The jargon of creative agencies—brush up on your lingo

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    • 11th June 2019

    At Gloss Recruitment we work to support everyone looking for creative agency jobs in Leeds; whether you're a recent graduate, changing careers, or just looking for a new creative job, our team is happy to help.

    Part of the job hunt is finding the perfect match between a candidate and the culture of a creative agency. We know our candidates are cream of the crop talent looking for the right agency. We match each candidate with an agency that will challenge the, nurture them and help them reach their career ambitions.

    However, the jargon in these industries can be a bit of a minefield if you aren’t used to it!  To help you feel right at home, we’ve created this list of terms you might hear in creative agency jobs.

    Shoptalk Jargon

    Jargon is often an integral part of working in creative agencies.

    Creative agency professionals tend to use these regardless of their role in the company.


    If a colleague wants to “talk shop” with you, they want to talk about a new task at work. A common faux pas for new employees is focussing too much on shoptalk, to try and make a good impression. While we’re loving the enthusiasm, you don’t have to talk shop all day long. Leave the shop at your desk and use breaks to get to know your co-workers.

    End of play/Close of play

    This means the end of the working day. Professionals often cite this as a deadline, asking you get a piece of work to them before the day has finished. On rare occasions, your colleagues may abbreviate it to EOP or COP.


    As Soon As Possible. We’re guessing you’ve come across this one before, but abbreviations and acronyms are commonplace in agencies. There may be some leeway on when you need to get round to the task in question, but as a rule we suggest doing it… well, as soon as possible.


    Colleagues may tell you to activate your OOO. No, we aren’t about to burst into song (though we hope you’ll feel like doing so in your job!). This stands for Out of Office; don’t forget to activate your Out of Office auto reply on your email before going on holiday.

    On the same page/Singing from the same hymn-sheet

    Agency work is ultimately a team effort, and expressions like these emphasise that. It’s important that everyone in your team understands the strategy or overall plan for a project. If you aren’t singing from the same hymn-sheet you risk contradicting each other, wasting time and confusing your clients.

    On my radar/to-do list

    If a task is on someone’s radar, they’re aware of it but can’t work on it at the moment. Rest assured they’ll get to it sooner rather than later.

    Typically Creative Jargon

    coloured pencils in metal cup on paper with drawings
    Creative jargon employs some pretty colourful phrases.

    These terms are most popular within creative teams. Other teams may be completely baffled by them, so think carefully before deploying them.

    Blue-sky thinking

    When people ask for blue-sky thinking, they’re really asking for different, more developed ideas. The use of the phrase suggests your ideas need a bit more work in order to reach their full potential.

    Bells and whistles

    If your colleagues ask for bells and whistles, they want you to add a few extra features and make sure you’ve covered every option. Colleagues may use this term when discussing more high-profile clients or expensive projects.

    On-trend ideas

    This refers to ideas that are fashionable or popular. The problem with chasing on-trend ideas, however, is that they can quickly fall out of favour. A more useful phrase may be “timely ideas”, though this sounds less exciting.

    Evergreen content

    This refers to content that never loses its relevance. An article on graphic design job interview tips—for instance—is evergreen content; it’s always useful and won’t need any major changes once published. An article about networking events for March 2018—in contrast—is not, because the information is only useful for a relatively short time.

    Evergreen content is not necessarily better or worse than content with a shorter shelf life. It depends very much on context and the needs of your audience. Many agencies produce a mix of evergreen and non-evergreen content as the client demands.

    Reinventing the wheel

    This refers to when a team is overthinking a campaign and failing to make any progress on it. Sometimes the simplest ideas really are the most effective. If you think your team is reinventing the wheel, try and go back to basics; the answer may lie in a more straightforward approach.

    Moving the goalposts

    In creative contexts, ‘moving the goalposts’ refers to when clients have extra requests that change the end result of a campaign. These requests can make it tough to keep campaigns on track. However, these are the kinds of challenges you should expect in creative agency jobs.

    Let’s park this for now/Let’s put a pin in it

    Sometimes not all members of a team will always agree on the best course of action. If this happens, the project manager may park (or stop) the discussion for the time being. This allows you and your colleagues to focus on other parts of a campaign. By taking time to think about it, you may find another solution.

    Touch base

    This simply means ‘get in touch with’. Typically, when a colleague asks this if you’ve ‘touched base’ with a client, they want to know if you’ve spoken to them recently. Alternatively, they may want to know if you’ve received a reply from them.

    Low hanging fruit/quick wins first mindset

    This refers to results you can gain quickly, with little effort. You may encounter low hanging fruit in the world of SEO; in this situation, it refers to keywords with a big impact but little competition.

    Smug reports

    This is simply a play on words of a technical bug report that you send to multiple colleagues at once. There’s nothing unusual about the report itself, however. You’re most likely to hear this term from people working in digital marketing and web roles.


    A common term in PR roles. It refers to ‘about the company’ text and editor’s notes in a press release. Once written for a specific company, there’s little real variation in it.

    Reet Yorkshire Jargon

    Wise up to Yorkshire lingo with our handy list.

    Anyone who’s lived in Yorkshire for a while will know all of these. However, if you’re new to the Yorkshire area, these may be the first time you’re encountering them.

    Reet good/That’s proper champion

    Both of these phrases are another way of saying things are really good. A co-worker or your line manager telling you that an idea is reet good or even proper champion is really good. You’ll soon be taken on these proper Yorkshire sayings yourself if you’re working in a creative agency in Leeds. You’ll probably have to explain why something’s champion with friends and family back home, too!

    Get us a cuppa

    In other words, ‘can you make a cup of tea?’ An excellent bonding exercise. Don’t be afraid to ask it yourself once you settle in.

    You coming to dinner?

    You may hear this around lunchtime in Yorkshire agencies. Don’t be confused; up North, “dinner” is “lunch” while “tea” refers to “dinner” (i.e. the evening meal). Of course, “tea” also means “essential hot drink taken with milk”. You’ll be able to deduce the context eventually!

    Owt’s better than nowt

    This means ‘something is better than nothing.’ You’re likely to hear this if the team’s creativity isn’t flowing as well as normal. But don’t lose hope; you’ll soon get it back again! Offering to make a cup of tea never hurts…

    Talk the talk, walk the walk

    Once you get into the swing of things (ooh, there’s another one!) you’re sure to feel reet at home. When you fully immerse yourself in agency life, the jargon that comes with it is very easy to grasp.

    Gloss Recruitment has over a decade of experience, and we pride ourselves on building strong relationships with all our candidates. We can help you with every stage of hunt for creative agency jobs in Leeds, including building a CV, perfecting your portfolio and refining your interview technique.

    If you want help finding creative agency jobs in Leeds, you can give us a call on 08703 21788. You can also submit your CV to us directly by visiting our Contact Us page.

    If you’d prefer to read more about finding creative roles first, check out our articles on getting into creative roles and settling into your first creative agency job.