Our journey into DX: part two

Last week, 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 first got a taste for the design world, and discussed whether you really need to go to uni or not…

This time, join us as we talk about the steps from education into agency life, and how their roles have progressed from there…

So, if you all studied art and design in some shape or form, at what point did you realise agencies would be the place for you?

C – During my course, we would be paired up with people who had different specialisms to work on briefs together very collaboratively, to give us a feel for what it’s like to work in an agency. From this, the idea of going it alone felt alien to me, so it was then I knew agencies would be for me.

K – I did an agency placement for two weeks over summer whilst at uni, so that was my first exposure. Then when I graduated, I moved to Leeds and got quite lucky with a job at a start-up. I knew one of the guys and he took me on when there were only three of them, and it built up over time – so I got some great experience there.

E – I think I knew about agencies prior to going to uni, only because I had been looking into what jobs I could get by doing the course I did. Then like Kieran, I did a couple of placements. After those, I put the design work on hold as I was in a band…

C – Make sure you get a band photo in here please!

E – Oh no… So, I was trying to live that dream for a while, but eventually gave that up and went for an interview where Chris hired me.

C – I also started with a placement at HOME actually. It was only meant to be for two weeks, but I kept going back afterwards and helping out for a couple of days a week. I got invited to the Christmas party as a thank you. It paid off, as a few drinks in the studio manager invited me for an interview and I think he felt obliged to stick to his word once the beer had worn off!

S – Hang on, isn’t that how I got a job at HOME too? I had been freelancing and there were talks of a Christmas party in the office, so I gate-crashed that evening and left with a job!

C – It can go a long way showing a level of commitment and genuine interest for the industry.

Since starting at agencies, how have your roles progressed over time?

C – I mainly did illustration at the beginning, slowly working my way up through studio. As we grew the team, the work kept evolving. For example, we started doing a lot more social content marketing, which naturally evolved into websites, and the team kept building from there.

E – Didn’t we go on a UX course in Manchester at some point?

C – We did! UX was led by Developers at the time, but we knew there was an opportunity for us to learn more. That makes it sound quite straight forward, but I’ve also done some pretty awful design jobs in my time! I did a brief stint in the fashion industry, designing t-shirts and buttons for jeans… I learnt a lot, but was nowhere near fashionable enough to work in that world. Greetings cards too. I thought that was going to be fun, but working on Christmas all year soon gets boring!

S – Yeah, there have definitely been a few dead ends on my path too. It’s good for building up your portfolio, but you have to know when to move on. At HOME, the team just keeps evolving and there are always new opportunities, so you don’t feel like you reach those dead ends.

C – I agree, our team are picking up new skillsets and evolving with the market all the time. It’s never felt like our offering is limited, and that’s the beauty of working in an agency.

Are there any new areas or skillsets you as a team are excited about?

S – AR! It’s really interesting to be able to apply the skills we already have in design to new technologies.

E – Yeah, AR, VR…

C – Anything with an R really!

And even with these new technologies, do any of you still dabble in art in your spare time?

E – I do loads of illustrations for myself and my Instagram, but I don’t like to sit and paint.

K – The older I’ve got, the less arty stuff I do on the side actually. I do a lot more gardening and DIY, so I focus my creative skills in that way.

C – How do you deal with the mud, isn’t that too messy?

K – It is a bit actually. But with a garden you never really have to clean up, so it’s ok.

C – Like Elliot I also have loads of sketchbooks full of illustrations, just for myself really.

Thanks for joining us! Got a question for our DX team? Let us know @homeagencyuk.

Written by:

Georgia.Preston Senior Marketing Executive


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