Why I Became A Graphic Designer


It’s a question I get asked from time to time… why did I become a designer?

Well, as a child I can’t really say I was particularly arty although I was always very interested in advertising. I always used to remember jingles and was very aware of brands even at a young age; one of my earliest memories is pointing at a tub of margerine in Walter Wilson’s in Wigton and being most excited as it was the Vitalite sun from the advert!

Yes, even as a child I was a sucker for an advert

I used to love technology. It was always me as a teenager that would fix things in our house and when my parents bought me my first PC when I was 15 this was probably the beginning of my interest in graphic design. I used to sit for hours and create things on Microsoft Paint (I was gutted when I heard it was going to be scrapped!) I didn’t even know what an Apple Mac was to be honest – so a PC was my tool for creating! I used to make cards for friends and little posters.

Microsoft Paint

An original design…!

At the age of 15 I was at school and wasn’t particularly interested in taking an Art GCSE so I signed up for Graphic Design instead. To be honest, I can’t say my teacher was really an influencing factor in my career choice – he was pretty awful – but I really enjoyed the process of designing my own coffee brand and visualising the shop frontage. We did it all by hand; I remember me naming it Jolt Java after seeing it named as one of the coffee choices on the notice board of Central Perk in Friends.

A child of the 90s for sure…

For GCSE, I took English Language and one of the essay choices was a worded visualisation of an advert. I remember my teacher, Mrs Picken, writing on it with the words “A career in advertising awaits you.” I was so chuffed. I hadn’t really thought about design and advertising as a career, but this was the first time I realised I wanted to be a creative.

I later did work experience at 2 design companies and this cemented the idea in my head. I went to university to study HND Graphic Design as it was a vocationally based course; we got to work on live briefs with real clients – it was an eye opener into how designers worked. I realised then that being a designer was so much more than the creative side. I love communicating with others and being a graphic designer allows me to do this every day with my clients.

When we studied History at school, one of my favourite things was to look at old propaganda posters from WWII – even now, I love them! My family will tell you of my obession with old packaging from that era; we often visit Yorkshire in the summer and each time I beg to visit Eden Camp Museum as I love the part about propaganda and shops of the time. I was also fascinated by our mass media module in Sociology; understanding culture, values and even colours and shapes and how they effect society.

Girl power

Girl power!

I love making a difference to businesses. One of the absolute joys of my job is to turn people’s ideas into reality; clients come to me with an image in their head of what they want and I make it work. I’m a problem solver and I love a good puzzle! Even if someone has no idea of what they want, I investigate their business and give them a solution that communicates what they’re about.

On a personal note, I knew I wanted to do a job that I was passionate about. I love my job; I love being able to share my ideas with other people and in a small way, actually make a difference to people’s lives. I’m not cut out to be a nurse or a fireperson, but in my own way I am able to help people who want to make a difference, such as Jack’s Journey and The Angus McDonald Trust who I assist with design.

My parents weren’t particular fussed as to what I wanted to do after school, as long as I worked hard. No one else in my family was partiularly arty or business orientated, so it was up to me to make my way into graphic design on my own. It’s a good job I love a challenge…

Love, Rebecca x

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