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Yes really, 10 years!

1. The value of a good team

People have come and gone but the team at Buzzword has always been one of the main reasons I’m still here! Testament to this is that I’m still in touch with almost everyone that has worked here within the last 10 years. Our work ethic has always been to work hard and play hard. I no longer have the stamina to work or play quite as hard as I used to but we’re a tight team that never fails to support one another in a crisis.

2. Apple iPhone

New iPhoneI got my first iPhone towards the end of 2007 and it was a life changer! Like most designers, I’m an Apple devotee and would never consider a phone by anyone else. All my tech is Apple and with the introduction of Adobe Creative Cloud, everything talks to each other which is an absolute dream.

3. Technology

As technology continues to change at a mind-blowing pace, it’s not surprising that graphic design has evolved right along with it.

Thanks to faster, more powerful computers and faster internet, we expect our graphics to be higher quality, higher resolution and more immediate.

With computers, you are free from linear thinking. The fixed progression from thumbnail to full layout giving way to a constantly evolving on-screen design. The printout of a design at any given stage is just a copy of the growing concept inside the computer. A design never reaches a truly final stage; it’s always open for improvement.

Is this good? I think so. Technology often is criticized for taking us further from the natural order of things. But in my experience, technology brings us closer. Today, designing can be more organic and free flowing than it ever was with paste up and marker visuals. With such a low barrier to entry, there’s more bad advertising than ever. But there’s also more good advertising than ever.

And the technology we have created and with which we create is also hard at work creating us. We have become like our work, ever changing and evolving. Where will it end? It won’t. Change has become the only constant.

4. Social Media

It’s hard to imagine life without social media now. Nine years ago, I first logged onto FB without an inkling of how social media was going to impact on both my social and working life. We now work with social media a lot and use all of the channels to promote our work, business and gain new contacts so it’s really important for me to understand the process. I even took a diploma in Social Media Marketing last year!

I’ve discovered that I’m rather in love with Pinterest and Instagram!

5. Websites

10 years ago, we did a bit of website design but never touched the build. Back then it was a black art, web builders sat in dark rooms, worked strange hours and spoke another language that us designers couldn’t understand a word of.

The technology has thankfully progressed and web builders and designers are now much more collaborative. Last year I even built my own website, I never thought that was something I’d be able to do!

6. Habits

It’s amazing what you learn about the people you work with. There’s the obvious, like how everyone likes their tea or coffee. Mine’s a white tea with none thanks and I’m not very good at making a round… sorry guys!

Then there’s the less obvious:

  • Tim disappears upstairs every morning at 10am to eat an orange.
  • Kirsty always waits until just before lunch to put her face on, how she leaves the house without it I’ll never understand!
  • Adam goes to bed between 9 and 10pm but is up at the crack of sparrow every day. Tom on the other hand is not a morning person and struggles in at 9.30am but will be found still at his desk well into the evening.
  • Margaret is unbelievably skinny considering the amount of chocolate and cake she consumes. Adam however, takes the office sweet tooth crown.
  • Ben orders his chicken from Muscle Food which is delivered to the office and gives us all a giggle as he packs 2 boxes of chicken into his rucksack before skateboarding home.
  • Claire must have a scarf in every colour of the rainbow and beads to match.
  • Paula’s mum should be on bake off and supplies us with the most amazing cakes. Dieting here is impossible!
  • Rhys knows every shade of Farrow & Ball, his favourite being Downpipe.
  • Me? I’m known for having deliveries on at least a weekly basis and it’s been internally debated whether I have shares in Amazon!

7. Client catch phrases

Goodwood day outI’ve heard them all, here’s a few that spring to mind:

‘We haven’t finished the copy but can you design a draft?’
‘Can you put it in a format that we can edit?’
‘I think I’ll know what I want when I see it’
‘You’re the expert’
‘Can you put it back to how it was’
‘Can’t you just press a button?’
‘Too much white space’
‘We need it tomorrow’
‘We want it the same but different’
‘Can we just make it pop a little?’
‘Something like this but not this’
‘Is that enough for you to be getting on with?’
‘Great job!’

8. Family

I became a mum 5 years ago and my life changed forever. In my year off on maternity leave I realized I could never be defined as simply a mum, I was a designer first. It’s at the core of who I am and how I interact with the world around me. I couldn’t wait to get back to work!

Interestingly though once I was back at work motherhood changed how I approach work and the hours that I devote to it. It’s a constant internal battle of priorities which creates a lot of guilt. I’m sure every working mum will understand what I’m getting at.

9. Life as a designer exists post 40

Fancy dressI remember saying and thinking that being a designer is much like being a footballer. Hit your 40s and you get put out to pasture or worse still, into management. A recent blog by Design Week quoted only 10% of all designers as being over 40!

It’s been a relief to discover that my creativity hasn’t dimmed and is still shining brightly!

Thanks to regular trips to London and the power of social media, I’m able to keep in touch with the latest trends. I think it’s only when you start to lose touch with what’s current then your designs will obviously start to date and look tired.

10. The Future

The future is largely what you make it, I’ve learnt that I control my future, no-one else. I’ve had lots of big plans, some have come to fruition, some are still work in progress and many have been forgotten!

As long as I don’t have that sick Sunday evening feeling and still enjoy being with the people I’m working with I’ll be staying put for the time being… It’s empowering to realize you’re in a place because you choose to be.