A day in the life of a visual designer

When I first thought about what my typical day looks like as a visual designer at TELUS digital, I realized there was no such thing as a typical day. Activities in a day range between spontaneous collaboration sessions at my desk, attending UX design reviews, three-day all team events, providing visual QA, designing accessibility logo stickers, to transforming a sketch for a redesign into visuals. Every day is different. It keeps me on my toes and makes coming into work fun.

Always be learning

Before TELUS digital, I worked at a digital advertising agency and earned my undergraduate degree from the York University/Sheridan College joint program in design. I specialized in print design, but it was difficult to find a job after graduation. So I went back to school for web design and it was the best decision I ever made! Working in the digital industry has taught me that things are always changing. To stay up-to-date, I read up on the latest trends, attend conferences such as Fluxible, and enroll in courses like HTML/CSS & Responsive Design at HackerYou. Am I a nerd? Maybe, but I think to survive in this industry, you have to be one. And that’s no bad thing.

Team effort for the win

My journey so far has been enlightening. Before joining this team, I thought my role as a visual designer was to “make things look pretty” and wait for feedback. While part of my main job is to take an idea and bring it to life using appropriate typography, colours, icons or imagery, TELUS digital opened my eyes to the world of user experience, development, analytics, accessibility and quality assurance. I’ve learned how important it is for all these disciplines to come together in order to create the best possible experience, visually and functionally, for the user.

Collaboration is everything here, and is the reason I’ve learned so much. With our cross-discipline teams, we all pitch in and own a project together, instead of dumping the responsibility on one person. Recently, working on a major campaign, I was asked to completely redesign a page layout within a tight timeframe. Instead of waiting on me to redesign it overnight, the copywriter, project owner, developer, director and even stakeholders crowded around my desk, brainstorming ideas for a new layout. That’s when the magic happened, and the reason we succeeded as a team. This happens a lot here, and every single time it amazes me how much passion and dedication every team member has for the work they do.

First impressions count

Some of the many things that keep my work day atypical are: working away on visual mockups for desktop, tablet and mobile views, searching for that perfect critter to represent a real-life situation (it’s harder than it sounds, but they’re so cute to look at!). I could be in a sketching session for a redesign, pitching ideas. You could find me sitting down with a front-end developer or a quality assurance analyst, looking into the CSS, providing feedback as to what needs to be fixed visually. Or I could also be presenting a project in UX design review, where our team of talented interaction designers, visual designers and copywriters provide feedback.

My favourite part? Playing around with our colour palette, image library, patterns and typography. Nothing beats the first impression that visual design makes and it’s my job to make it memorable. To entice someone enough to go through the whole experience or to read that banner copy. It’s about quality and speaking to someone on an emotional level using harmony, contrast, balance, scale, movement, alignment and hierarchy — all while staying consistent to our brand. Visual design can be subjective, but it’s definitely a challenge to find that happy medium and this is what keeps it exciting for me.

Originally published at labs.telus.com.

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