Chad Wysong’s entree into the post-college workforce is one for the history books. That’s because he’s a member of the Class of 2020, which saw its graduation ceremonies canceled as COVID-19 ravaged the country and more protests for racial equality than the country has experienced since the 1960s.
And as the newest addition to the Well Done Marketing team, Chad, a production designer, is making history at our agency, too: He’s the first person on staff to spend his inaugural week working from home due to a pandemic.
“Well Done is a good spot for me and a big draw is the positive work we try to do and advocate for in the community,” says Chad. “It was a huge thing, coming off graduation and just having the opportunity to be in a place where I felt I could grow. I’m excited!”
But there was more to learn. So we hopped on a Zoom call—as you do during a pandemic—and got to know Chad better:
Q: What was it like to graduate into such uncertainty in the world?
A: The start of the quarantine happened so fast and right around spring break—so we got a little bit of a break before the madness started. But it was really disappointing to not have some of those big, gratifying moments at the end. I’ve come to terms with it, though. I just think it’s so crazy that it happened so fast. And the last thing I really attended in public was actually the 2020 Indianapolis American Advertising Awards. (Editor’s note: Chad won two Gold ADDYs and one Silver ADDY in the student division this year.)
Q: What did you do to celebrate your graduation, then?
A: IU had a website where you could watch video recordings of your professors congratulating you, which was really cool, and technically our graduation is still just postponed. Personally, a big moment for me was just going and taking some pictures outside of IUPUI. That was my chance to go put the cap and gown on and play pretend. Then, as far as classmates, we’d chat over Zoom happy hour like everybody else.
Q: What do you think or hope this unprecedented year will lead to?
A: We’re all staring down some really daunting, universal issues. The pandemic has been extremely challenging, and it has everyone wanting to get back to our individual ideas of normal. However, as it turns out, getting back to normal isn’t all that great for a lot of people. We have to do better. On the other side of this pandemic, I want to see that we can learn to understand and listen to one another and enact some real changes to dismantle systemic inequalities and empower the oppressed. That starts with us as individuals, taking time to educate ourselves.
Q: What made you decide you wanted to work in advertising?
A: I got my start mostly doing traditional drawing and painting work before I got into design at Herron. As I developed my design skills, I found out about the advertising/marketing side and product design, which I love. I’ve become fascinated with digital products, packaging, and building brands. I’m interested in learning how I can design materials that are as good as all those things we see out and about.
Q: From a design perspective, what are some of your favorite brands and packaging?
A: I love Hotel Tango, which I’m happy is not far away from Well Done. I also really like craft beer stuff—there’s such a fun aspect to that because you can do really wacky stuff. And, of course on the technical side, I love Apple.
Q: And you like furniture design, too?
A: I picked up furniture design and woodworking when I was at Herron. I just fell in love with it! I’ve made a record cabinet, a chair, and a desk. I really like streamlined modern design, which sometimes has a little more chrome, but my pieces are made out of wood. Now I’m trying to develop my own set of physical tools, because I don’t have the nice Herron shop anymore.
Q: You’ve done some really cool things in college. What do you hope to accomplish while you’re at Well Done?
A: I want to absorb as much information as I can from all the awesome, talented people at Well Done and especially (Associate Creative Director) Joe Black, who I met through one of my professors. One of the big draws to Well Done for me was the creative leadership from the top down, starting with (Creative Director) Ken Honeywell. It’s great just to have the opportunity to learn from people who have already been around the block and are super active in the community.
Q: Looking ahead, what do you want to be doing in a decade?
A: Location-wise, I wouldn’t mind being in Indy. As far as my career goes, I would love to be in a place where I have enough insight and experience to be in the art director role or creative director position, where I can do some big picture work, as well as get my hands dirty on the small stuff. It would be exciting to be involved in creating ideas and stories.
Q: What didn’t I ask, but should have?
A: So, something most people don’t know about me? In second grade, I sung a High School Musical song in the talent show even though I can’t sing at all. It wasn’t one of my shining moments and there are no recordings of it, which should tell you how bad it was.
Oh well, we’re certain Chad can make up for that here at Well Done!