An Interview with a Designer

In our creative department, design comes as second nature at seventy7. We had a chat with designer Joe Henshaw, from our Manchester office, about the most rewarding parts of the job and how creative design is a family matter.

How did you get into design?

I’ve been very lucky to be honest. My grandad and uncle are both Illustrators, and my dad and another uncle are Creative Directors. Growing up, the design industry was always part of my life. When I left school, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do and rather than commit to a full time degree course at university, I decided to dip my toe in the water on a part-time design course run by Shillington College. Their practical, real world approach gave me a great base from which to progress into a commercial working environment.

Can you give me a brief summary of what you do?

As a Designer I work across the full spectrum of clients at seventy7. Usually working as part of a team, my role is to provide support and creative input to the Senior Creative, bringing to life the ideas and concepts that have been developed to answer the client’s brief. I use inDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator on a daily basis and am currently developing my knowledge of Premier Pro to widen my ability to create new ways of communicating ideas.

What are the best things about working in design?

That’s a hard question to answer at the moment as so much is changing so quickly. On one hand, keeping up to date with all the latest developments is an exciting challenge, but it also makes planning a future quite difficult! Working with interesting and creative people is a major plus point, and the fact that every day brings a new challenge, either having to learn a new skill or finding a better way of answering a client’s brief, means that every day is different and adds something to your experience.

How and where can someone get work experience in design?

Although the entire design industry is changing so rapidly, certain attributes remain important in finding a way into a job. Enthusiasm, energy, open mindedness and a willingness to learn will always stand you in good stead. New skills and techniques can be learned, understanding how the industry is developing and showing an ability to direct that development is essential to finding a role in any design-based industry.

How can you make your CV standout?

Treat your CV in the same way that you would treat a client brief. Step back from the fact that it is you that the CV is trying to sell, and analyse the person that you are sending it to. What are they looking for, what do they need? How can your skill answer those needs? Don’t forget that they will receive hundreds of CVs, so make your pitch quickly, accurately and most of all interestingly (that doesn’t mean over-designing it with the rainbow title in Microsoft Word though!).

What do people look for in the industry?

Personality. You still have to have the right skills, but after that, what makes you stand out from the crowd? Design is a team business and showing how you can not only fit into a team, but also add your own personality, is always going to appeal to employers looking for something that will strengthen and improve their business.

What are the best things about working at seventy7?

It’s a bit like a family (literally for me). Of course it can frustrate you at times, but most importantly you know that it will always be there to support and encourage you in whatever you want to do.

Alex Wan

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