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60 Seconds with our Designer

May 14, 2018

What made you get into design?

Design was always something I grew up with, so to speak. I found I had a love for design when I started exploring and experimenting with motion graphics in After Effects at school. One thing eventually lead to another, and as I used various programmes more frequently, I started to learn more about the foundations of design and what makes good design.

To develop my knowledge further, I then enrolled for a Graphic Design & Interactive Media degree at MCAST. There I got to meet other like-minded individuals that shared the same interest, whilst having the opportunity to work on some really awesome projects.

Once I graduated, I landed my first job in design working for an agency. I learnt a lot from the team and it helped me to further build my understanding and knowledge of the industry.

In addition, I began freelancing on the side, helping me to grow and develop my portfolio, as well as testing out new techniques I was learning. For me, freelancing was a brilliant playground to test my skills and knowledge. It allowed me to be more creative as I had to come up with the entire concept rather than being given guidelines. I flourished in this new challenge.

In fact, it was this autonomy and ability to be relatively free with my designs that led me to a career at Brand & Pepper. I saw they were looking to hire a new designer, and given their unique background, I jumped at the chance. Since joining Brand & Pepper, I have grown so much in terms of ability, style and personally.

What do you do on an average day?

That’s tough to answer, it really depends because every day is quite different – but that’s the beauty of being a designer. I would say an average day includes plenty of research to keep up to date with latest design trends, brainstorming sessions with the team, creating awesome designs for our clients and DJing for the office…someone has to keep everyone awake after lunch, I just have the best taste in music!

Friday mornings are a little different though. I find a restaurant to order from and send it out to the team. Nobody loves their food more than I do, so I try to educate the team with my culinary wisdom…They don’t seem to appreciate it though.

What is your favourite tool to use?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite tool, but I do like to use Adobe Illustrator quite a lot in my work due to its simplistic user interface and versatility. It is practical for almost every project I work on. Recently I have begun to start using Sketch more with website designs, it’s got some really useful features, such as linking buttons to another design. It makes the design feel it’s alive, which makes pitching the designs to the client so much easier as they can get a proper feel for what their new website will look like and how it will work.

What has been your favourite project this year so far?

I’d have to say that my favourite project so far was the branding for Brand & Pepper. We had total freedom and the project guidelines were quite flexible, this let us experiment with the brand and come up with all sorts of exciting and interesting concepts that we wouldn’t usually be able to do. Plus creating the identity for your own brand is always an exciting challenge.

For me, there is something special about being given a total creative licence. You can explore unique designs and styles, combining them with simple design principles to create the next big style.

Where is your favourite place to order from on a Friday?

As I said earlier, food is my passion, I love to be in the kitchen or cooking over a camp fire. I can’t get enough of delicious food and decedent dishes. I order almost without fail every Friday with the team. However, I must say that the EAT food truck is my hands down favourite. In my eyes, smoked BBQ food is quite possibly the most delicious thing anyone can ever eat. I love the detail, attention, time and love that goes into preparing a smoked piece of meat. For me, smoking food is more than just cooking, it’s an art form.

Where is your favourite place to hang out?

When I’m not in the office, you can usually find me out in nature. I love almost everything about being outdoors, you can forget about the stress and problems of the week and totally relax. After work in summer, I quite often pack up a few beers, some snacks and walk to the beach and do a little bit of sunset fishing. It’s incredibly peaceful; the sunsets and cloud formations often provide me with new ideas for design concepts.

Nature gives you a chance to reconnect.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Many people throughout life give you advice. Some of it is great, some not so great. It all really depends on what you are doing or about to do at that moment in time. One piece of advice that I have applied to many facets of my life, and I believe you can apply to most situations is:

Don’t follow the norm just because it’s the safer option. Stand out, and if you believe in something, don’t give up on it regardless of what people might think or say.

I can’t remember who gave me this advice, but it has proven time and time again to be great advice. Whenever I feel like I’m going to give in and settle, I remind myself of this bit of advice. It seems to give me strength and the ability to make my point and situation understood and often betters the outcome for me.

What is you one nugget of wisdom you want to give people?

Through my experiences, I have learnt quite a lot and would love to share so much advice with people, and in fact I do share as much as I can, when I can. I have learnt from mistakes and successes and if I can help someone not make a mistake, then I will try my best to give them the advice they need. I think some advice that is from the heart would be:

Try to make a difference in the world, regardless of how you do it. Something small can make a large difference!

For me, this hits some really important notes. For example if when you are out and about and someone is in trouble, or needs help, stop and help them. You never know what they could be going through, and that one small kind deed that takes up 5 minutes of your time could mean the world to someone. In society these days, we tend not to think for anyone but ourselves, and we are losing a sense of humanity and compassion – it is what makes us different to animals.

It doesn’t have to be about helping a person, it can be an animal, a plant or even the environment. There are so many small things you can do, that could very well make a big difference in another way.

By Alex Meears

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