How do you think your upbringing influenced your choice of career?
It didn’t. There was no space on the photography course so I was forced to do graphic design (I like to think it worked out for me in the end). At the time I didn’t even know exactly what graphic design was. Soon after I became obsessed, starting with editorial design and the fundamentals of typography, then swiftly into moving image.
Did you study at degree level and if so, do you feel you need a formal education for what you do?
Yes, I did, and no, I absolutely don’t. University taught me how to learn, work experience (and the internet) taught me most of what I know. University isn’t the answer by any means, but I do think it’s an important step in finding your voice and building a perception of the world (albeit, a naive one), and without that it’s hard to creatively reflect and contribute.
After graduating, what were your initial steps?
Although I did well at university, I was very creatively self-conscious. It was tough to envision my place in the commercial world, as so many aspects of design interested me and I couldn’t see myself specialising in one particular thing. I wanted to take anything I could get my hands on, and soak up as much as I could before anyone released I didn’t know what I was doing. That was imposter syndrome creeping in. I saw a number of talented graduates come out of university with a sense of entitlement and a willingness to wait for that ‘dream job’ and I was painfully aware of not doing that. After the first couple of years of working as a moving image designer and then a communications designer, the work and the industry completely shifted my perception of what I thought ‘design’ was, as well as my career ambitions. This was the case after working at Eight Inc. and beginning to move more into the world of experience design, which I gravitated towards as it required a multidisciplinary approach in order to see how elements such as communications, physical space, products and behaviours work in concert, informing one another to form meaningful experiences. I’m trying to build a diverse and episodic career, moving when it feels right and bringing the learnings of where I’ve been to wherever I go next. I have to keep moving otherwise I can easily start to feel stagnant.