Melding new technology with meaning: Burberry designer and digital art director Ruby Wight
As online and offline spaces become more congested than ever, standing out against the crowd continues to be an ongoing challenge for big brands. This is the essence of Ruby Wight’s role at fashion powerhouse, Burberry. Serving as a senior integrated designer, she knows a thing or two about making an impact and engaging a digitally native audience. She joins us on the podcast to discuss her role, and reflect on a career journey that took her from Glasgow School of Art to the art departments of magazines, then branding agencies in LA and London, before finding her place in the fashion world.
Senior Integrated Designer, Burberry (2018–present)
Designer, Wolff Olins (2017–2018)
Designer, Accept & Proceed (2013–2017)
Freelance Designer, Barbican Centre (2012–2013)
Design Assistant, Siegel+Gale, LA (2011–2012)
Art Department Intern, Wallpaper* (2010)
Art Department Intern, Esquire Magazine (2010)
BA Visual Communication, Glasgow School of Art (2007–2011)
Helping to hone Burberry’s already pioneering digital reputation, Ruby currently heads up a team of four designers to realise some of the brand’s most engaging and ambitious campaigns, both physically and digitally.
Over 200 people make up the creative media department at Burberry, which doesn’t even include those working in fashion design or those actually making the products. In such a fast-moving and ever-changing environment, this leaves plenty of room for creative collaboration between teams like Ruby’s and those of creative technology and 3D design. “I’ve been amazed at the ambition and the vision of what we want to do” she tells us.
As Ruby tells us, both a sense of play and upholding the product’s value are essential factors in engaging an online audience: “I think the challenge for brands is to have some sort of meaning beyond the product that they are selling [...] It’s about maintaining a balance between beauty and performance: two things that are really important in terms of the luxury experiences that we create. Any digital experience has got to be fluid and intuitive.”
Looking back on some of her favourite projects from the past year, Ruby describes working with several teams to bring a dystopian Christmas to life on Burberry’s digital platforms for a recent festive campaign – a collaboration with artist and photographer Juno Calypso. “Our job was to extend the story of the campaign, created by our team of fabulous art directors, on a digital platform. We worked with the 3D and creative technology teams to bring to life six of the products for a unique audiovisual interactive experience.”
“Don’t just follow your heroes on Instagram, try and connect with them in the real world.”
A graduate of Glasgow School of Art’s visual communication course, Ruby credits the experience with helping her to build a diverse network of friends and collaborators. But it also provided some essential stepping stones into the world of work, not least with some help from David McKendrick – then the creative director at Esquire Magazine. “I knew he had the keys to the world that I wanted to be in!” Ruby shares.
Early stints at both Esquire and Wallpaper* followed, with Ruby spending the summer discovering the world of magazines: “I loved the glamour and the idea that all the people in the magazine had walked through the office at some point.”
Shortly after, Ruby moved to LA to take up a design assistant role at branding company Siegel+Gale, which she considers her “first proper job.” Filling us in on life in LA, she explains how she knew the move wouldn't be a permanent one: “People go to LA to escape busy cities, and I just wasn’t ready to escape yet. I wanted to be in the middle of things.”
Finally, Ruby offers some words of advice to emerging creatives – from finding mentors and creating lasting connections within your network, to being open to exploring the full range of your skill set: “As a designer, you need to be adaptable and unafraid of new things. Remain open-minded: it isn’t always about setting typography or gridlines.”
Interview by Marianne Hanoun
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