On Feb, 20 2023
Delivering beautiful, impactful creative work is both an art and a science. We sat down with Frequence's Technical Art Director Ny Nguyen to discuss his unique role, how our Creative team has evolved over the years, and how Frequence developed the systems used to produce high-performing ads for our partners.
What drew you to Frequence?
I graduated with an art degree with some experience in computer science. I joined the job market during the middle of the housing crash and there weren't a lot of jobs around, so I actually took a bunch of odd jobs. I did a mix of work: technical roles as well as art and design-related work, building up some experience. Frequence was one of the few companies that I felt were the right fit in terms of the experience that they were expecting, and the kind of job I was looking for.
How would you describe your role?
The funny thing about my title, Technical Art Director: it doesn't really exist anywhere except for the gaming industry. We were having such a hard time figuring out what my current title should be because I do a little bit of everything. My experience and my background has that technical angle as well as that creative angle. My job kind of intersects the two. We came across Technical Art Director as a role that was in the gaming industry, but the description kind of matched the role I’m in. In the gaming industry, it’s the technical art director’s job to consolidate the technologies and the art and coordinate with the engineering team in order to produce some sort of feature set or results at the end of the day.
The job that I do today is working alongside and listening to the Frequence creative team, learning where they can improve, what they need to do the best possible work, and figuring out what kind of technologies can be implemented within the team. From there, I’m working with the Product Advantage Engineering team in order to build those resources within the platform, and working with my internal team to explore options if external products and resources are limited. I wear a lot of hats; part designer, part engineer, part product person.
How does the Creative team use technology to advance their work?
We have two main approaches. We can come up with something that’s completely homegrown; an example that comes to mind is our very first creative product that we built internally - our creative framework system. This is not something that's client facing, but it does impact the client. Or we find something on the market that fits our needs and solves our challenges. Our work philosophy is that every problem is just a series of smaller problems. So if we are able to find an existing tool that can solve a smaller problem as a part of the bigger puzzle, then that's what we do. In the case of the creative framework system, we knew we had to build something to keep pace with partner demand and at the same time deliver the highest quality creative. We leveraged Photoshop's programs to get us there; the Photoshop workflows and animation workflows were the initial part of the puzzle. But then to make it a full-fledged system, we ultimately built our own solution. And that's how we approach our work. We're always kind of approaching problems in that way, where we do the initial problem solving. The conversations start with our Product and Engineering teams. And then we keep asking questions. How do we get there quickly? And then from there: How do we enhance it? How do we make it better? How do we make it faster?
Tell us about a favorite project.
Well, that's a loaded question. I don't know if there's a particular favorite because I’ve been involved with so many. It would probably just be the most recent one, because I think every year we're challenged with new problems that are more exciting than the last.
You’ve been with Frequence’s Creative team for over 8 years. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen?
I've seen a lot over my 8 years at Frequence. We started as a type of company that went out and sought advertisers to a company that really leveraged the partnership between media companies to really push our workflow solutions to these partners. And I think the biggest change we've seen is the rapid scaling that we've done not only in our platform but also within our team - the people and the growth that comes with it. The main change I've seen is that we've been able to adapt and change and improve our models, not only from a people perspective, but also from a technology perspective. How do we make this work when there are multiple partners across multiple regions of the United States? How do we make the platform configurable, adaptable and flexible for those partners?
I think that same challenge and philosophy also permeates what we do in the Creative team. It's interesting to see how those pieces all kind of align with each other. For the Creative team, one key component was Sarah Chamberlain, who joined on as a creative director. We didn't have a creative director in the very early years of Frequence; we were a very small company, 20 or so people. And so we were just a small creative pod. With Sarah joining, it really allowed us to have a long-term vision of what the creative team could be. She allowed me to build our internal creative framework system that has now improved our general design times as well as quality across the board. It developed into this kind of living ecosystem, where the work that we've done before could be utilized to elevate future work. That kind of work, that kind of creative problem solving has been a key component of my role. And the work here that I do at Frequence and the ability to jump into those moments is what keeps me here.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Most of my work is stuff I like to do, either creative or problem solving in nature. But I do need to reset at the end of the day. I'm an artist at heart, so I do a lot of painting and I enjoy computer games. I do some hiking when the weather's nicer than it is now.
Frequence connects all aspects of digital advertising—sales, operations, creative and reporting—from beginning to end. We make programmatic ad buying possible for everyone. Learn more about our team.