I was asked to write about my career so far
And I enjoyed the introspection. So here it is again!
From Typography to Service Design
My degree was a mixture of Maths, Statistics, Design Communication, and typography. I was lucky enough to be abke to move around to satisfy both my analytical and creative sides.
I worked in various agencies for the next few years, often in hybrid roles as a ‘creative technologist’, working between traditional advertising creative teams (think Mad Men) and development teams. My role was mainly to influence people to push their ideas to be as good as they could be.
I moved on from advertising to work in a publishing company in order to get a better understanding of content. I had a role that was user experience focused, trying to balance the needs of the business with the needs of the customers.
I joined M&S in mid 2013 as a designer in the newly formed Labs team. It was an amazing opportunity to learn as much as I could in a short period of time. I’d always been more interested in the early stages of projects — product discovery, research and early prototyping. We were rapidly researching, developing and testing new product ideas, so Labs was the perfect team in which I could use all the skills I had learned.
I design products for people
I now work across several teams within M&S.com and try and get involved with as much as I can. I’m currently focussing on customer and staff experiences in store, which is a great opportunity to use the generalist skills I have developed — we take products from research through to design (UX and UI), prototyping, testing and evaluating.
I spend a lot of my time running creative workshops to try and make everything we create as exciting as I can.
Working with Smart people
The main thing I enjoy at any position is learning from people, and there are lots of incredible people to learn from in my current role. I get a lot of exposure to all kinds of people from across the business. Some days I will be spending time with the designers of our clothes, and the next I could be working with the store staff to improve the fitting room experience.
I have the space to learn new things and am always developing my skills — whether they are technical, design or anything else. Everyone you meet has an interesting story.
Learn as much as you can
I have found there are zero downsides to being a generalist as a designer. The opportunities that learning to code, for instance, have opened up for me have been very exciting. I keep a very open mind when the chance to try something new comes up and will very rarely decline.
Also, it’s important to spend time investing in people. I have made some great friends from everywhere I’ve worked. People are so happy to talk to you about their experiences if you are happy to listen, and you never know what someone might be able to teach you. At work, I have found it best to always be open and honest and helpful with everyone I meet.
Mentoring is the best
The most satisfying time I have had at work has been working with junior team members and see them develop. I enjoy helping people both professionally and personally and am very proud to see the things others have gone on to achieve. I love passing on the things other people have taught me.
I’m also very proud of the jobs I have turned down. It’s really important to me to be able to say I am proud of where I work and the work I’m doing, and my values are very important to me. I’m glad to have never taken a role that didn’t feel right.