I joined BPP as a freelance UI designer, and accepted their job offer as UI lead - responsible for my first team. The design team were great, sat within Brand and Content. They're a talented and impassioned group of people, that want to create bold work. I learnt so much about the power and value of a healthy and happy team, led by the brilliant Natalie Proctor. The challenge So much has shifted in the education space. People are much savvier on how they invest in their future. The biggest challenge we worked on, was how does a company attached with University status, move towards B2B education supplier - focusing more on how larger businesses up-skill?
Something isn't right. I’m looking at myself in the mirror. Outwardly, everything looks ok. With make up I look a bit more alive. But simple tasks. Walking. Wondering why my fridge looks hungover and encrusted. Simple things. All feel too much. Too hard. I’ve crashed. And I’ve landed somewhere I’ve never been before. It takes all my energy to walk to church. And when I get there all I can do is sit, rest while the worship music surrounds me. God, how did this happen? Why? One of the most undeniably, wonderful aspects of my life is my spiritual relationship. Loving God. It’s not popular or on trend. It’s considered a whole bunch of stuff - and sometimes, in other people’s view - plants me professionally in the zone of Narnia. But honestly. I don’t care. If only people knew the delight and ecstasy (read that as slow burn happiness, rather than short burst enthusiasm) of knowing the author of love Himself. I know it’s upheld me and changed me. I see life in an entirely new way.
Niche. Super niche. Of all the niches I find myself in, this one is a very snug fit. But I fit. I fitted right in and people spotted the fit. I got to meet some cool people through this community. #EmailGeeks. I changed a whole corporate’s creative approach to emailing. I was invited to pitch for Google and YSL. Clients I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near without Email Geekery knowledge. It sounds like an outrageous claim: I had the answer, to a problem that Google had created in one of their own products. But didn’t email die in 2002? It’s a staggeringly obvious question. Gary Vee describes this as the cat and mouse effect. In the 50s radio guys got nervous about selling ads when they were in competition with TV. Email at it’s peak (late 90s - early 00s, prior to AdWords) had a near 50% engaged audience. Email isn’t redundant, it’s just different now. Once upon a time it was the tailored feed, the curated view. Social is that now.
I created these illustrations back in 2012 for Curious Minds - an organisation dedicated to improving young people’s lives through great art and culture. I’m not a lettering artist or illustrator. Although I do have a soft spot and appreciation for both. UI/UX enables designers to tackle the everyday and common problems a product can solve. I love the impact on ordinary moments an interface can create. And the reaction - why hasn’t anyone done this before?! Great product design can solve invisible irritations that’s embedded into an industry. Monzo’s coin jar and round up features are a good example. These are made with flair and delight. Next time take your phone off silent when someone pays you.
I've just hit 40. I’ve had time out of my career, for the first time in a long time. I’m not in holiday mode. I’m having a break - devouring a lot of great podcasts, books and documentaries. In the background, there’s been a murmur that’s been crackling. It’s hissing up and not going away. A nag, a scratchy groove, a jarring comment within a conversation. I’m 40, and I’m meant to know what I’m doing right? What I’m building my creative career towards? Right this moment, how do I assuredly sell design skills - can I do that as a freelancer? Creativity & it's challenges are messy. Let’s say design is creative thinking. And creative thinking is basically problem-solving. I’m curious to know, what are the problems we gravitate towards solving as designers? I’ve asked this question to quite a few creative thinkers -
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Like freaking magic.