neom workers

Neom is one of the world’s largest and most controversial developments. Alongside The Line, Sindalah and Oxagon, it will contain 10 regions including a ski resort named Trojena and a series of tourist resorts on the Gulf of Aqaba.

The project has been criticised on human rights grounds, including by human rights organisation ALQST, which reported that three men were sentenced to death after being “forcibly evicted” from the Neom site.

Last year experts from the UN Human Rights Council expressed “alarm” over the imminent executions. Saudi Arabia responded to the UN by denying abuses had taken place.

The photography is by Giles Pendleton.

The post Aerial photos reveal work progressing on The Line megacity appeared first on Dezeen.

Take your chess game on the road with unique, portable set

I never really properly learned chess or at least remembered the basic rules, although I did enjoy Netflix’ The Queen’s Gamit. I also have close friends who really enjoy playing the game or watching people play the game. But the problem sometimes is that chess sets are pretty hard to carry around if you wanted to play outside your home like in the office or when traveling. There are some small, portable chess sets that you can bring around but it’s probably not as stylish as this one.

Designer: Sofia Gegunde

The Hyde Chess set is built for practicality and portability but is also designed to look like something different from your usual chess sets. For one, the pieces aren’t the traditional ones that you see but are a re-imagining of the pawns, rooks, knight, bishop, queen, and king but in circular pieces that can fit easily into the smaller and portable set and box. They’re all the same height except for the king and queen. There is a cylindrical holder inside to store the pieces when they’re not in use and there are also slots on the chess board to “stabilize” them when you’re actually using them to play a game of chess.

When not in use, everything is just stored inside a small box. But when it’s time to actually play chess, just open it and assemble the chess board with the rectangular pieces. You can then remove the circular chess pieces from their storage and arrange them on the board like you would a regular set and start the game whenever you’re ready. The pieces are made with a CNC router while the wooden parts are made from guatambu and dark cedro.

The assembly and disassembly are pretty easy and learning the different pieces should be pretty easy. Even though they’re circular pieces, the designs are based on the traditional chess pieces. If they actually produce and sell this, it would be a pretty neat gift item for my chess-loving friends and they may even eventually convince me to play with them.

The post Take your chess game on the road with unique, portable set first appeared on Yanko Design.

What Does an Art Director Do?

You’ve used your design skills to help others bring their creative vision to fruition long enough. It’s time to take a seat in the art director’s chair and execute your own wildly imaginative ideas. Check out what pros say about art director positions, then get those creative juices flowing!

What exactly does an art director do?

Specific duties of art director positions may vary depending on industry, but in general, art directors set the artistic tone of a project, using visuals to bring concepts to life for websites, magazines and newspapers, ad campaigns, television and film, photo shoots and video games.

“Every day is different, [and] that’s what I love most about my job,” says Kaitlyn Angstadt, senior art director at Brownstein Group, an advertising agency in Philadelphia. Angstadt spends some days holed up in a room with other creatives conceptualizing an ad campaign while others are spent creating a brand’s identity or layouts for a print ad. And then there are the days she’s at a photo shoot overseeing its production, ensuring the concept is realized.

It’s all about kick-ass imagery, according to Michael Brittain, who functioned as FX Networks’ art director during his years as the cable channel’s director of print. Brittain was responsible for coming up with movie, TV and video-game posters and turning those ideas into iconic imagery to use in ad campaigns. “It can be very challenging to create a piece of art that is good enough to hang up on the wall, that you’re proud of, that sets the bar higher for art in entertainment advertising,” says Brittain, now the creative director of Ignition Creative, an integrated marketing agency based in Playa Vista, California.

What skills do you need?

Strong conceptual skills are a given. “To create something meaningful, you must start with a strong idea,” says Angstadt. “This is the backbone of commercial art.”

Good communication skills are also essential. Your team has to understand what you want in order to deliver it. Clearly articulate your vision or risk jeopardizing the quality of the project.

A background in and knowledge of art history, photography, graphic design and typography are important too, says Brittain, as is being able to create with your hands. Photoshop has made art more accessible, but “being a hands-on artist transcends just buying an application for your computer.”

Who would be my boss?

Executive creative directors or associate creative directors are the usual head honchos, the latter often being the next rung on an art director’s career ladder.

Are there other titles with similar responsibilities?

Though they may be higher on some company hierarchies, design directors and creative directors are also responsible for conceptualizing projects and guiding their implementation.

What do I need to get ahead in this position?

As an art director, you’re always on, Angstadt says. “There’s never a time when you’re not thinking of new ideas,” so loving what you do is important. Ditto having a thick skin. In this line of work, as with other creative jobs, you have to be able to take criticism, even when you don’t agree with the feedback. If you don’t hit it out of the park the first or second or third go-round, dust yourself off and try again. It’ll make your home run that much sweeter.

How can I get my foot in the door?

Kick off your career with a degree in art or (graphic) design and a portfolio that will impress potential employers.

Breaking into an art director role

Stepping into the role of an art director is no small feat. It requires not just a mastery of design principles and a deep well of creativity but also the ability to lead, inspire, and communicate effectively with a team. Your journey from honing your craft to leading projects as an art director will be filled with challenges, learning opportunities, and, most importantly, moments of creative triumph.

Remember, the essence of becoming a successful art director lies in marrying visionary ideas with practical execution. It’s about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible while remaining grounded in the projects’ and your team’s needs. As you navigate your path, keep your creative fires burning, remain open to feedback, and never stop learning and experimenting. The world of art direction is dynamic and ever-evolving, offering endless opportunities to those willing to take the reins and drive their creative visions to fruition.

So, arm yourself with a strong portfolio, a resilient spirit, and an unquenchable passion for your craft. The art director’s chair awaits those ready to lead with creativity, imagination, and determination. With each project, you’ll bring visions to life and carve out your unique mark in the creative world. The journey may be complex, but the rewards of seeing your ideas influence and inspire are unparalleled. Here’s to your future as an art director—may it be as vibrant and impactful as the work you aspire to create.

Find the art director position you’ve been searching for on Mediabistro’s job board

FAQs on Advancing to an Art Director Position

1. What are the primary responsibilities of an art director?

Art directors are responsible for setting a project’s artistic vision and direction. This role involves using visuals to bring concepts to life across various platforms such as websites, magazines, advertising campaigns, television, film, photo shoots, and video games. Daily tasks vary greatly, from conceptualizing ad campaigns and creating brand identities to overseeing photo shoots to ensure the vision is accurately realized.

2. What skills are crucial for an art director?

Key skills for an art director include strong conceptual abilities, excellent communication to articulate vision and ideas clearly, and a solid background in art history, photography, graphic design, and typography. Being a hands-on artist and having proficiency in tools like Photoshop are also important, but creativity extends beyond software skills.

3. Who typically oversees art directors in a creative organization?

Art directors usually report to executive creative directors or associate creative directors. These positions are often seen as the next steps in an art director’s career progression, offering opportunities for further advancement within the creative hierarchy.

4. Are there similar roles to art directors in the industry?

Yes, roles such as design directors and creative directors carry similar responsibilities, including conceptualizing projects and guiding their execution. These positions might be ranked differently within company structures but share the core task of leading creative direction.

5. How can I stand out and succeed as an art director?

Passion for your work and the ability to continuously generate new ideas are essential for success. Resilience and the ability to accept and learn from criticism are also crucial, as the creative process often involves multiple iterations before achieving excellence. Staying engaged with your creative pursuits and maintaining a thick skin in the face of feedback are key traits of successful art directors.

6. What educational background and initial steps are recommended for aspiring art directors?

A degree in art or graphic design, coupled with a compelling portfolio that demonstrates your creativity and skill, is the foundation for launching a career as an art director. Your portfolio should showcase diverse work and highlight your ability to conceptualize and execute your creative vision effectively.

7. Where can I find job opportunities as an art director?

Job boards dedicated to creative careers, such as Mediabistro, are excellent resources for finding art director positions. Networking within the industry and maintaining an up-to-date portfolio can also open doors to opportunities.

8. What is the importance of having a “thick skin” in the art director role?

Creative work often involves subjective evaluation, which means art directors must be open to feedback and criticism. Developing a thick skin allows you to learn from critiques without taking them personally, enabling growth and improvement in your creative output. In the face of criticism, resilience is crucial for personal and professional development in creative fields.

What Does an Account Executive Do?

If you’re about getting the job done and are unhappy until your client is ecstatic, you might make one heck of an account executive. But before you make rash career decisions, read on to see if you’ve got what it takes—we’re betting you do—and if an account executive job is everything you’re looking for.

What exactly does an account executive do?

Whether working in public relations or at a radio station or a pharmaceutical company, an account executive scouts and builds relationships with new clients and cultivates relationships with existing ones.  

An account executive is the point of contact for clients and brand teams, often interacting with both daily. Elements of the job include planning and coordinating account activity, including press releases, media pitches, blogger and influencer outreach, press conferences, product samples for editorial placement, and promo events, such as photo shoots and videos.

What skills do you need as an account executive?

“First and foremost, an account executive must be a good writer—it’s non-negotiable,” says Arzu Yonak, owner and creative director of Addicted Youth Public Relations. You have to be able to communicate your client’s message effectively and engage the media and target audience.

Erin Pieretti, a senior account executive with the Bauserman Group notes that good customer service, strategic planning skills, creativity, and attention to detail are also important.

You need solid sales skills, too. For example, if you’re an account executive at a magazine or TV station, you’re responsible for securing ads that help keep the publication or network afloat.

Are the skills required of an account executive at a PR firm different than those required at another type of company (e.g., website, radio station)?

Yonak says the skill set is essentially the same; there’s just a difference in how it’s applied.

If you’re an in-house account executive for a company, you’re all about the positioning and strategy of that company’s brand. You’re likely overseeing various accounts at a PR firm, each requiring its own strategy.

Who is an account executive’s boss?

Each company’s internal structure is different, so hierarchies vary, but an account exec reports to a designated senior account executive, account manager, or department director. Sometimes, they may report directly to the agency director or the president/principal.

Are there other titles with similar responsibilities?

This may depend on a company’s internal structure. At Addicted Youth Public Relations, for example, account execs are essentially mid- to senior-level publicists responsible for specific accounts.

The role of an account manager is similar to that of an account executive. However, some agencies reserve this title for a supervisory position, overseeing a team of account executives.

What do I need to get ahead as an account executive?

Hard work and dedication are required. This isn’t a typical 9-to-5 job. You have to be driven, available to your client, and able to work in a fast-paced environment.

You should also be simultaneously creative and strategic—you control your client’s message, so you must be mindful about what you put out there to ensure the message aligns with the brand.

How can I get my foot in the door as an account executive?

You’re off to a good start with a degree in business, marketing/advertising, public relations or communications, says Pieretti. And if you want to work at an agency, Yonak adds, your best bet is starting with an internship and working your way up the ladder at an agency or in the media industry to build contacts.

Get a fast track into working in PR by taking a Mediabistro online course on public relations.

FAQs on Becoming an Account Executive

1. What does an account executive do?

An account executive serves as the primary point of contact between a company and its clients and is responsible for scouting new clients, building and maintaining relationships with existing ones, and coordinating various account activities. Depending on the industry, these activities can range from press releases, media pitches, and influencer outreach to organizing promotional events like photo shoots and video productions.

2. What skills are necessary to succeed as an account executive?

Key skills include excellent writing ability, customer service, strategic planning, creativity, and attention to detail. Strong sales skills are also important, especially in roles where securing advertisements or sponsorships is part of the job. The ability to communicate effectively and engage the target audience is non-negotiable.

3. Does the skill set for an account executive differ by industry?

While the core skill set remains consistent—good writing, strategic planning, and customer service—applying these skills may vary depending on the industry. For instance, the focus might shift between brand positioning and strategy in an in-house role versus managing multiple accounts at a PR firm.

4. Who does an account executive report to?

Reporting structures vary by company. Depending on the organizational hierarchy, an account executive may report to a senior account executive, an account manager, a department director, or directly to the agency’s director or president.

5. Are there other job titles with similar responsibilities to an account executive?

Yes, similar roles can include mid- to senior-level publicists in a PR firm who focus on managing specific accounts. The account manager title might also encompass similar duties, though it often denotes a supervisory level overseeing a team of account executives.

6. What does it take to advance in an account executive position?

Advancement requires hard work, dedication, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment. Being creative yet strategic in controlling and disseminating your client’s message is crucial. Success in this role is not just about putting in the hours; it’s about being driven, available, and mindful of the brand’s alignment with its messaging.

7. How can I start a career as an account executive?

A business, marketing/advertising, public relations, or communications degree sets a solid foundation. Gaining experience through internships, especially at agencies or within the media industry, can provide valuable contacts and a pathway to climbing the professional ladder. Additionally, specialized courses on public relations, such as those offered by Mediabistro, can fast-track your entry into the field.

8. Is working as an account executive a 9-to-5 job?

No, being an account executive often requires flexibility beyond the typical 9-to-5 schedule. The role demands availability to clients and the ability to work under tight deadlines, which can extend into evenings and weekends depending on the project and client needs.

What Does an Account Manager Do?

Part salesperson, part customer-service rep, an account manager is all about doing whatever it takes to get the job done. If putting a smile on someone else’s face tickles your fancy, this may be your job. Read on to be sure.

What exactly does an account manager do?

An account manager is the liaison between an agency and its clients. She oversees the agency-client relationship, determining clients’ needs—what they want to achieve short-term and long-term—and ensuring the agency delivers.

The primary responsibilities of account managers are to foster client relationships, work with sales and marketing teams to prepare presentations and sales pitches, design marketing strategies, and media proposals, handle client communications and write client reports, and communicate client agendas to other staff members.

Monitoring budgets, spending, and revenue and explaining cost factors to clients are also part of the gig.

Some account managers are responsible for identifying new clients and potential business opportunities and upselling products and services.  

As a senior publicist at Three Girls Media, a public relations and social media management agency in Yelm, Washington, Beth Adan’s daily work ensures the firm’s clients are happy campers.

“I am responsible for making sure clients’ needs are met and their voices are heard while coordinating with others and fulfilling the contractual day-to-day duties we’ve been hired to perform,” says Adan, whose position includes account manager duties.

What skills are required to be an account manager?

An account manager should be a proactive self-starter who understands business in general, says Dave Di Maggio, president of Aqua Marketing & Communications, based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

He should also be a keen observer of society and trends, specifically among clients’ target audience, and possess financial management skills, adds Dave, who heads up several of the company’s accounts.  

Availability is crucial, says Adan. That includes evenings and weekends. “While your work-life balance is important, being available and timely with your communication is essential for building trust and keeping [a client’s] account up to date,” she says.

Attention to detail is also important. Being meticulous can help you avoid missing information vital to telling a client’s story or misinterpreting what a client wants.

“The simple mistake of incorrectly translating Eastern Time to Pacific can make or break a deal for your client,” says Adan.

Who is an account manager’s boss?

In larger firms, an account manager typically reports to an account supervisor or VP of client services and supervises the account executives assisting her.

Are there other titles with similar responsibilities?

A publicist is a similar role depending on the company you work for, though the jobs aren’t interchangeable.

“As a publicist, I am an account manager, but not all account managers are publicists,” says Adan.

What do I need to get ahead as an account manager?

“Those with strong interpersonal skills—empathy, emotional intelligence, verbal skills, flexibility—tend to go far, even making up for having less strength in other skills,” says Di Maggio. He adds that people want to do business with people they like.

How can I get my foot in the door as an account manager?

Adan recommends having a strong personal brand. Strengthen your social media presence, personal website, and professional profiles to show potential employers how well you can manage the public view of yourself to represent a client successfully.

“A college degree is a must,” says Di Maggio. One in public relations, advertising, marketing, or communications could give your career the jump-start it needs.

And don’t thumb your nose at working for pennies—or free. Internships can turn into full-time jobs.

Sealing the deal: your account management adventure

And there you have it, the ins and outs of being an account manager. If you’re turned off by Pete Campbell, don’t worry. It’s a role that combines the art of people-pleasing with the science of business strategy. If you’re the type who gets a buzz from turning client frowns upside down and thrives in the dynamic crossroads of sales, marketing, and customer service, then this might be your calling.

Remember, as an account manager, you’re the bridge between your clients and your agency, a master coordinator and a strategic thinker. Your days will be filled with the challenge of understanding diverse client needs and the satisfaction of meeting them.

For those itching to start this journey, keep honing those interpersonal skills, keep your eyes peeled for learning opportunities, and yes, even those seemingly small internships can be golden tickets to bigger opportunities.

Ready to leap into the world of account management? Why wait? Dive into Mediabistro’s job board for a plethora of media roles that could kickstart or elevate your career. It’s a treasure trove of opportunities waiting for you to explore. Find your next role here.

So, gear up, future account managers! Your adventure in client relations, strategic planning, and business growth awaits. Please go on, make those connections, seal those deals, and let’s see where your account management path takes you!


FAQs on Becoming an Account Manager

1. What is the primary role of an account manager?

An account manager is the critical link between a company and its clients, ensuring client needs are met, relationships are maintained, and the company delivers on its promises. This role involves understanding client objectives, coordinating with sales and marketing teams, designing strategies, handling communications, and monitoring budgets.

2. What skills are essential for an account manager?

Key skills include strong interpersonal abilities (such as empathy and emotional intelligence), keen observation of societal and industry trends, financial management, attention to detail, and availability for client needs, sometimes outside standard business hours. Proactivity and the ability to be a self-starter are also crucial.

3. Who does an account manager report to within a company?

In larger organizations, account managers typically report to an account supervisor or the VP of client services. They may also oversee account executives who assist in managing client relationships.

4. Are there similar positions to account managers in other fields?

Publicists often share similar responsibilities with account managers, especially in managing client relations and media strategies. However, the roles are not interchangeable, with each focusing on different aspects of client service and media engagement.

5. How can someone advance their career as an account manager?

Advancement often depends on interpersonal skills, such as understanding and connecting with people, flexibility, and strong verbal communication. Building a strong personal brand and showcasing your ability to manage public perceptions effectively can also help advance your career.

6. What steps should I take to start a career as an account manager?

Begin with a relevant college degree in public relations, advertising, marketing, or communications. Enhance your social media presence and professional profiles to demonstrate your branding skills. Consider internships, even unpaid ones, as they can lead to full-time employment opportunities.

7. Where can I find job opportunities as an account manager?

Job boards like Mediabistro offer various media-related roles, including account management positions. Networking, maintaining an active professional online presence, and continuously developing your skills can also uncover opportunities in this field.

8. What makes account management a fulfilling career choice?

Account management is a dynamic role in sales, marketing, and customer service. It offers the satisfaction of solving client challenges, the thrill of strategic planning, and the opportunity to build lasting relationships. If you enjoy positively impacting clients and navigating the complexities of business strategy, account management could be an enriching and gratifying career.