Just over 12 months ago, I was given an immensely exciting opportunity to work alongside some of the most awesome people and become the junior designer here at GEL Studios. Being fresh out of University, I knew just how hard it was to gain any experience as a graphic designer in such a competitive industry, let alone have a job role created especially for you. To have team members with such an enormous amount of industry experience and knowledge that could be passed along, who also wanted to set aside the time to work alongside myself, was purely invaluable and something that is priceless in this day and age.
My first year has passed in such a whirlwind, with no two days in the office the same - but each day is as enjoyable as the next. I have had the opportunity to work on such a wide and varied range of projects, even things I never thought I would turn my hand to. Each day I can honestly say I've learned something new, something extremely helpful.
I started this career with the idea of solely being a graphic designer - someone in my mind who would predominantly work on graphic design items that are typically printed; postcards, mailers, posters, campaigns. Small things really - especially in my first year. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be creating logos and branding for entirely new businesses and end up seeing my artwork and illustrations as vinyl graphics covering an entire vehicle. That was quite a proud moment, I must say.
When I say I had intentions of solely being a graphic designer, at no point did I think I would be planning, wire-framing and designing websites from scratch. Something I had no previous knowledge on, yet I find myself with a few websites under my belt now - and I can say I really love it. From a flat wireframe concept, to a fully working and navigational website, I now fully appreciate every tiny detail and thought that goes into the workings behind the scenes. I will say though... I won't be joining the development team anytime soon - that's a whole different story! Coding really is a completely different language!
Graphic design, website design - or both?
Now if you ask me to choose between a web designer or graphic designer.... I honestly couldn't. I love both aspects too much! Let's go for a graphic chameleon - someone who adapts and changes knowledge to fit each given project.
5 things I've learned as a junior designer:
- Absorb every ounce of information you're given, you'll need it at some point in your creative career.
- Tea and coffee is the fuel of life. Being able to make a good cuppa should be a priority within your skillset.
- A pad of paper and a pencil is key, always have one with you, you never know when an idea may hit.
- Switching off the brain in the evening is a must. Creativity may flow constantly but you need a break every now and then.
- Don't be afraid to voice your ideas, a fresh set of eyes to a problem can be all you need to find a solution.
I can't finish without the BIGGEST thank you to each and everyone of the GEL team (past and present):
Graeme for giving me the opportunity at the beginning, for believing in me.
Carly for guiding me through the crazy world of web and being the voice of reason and knowledge when my designs get too wild for web.
Katie for being the team mum and keeping me on track.
Mike for sharing all of the printing and production knowledge one could ever need.
Jamie and Mark for putting up with my lack of knowledge in the dev world, yet still taking the time to explain something.
The GEL family is full of some of the most inspirational, knowledgable and genuinely loveliest people - and I couldn't be prouder to be part of such an amazing team.