Mark Roberts is a graphic designer working in the heart of the UK's creative industry – Soho. Constantly coming up with new design ideas in such a fast-moving, competitive scene can be hugely challenging – and rewarding.
What does a designer do?
A designer is responsible for taking a brief from the client and turning it into a visual form – from the posters you might see on billboards to brochures that come through the letter box. A designer is there to deliver a message with a visual impact.
What is actually involved in your job?
My role is to work alongside the creative director of the company – Blue Design – and come up with advertising campaigns, marketing information and websites. I am given different projects every day, so it takes a lot of time management skills and hard work to ensure all the work is completed on deadline to the highest possible standard.
There are lots of creative meetings to try and get everyone on the same wavelength. Much of my job is looking into current trends and design, and finding the best way of presenting the information we are given.
How do you take a design from idea to publication?
I talk through the brief with the creative director, who gives me as much information on the client as possible. I think about lots of ideas, and then work on them, using a computer and industry-standard creative design programs. The client feeds back on the designs and I alter them if necessary.
What have you been doing this week?
I am working on several different projects, including a job for a new logistics company. It's all about creating their branding and coming up with an advertising campaign for their launch. The company is being launched in around seven countries, so it all has to be translated into several languages. We have to understand what advertising is like in other countries, so we can create the maximum impact.
Who do you work with?
There are 30 people in the company, but the two main people I liaise with are the managing director and the creative director. I also spend a lot of time with clients, where we sit down and come up with lots of ideas together.
What is your workplace like?
Although the office is in London, I spend most of my time working from my office at home, where I have my visual libraries and countless photography books. Otherwise, I am in galleries, bookshops or parks around the area looking for inspiration.
What hours do you work?
The hours vary, depending on deadlines and how you manage your time, but generally I work about 40 hours a week. It's certainly not a nine-to-five job.
Do you need any special skills to be a graphic designer?
Yes – determination and a sense of humour. Art or design talent is essential, and you have to be able to delegate and work in a team. Also, you need to have the ability to come up with something new every day. It is very easy to stick to one style throughout your whole career.
What might you do in the future?
I'm interested in moving into digital and motion graphics.
Mark's route to his career as a graphic designer
- A levels in art, design technology and theatre studies.
- Degree in computer animation.
- Worked for the BBC as a graphic designer for two years.
- Went freelance
- Current job.
Mark's designer tips
- Keep up-to-date with design fashions and trends.
- Working in advertising can be very hectic at times, but the satisfaction of doing something the client likes makes it all worthwhile.
Graphic designer related jobs
- Multimedia designer
- Fine artist
- Exhibition designer
- Advertising account executive
- Advertising art director
Salary of a graphic designer
- Your salary will depend on the type and size of company you work for, but you might start on around £14,000 to £18,000.
- Experienced designers might earn between £19,000 and £35,000.
- Senior designers can earn more than £40,000.
How to become a graphic designer
- Most designers have a degree or an HNC/HND.
- You will also need to show employers a portfolio of your work.
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