1.What is your background experience as a designer and what did you do before joining SteadyGo?
My design career started by accident when I went to enroll on my A Levels, I was about to embark on a career in IT and Computing, before being told I couldn’t do both of those courses at the same time. So, there I am sat with my Mum and the conversation went something like this:
Mum: “Oh no this is a bit of a disaster, what are you going to do?”
Me: “Ummm what shall I do instead, I can choose whatever I want now” (little caveat – I had all the freedom in my world as my Dad wasn’t in the room to disagree with my every choice)
Me: “Graphic Design looks cool?”
Mum: “I’m not sure, what are you going to do with Graphic Design, you can’t even draw”
Me: “That’s true, let’s ask”
I ask, the enrollment lady says, “ooh but you’ve not done that before and you’re doing Photography too.” She says this while looking at me like why don’t you do a proper subject.
“We can ask the tutor for you though”
Enter Steve Bonati – the nicest bloke you will ever meet in your life.
Steve says, “Yes you can do it.”
And that is how you start a career totally by accident. Since that rather haphazard start to life as a Designer, I went on to study at Leeds College of Art, graduating in 2014. After which I moved down to London and spent two years there working for a great brand and digital agency on some great projects with some great people. But after a couple of years and London life grinding me down, I made my way back to my adopted home of Leeds. Working for a digital agency for a short while before their relocation, and since then I have been freelancing for various agencies and clients as a Freelance Brand and Digital Designer. But doing that has left me yearning for the studio environment once more and a role where I can really contribute to the growth of studio and somewhere I can have a real creative impact on client work thus enter SteadyGo.
2. What does the role of designer entail?
On the surface the role of a designer is to make things look pretty, but it runs much deeper than that especially as a Digital Designer. I must consider things like user personas and understanding different audience, UX practices, how to make the user’s experience as pleasant and easy as possible when using a certain digital product, planning the structure of website through wireframing and information architecture, going to client meetings to pitch designs, troubleshoot their problems, reassure them that the designs are going to deliver what they need, come up with creative concepts; the list goes on. In its simplest form, I aim to identify and solve the client’s problem in the simplest, most user-friendly way whilst making it look as good as possible.
3. What is your process of working when taking on a project, and are there any methods you find particularly useful?
I like to plan things out before I start a project, ideally, I like to have actual content to work with or at least a very good idea of what sort of content is going to be going on certain pages of a website. I sometimes scare people because I don’t like to scamp or sketch on paper I find I’m much more effective and productive if I scamp and sketch digitally using Illustrator. I have also recently streamlined my workflow after some reading and a fellow designer showing me their workflow of designing for digital using Adobe Illustrator, this has been a godsend in terms of speed and accuracy.
The simple process and workflow goes along the lines of this: Planning > Research > Idea Dump (type styles, design styles, different ideas etc.) > Wireframing > Client Review > Design > Build.
4. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your role at SteadyGo?
Sitting next to Sam.
5. What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your role at SteadyGo?
This has to be the responsibility I have when it comes to the design output of the studio, as the sole designer it is my responsibility to ensure that the work I am doing is as good as it can be, it fulfils the client brief, reflects the work we want to do as a studio and is something I am personally proud of. I have started to forge a great working relationship with Sam, the CD here, it’s fantastic to have someone to discuss and bounce ideas off, values my opinion and who trusts the work I am creating. This all allows me to produce the best work I can for the projects here.
6. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow your particular career path?
Trust yourself, have belief in yourself, don’t let people dumb you down for not having a “proper” job. Have a personality, be confident but not arrogant and trust your gut. Don’t be scared to make connections most designers are more than willing to help and speak to younger aspiring designers or students.