How Did I Become A Graphic Designer?
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
I remember the first time my dad brought a computer home. It was a super old school laptop. I must have been around 6 years old. He let me stay up late and use MS Paint to draw a picture of a house and the next day printed it out and it brought home.
From then on I was hooked. I wanted to use a computer every chance I got (yes I’m old enough that I remember the time before people had computers at home!)
As a teenager, I was mad for MS Publisher. I’d make banners and posters and greetings cards and print off reams of my designs.
I made my first website aged 13.
As an older teen, I loved art & photography and then started making short films, which led me to pursue a degree in Film & Theatre (my other love). I loved the precision and rhythm and detail of editing films. I’d just get lost in the creative flow zone and feel so at peace there…
Above: Taking photos in Paris. I spend most of my early 20s behind a camera, trying to capture each beautiful moment around me.
However, the unreliability of the Film & Theatre industries was not for me… so I reevaluated my career path and focused on a career in Graphic Design.
Specifically, a degree in Interactive Digital Media.
Here I learned the foundation skills I needed and still use today: Training in industry software such as Adobe Photoshop; learning to understand the psychology behind design, semiotics & user experience; learning to code and develop basic programs and websites; learning to run a creative enterprise business; getting to be truly creative across a wide range of multimedia disciplines, while also starting to work on projects for real-life clients.
Example: My artwork was featured on the original Bristol Pound £B20 note. A copy of which was presented to the Queen and is now in several museum collections as far as Australia!
But one of the most important skills I developed was how to learn independently. So that if I don’t know how to create something, I can simply teach myself in a few clicks.
Ultimately I happily discovered that in design work, like film editing, I could find that creative flow zone I so loved.
After graduating I landed a job at Ignition as a Junior Designer and it was time to put all that knowledge into practice. I had to learn to be flexible, jump between projects, manage my time, learn new skills and processes at the drop of the hat… in the meantime getting to work for some really big-name clients.
Above: Just some of the amazing brands I got to work with during my time at Ignition.
Within a few years, I worked my way up to the role of Senior Multimedia Designer. My ability and confidence have grown and I am now considered an in-house expert in both design & user experience.
After having two children and enduring the Covid-19 Pandemic, I took some time to reconsider my priorities. I still loved design and enjoyed working for the big-name clients, but I felt like something was missing: the ability to be truly creative independently of someone else's brand.
Serendipitously, I was approached by a couple of friends who needed branding for their independent businesses and I agreed to help them out with creating their branding. I loved every moment of this process: bringing out their values and personalities visually, and seeing how happy and confident it made them feel to have such a high-quality, professional Visual Identity for their businesses.
And from there, my Neon Femme Design business was born!
As you can see, my journey was thorough, but most importantly also driven by passion and a love of what I do. And this has made me a highly-skilled designer.
So if you want to take your branding and business seriously, don’t waste your time hiring some unqualified, inexperienced “designer” on Fiverr. Hire a pro. Someone who not only knows what she’s talking about but also has years of experience putting it into practice… like me!