I'm Mary and I'm a mid-weight graphic designer
Describe your job
In my experience, being a designer is a super varied role. I am expected to conceptualise and deliver creative outcomes for lots of different types of briefs ranging from: printed collateral such as packaging or restaurant menus, to digital outcomes such as website design or animated assets for socials. My role also extends to art direction and production on photography shoots, working with photographers, stylists and models to creative moving or still photography.
What are the most important skills you need to do your job?
An ardent interest in Graphic Design and the wider creative industries.
A proficient understanding of Adobe Creative Suite.
Good communication skills – there is a lot of cross department (or client or freelancer) presenting, briefing and feedback.
A conceptual thinker.
Super self motivated and an ability to act as your own project / production manager.
I left school and...
After leaving school I did an art & design foundation year at the local university. It was during this year that I decided I’d be better off doing a degree in Graphic Design over my original plan to study Fine Art.
I was accepted onto a course at London College of Communication and three years later graduated with a first. After a summer of being funemployed, I applied for several different junior designer roles which resulted in my first full time position as an in-house designer at an outdoor footwear brand. I spent two years there before moving on to try my hand at something a little different, working in-house for a hospitality brand.
I’m most proud of...
Our in house product design team launched a leather goods range. For which I designed the printed collateral, including swing tags, care card, dust bags, tissue paper and gift boxes.
Before I started my career, I wish I knew…
I assumed that it was a given that my university course would include being tutored on all the software used. If you decide graphic design is for you, I’d definitely recommend getting a head start on learning Adobe Creative Suite (specifically Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects) before your first term.
A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...
Thinking that my first job out of university has to be my “dream” gig.
I stressed myself out to no end with the expectation of working at an award-winning agency after graduating. Landing a role in house wasn’t really part of the plan I had set for myself, however now I only have amazing things to say about my time there. I learned so much from some extremely talented designers, who have gone on to do amazing things. I also met my now best friends there.
We put so much pressure on ourselves for everything to be 100% perfect all the time, when actually we don’t know what “perfect” is most of the time.
So, what’s next?
Next stop is to become a senior designer, which will bring more managerial responsibilities to my role. Beyond that, who knows, I’m keen to keep my options open. Eventually I’d like to have my own studio, working on new opening concepts for independent restaurants and bars.