As part of our spotlight on graphic design this month, we have been speaking to our team of designers and finding out more about the themes and motivations which underlie the bespoke designs they create. Today I spoke with Graeme Cruickshanks who has been with us for nearly two years now.
How did you first become interested in graphic design?
“After initially wanting to become an Architect while at college, my art teacher recommended that my style of art may be more suited to that of the quirkier and more expansive nature of graphic design. So after viewing the graphic design course end of year show I decided that this was something I wanted to pursue and duly applied for a place on that course.”
What route did you follow to become a graphic designer?
“I started my journey into the industry by completing a BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design. After two years on that course I moved on to studying at university where I had a number of work experience placements at local design agencies, giving me a good insight into how the industry works while allowing me to see an established and experienced graphic designer working at close quarters.
“To help build up a portfolio, I set myself up as a freelance graphic designer which helped me to establish links with a local printing company who often passed paid design work my way. This allowed me to work with actual real live clients along with the pressures and time deadlines that come with it. After a couple of years doing freelance work, I decided to pull everything I had done together into a strong portfolio which would enable me to apply for jobs within the industry.”
Where does your inspiration come from when creating designs?
“My ideas for graphic design often come subconsciously from things I see in everyday life, experiences and visualisations I see which stick in mind and influence my thought process further down the line. I regularly look through design magazines and graphic design blogs to make sure I’m up to date with how trends within design are changing and also freshen up any thought processes I might have underway.”
What processes do you follow when working with customers on graphic design?
“Before I start bespoke graphic design I feel it’s important to talk through any ideas the client may already have while at the same time understanding the feel and look of their corporate branding that is already in place.
“Once a starting point has been established I will then brainstorm and jot down initial thoughts and ideas that come to mind when visualising how I think the artwork will progress. From that point I will initially put together a range of design concepts based around my ideas and the brief set by the client which are then forwarded onto the client for their input and feedback.
“Often this initial process gives the client fresh ideas themselves and any feedback they have is then translated into amended artwork, after which allows minor tweaks to be made until the final complete artwork is signed off and sent to production.”
Is there any design you are particularly proud of after working in the industry?
“The graphic design that I’m proudest of was a recent client I had named Lightning Transformations. It was one of the rare occasions where the client gives you complete free reign on the look and design that they wanted. This enabled me to really showcase the different strengths I have as a graphic designer, bringing together a lot of the knowledge and skills I have learned over the last few years and portraying it into the final completed artwork.”
What kind of graphic design work would you love to be doing in the future?
“I think the majority of graphic designers at some point would love to be a part of a design team in charge of the complete rebranding of a big blue chip company. Setting their brand which they will carry forward into the future and allow their company to grow in a different direction that they had previously had. This level of design comes with immense pressure and is most definitely the acid test for a graphic designer.
“Also recently I have designed the graphics for my friends racing car, this is something I would love to do at a higher level for an established racing team. I think seeing your design racing around a track on TV would be quite surreal.”