Our journey into DX: part one

If you’ve been following our ‘What got me into marketing’ series, you’ll know by now that there is no one path into the industry. So, we sat down with Chris (Head of Digital Experience Design), Elliot (UI and UX Designer), Kieran (Senior UI Designer) and Steph (Senior UX Designer), to learn how they got into the world of Design and Digital Experience.

This time, we’re finding out how they first decided to go down this path, and bring up the discussion point of whether you really need to go to uni or not…

Let’s kick this off with an easy one shall we. Can you all remember what your first taste of design was?

S – I didn’t know what graphic design was until I had to start applying for university, but in hindsight, it makes sooo much sense that this is the path I ended up on.

I specifically remember one parents evening when my maths teacher told my parents I was spending too much time on the layout and design of my exercise book than the working out itself! I also wrote a poem about a worm when I was seven and typed it up using EVERY font Microsoft 95 had available. My parents still have it laminated.

So yeah, thinking about it, this is the most obvious career path I could have taken, the signs were all there.

E – For me, I always knew I liked art but didn’t know what job that meant I could do. Then when I was taking GCSE art, they brought back an old student who had gone on to do a graphic design degree, and that’s where I first leant about the industry.

Like Steph though, I guess the signs were always there – when I was a kid, whilst watching TV and stuff I would always have a drawing pad and would spend my time just redrawing logos of football teams or wrestling.

S – Nerd!

E – Yep!

C – My story is very similar to Elliot’s really. I could never spell, wasn’t good at maths, was good at P.E but not the best, but art I was good at! So, I went to art college and was presented with three paths; fine art (nope), making stuff out of wood (which I couldn’t do) or graphic design.

From there, I never really planned on going down the digital route, but my illustrations progressed into storyboards, then storyboarding morphed into designing websites, and here we are.

S – I started out on a very traditional route too, following on from doing art at school. Digital wasn’t really covered at uni, but I always had an interest in it. So, once I started working, those digital briefs kept being sent my way and I transitioned into it quite naturally. Shane, who is the youngest in our team (and on holiday at the minute), did do a more of a digital design course so it’s good to see it’s more of an option now.

C – Yeah, I’m sure he did computer games. Pretty cool.

K – My journey started in the art room too, then I began using photoshop quite a bit. It felt very ‘me’ because I really enjoyed art but didn’t like mess, and on a computer, everything is neat, tidy and clean! To be a painter, if you make a mistake, it can be a pain to fix, but on a computer it’s so easy to undo. I started playing around with it more, watched tutorials and stuff, then went to art college.

There’s often some debate around whether you really need to do design at college or uni to work in the industry. Is worth it do you think?

C – I don’t think so no.

E – I’m torn!

K – I think art school is good, but I don’t think you need to go to uni now.

E – Yeah, there’s so much available elsewhere now.

C – I agree, going to art school helps to develop an understanding, but you don’t need a degree. People who have an appreciation and interest for art and design, colour and form, and generally making things look nice, end up down one of those roads anyway.

I very rarely look at qualifications when interviewing, I look more at their work. To be honest, sometimes I don’t even look at that too closely – you can quickly learn if someone is passionate about something or not when you chat to them. You just get that feeling and that’s always the sign for me.

K – I often think it’s more about being a design thinker too, working out how to solve problems and think creatively outside the box. That can be a tell-tale sign of whether you’re going to do well.

E – One of the things uni is great for though is getting to spend three years doing it every single day! The practice is great, and you build up a portfolio in the process.

C – True. And you can meet some great people. There are so many people from my course I still keep in touch with, and we’ve all gone on to do such a broad spectrum of jobs. It’s really interesting how we all learnt the same things but are getting to apply it in different ways. So yeah, going to uni isn’t essential, but it can help. Plus, it’s just good fun isn’t it.

K – It is fun, but if I had to make the choice again now, I wouldn’t go. First of all, it’s really expensive! But I also feel like I learnt more in my first year of working than I ever did at university. Uni was more about just learning to grow up – and who are we kidding, getting drunk with my mates.

E – I agree.

C – It all comes back to having that passion. If you can show you have it and someone’s willing to give you a try, I think that’s all you need. You will naturally keep growing and evolving, just look at us – none of us are doing what we studied at uni, it’s all kind of out of date now. You need to be in it to keep up!

Join us next week for the second instalment of our chat, where we’ll be finding out the steps taken from education into agency life, and how the team’s roles have progressed since starting working life.

Written by:

Georgia.Preston Senior Marketing Executive


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