Ellie Robson, Presentation Design

I'm Ellie, and I'm a presentation designer

Describe your job

On the daily, I’m an in-house Presentation Designer (99% of this is on Microsoft PowerPoint). The company I work for specialises in Automotive training with our client base being made up of brands such as Toyota, Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Volvo and Yamaha.

I’m given content in a very bland and basic form and redesign it to make it digestible, clear and fun to learn. The presentations I design vary from webinars to e-guides to branded templates – but mostly live events. This could be anything from training a group of sales execs in Leicester to sell a new car, right down to a brand-new car launch in Milan (that’s the really fun stuff).

I get to travel often – so much more than you think you would with a job in PowerPoint; probably around 8-10 times a year and mostly to Spain and Belgium, but it depends on where the event is taking place. On these events I work side-by-side with presenters to create and hone their presentations, as well as alongside the AV, show caller and event teams to ensure the smooth-running of the show.

What are the most important skills you need to do your job?

I would tell you it’s essential to have a degree in graphic design or advanced knowledge of PowerPoint… but I had neither of those things when I fell into this job. I was lucky enough to learn from some very talented people along the way.

An affinity for design and creativity (probably in any form!) is necessary.

An ability to work as part of a team and not have to take control (because you will likely not be the only person working on a project)

But alternatively, the ability to take control and project manage (because sometimes – you will be the only person working on a project)

If you’re client-facing, like I am, ‘people skills’ are essential. There is no exhaustive list of what this pertains, and they can come in any shape or form. Mine manifest in the form of an unwavering smile!

I left school and...

I left school at 17 and fell into an advertising apprenticeship in London at a really exciting advertising agency.

Through connections made there, I landed an enviable position as an assistant to one of Britain's most famous photographers in order to pursue my dream of becoming a photographer (or somethinginphotography - I didn't really know) and decided it wasn't for me after all.

Whilst I was job searching, my mum found a new man whose best mate was looking for a PowerPoint Designer. I thought PowerPoint was just a program you used in school, but went for it anyway - and 3 years later, I'm still here!

I’m most proud of...

All the work I do is confidential, so I can’t share! But I’m proud of all of it – even the really sh*t stuff, ’cause I made it.

Before I started my career, I wish I knew…

ASK FOR HELP. Ask for feedback. People love to mentor and it doesn’t show weakness, it shows willingness to learn and a desire to do well.

A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...

Buying mince pies for a shoot of a national supermarket's Christmas ad, from one of their competitors...

I used to be too proud, of being in the industry so young and the fact that I was a woman on predominantly male sets, that I tried to prove myself too much and didn’t ask for help, which made the times I did screw up even more embarrassing.

You should absolutely be proud of who you are and where you are but don’t let that pride cloud your judgement or dissuade you from learning from others.

So, what’s next?

I’m still learning so much and have so much variety in my role I don’t plan to switch it up any time soon – but if all goes to plan I’ll one day start a small design agency (I even have the name and logo ready to go)

Here's my:

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