The Digital Hybrid and what this means for your agency




  1. a thing made by combining two different elements.

As the Spice Girls famously quoted when “2 Become 1”, something at a young age of 8, I still didn’t quite grasp the concept of what they were actually singing about, but I understood the gist of it enough to get by.

Some might think of cars as the first thing when they hear this world, but no that's not what I am talking about here.

Hybrid, it’s a recurring word that keeps cropping up in the world of advertising, or ’unicorn’ as some of my clients use regularly, is a term being seen more and more in what I am being asked to recruit for.

In this day and age, we are multi-tasking more than ever. From fitting your PT sessions in before work, that Tuesday morning work team catch up, whilst you're already WhatsApping your friend to make sure they have booked table reservations at Mildred’s and bought your Glastonbury tickets, and its only 9:07am.

I believe everyone is a hybrid of some sort in their own right. But how has this translated in the advertising world?

As a someone who has been recruiting in freelancing in advertising for the last 4 years, I have seen some change. A few years ago, it was mainly specialists I was seeing a trend in. Recruiting for people who wouldn’t do anything, but, their core skill set, as even the slightest hint of another skill would prove that they were not a master in their trade to my clients. Indeed, of course I do still get asked for specialists, but I am noticing a bigger trend in people with multiple skill sets.

The 2 in 1.

The reason? There is multiple. Is it the need that agencies are solidifying the need to hire more heads and spreading the workload amongst the team or are they are trying to be more agile in their way of working, so that the whole team can adapt to any given brief and sync as one?

Perhaps a bit of both.

Recruiting in purely digital, it has been interesting seeing the rise in not only UI + UX hybrids, but also recently digital + motion graphics. With agencies trying to be as integrated as possible to offer their clients a wider variety of service, to ultimately win more business, it's easy to see why they want their designers to do the same.

But does this taint quality? In my experience, again, it's tricky. If I were to generalise, then yes. No one can master a skill as true to if they were to focus purely on that. But on a wider note, I have met some extremely talented designers who are brilliant at both. And ones where agencies repeatedly book them again and again.

Some agencies are seeing this trend and hiring these people such as Havas, who have launched N8tive, a hub of grads who'll be free from titles using their big ideas purely to work briefs without restrictions.

As Paul Vinod who co-coined the idea said in an article for AdWeek,  "They are hybrids. Defining them would be putting them in a straitjacket."

He has some truth you know.

The beautiful thing about a hybrid is that it's a mold that doesn’t fit. It can be any age, gender, background or person. And with all these new ideas at the core of what any good agency wants to create, it’s this amalgamation of combing talent to create something even, more, that's the interesting part. The unknown of what happens when you put two together.

It’s 2 in 1 for now, when does it become 3 or 4 in 1?

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