Next up in our Q+A series is our design team superstar, Amy Lambert. With a talent for creating eye-catching assets such as infographics, print brochures and web pages, Amy is responsible for making clients' ideas stand out visually.
Amy arrived at our offices as a Splitpixeller in 2015 with an interesting past that includes two years in Australia and a year in New Zealand, a law degree and other things we'll only find out when her guard is down.
On a rare day she wasn't too busy, we managed to put her on the spot with some impromptu questions about design.
Hi Amy! So, what attracted to you to graphic design?
I always loved drawing when I was younger, and art and graphics were my favourite subjects at school. Graphic design just seemed like the logical route for me to do something creative as a career.
I actually ended up studying law at University instead, because I was good at it and it seemed like the more sensible option at the time, but several years of working and travelling later I still found myself interested in design so I decided to give it a go! I studied a three-month intensive course in Manchester before I started working at Splitpixel, which is my first job in design.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up at around 7:30am, grab a coffee and some breakfast and then catch the bus into work. I usually read my Kindle on the way so I’ve made it through quite a few books in recent months! I’ve just finished Animal Farm.
Once I’m at my desk, I start by checking my emails and tasks and figuring out what I need to get done that day. I usually try to do all the smaller tasks first, like sourcing images or creating social media assets, and then move on to bigger projects, like designing a website homepage or creating an infographic - anything that’s going to take a bigger chunk of time. Generally, I’m doing something different every day, which is nice!
What are you most looking forward to work-wise?
I'm looking forward to having time to revisit our own branding - we've had some new faces join the team and a lot of work for different clients so it might be time to give it some love and a new, fresh take. It'd be nice to have another big project like we’ve had with Sodexo recently, because a lot of the team were working together on the same tasks, and it was nice to see our hard work pay off for the client.
How is design changing, in your opinion?
That's a tricky question because I've not been doing it too long. In general? In terms of digital, technology is always changing and there are always new devices appearing, which means there is a lot more to be considered in terms of the functionality of the design. What works great on one platform might not work on another, for example, but it can also open up opportunities for concepts you may have not originally considered.
Every year, there are always trends that come in and people love. I know big bold background images are still really popular at the moment, and there are a lot of innovative things out there currently like cinemagraphs and other animations, that seem to be moving more into the mainstream.
Custom or hand-drawn graphics are also quite popular, and there are plenty of digital designers who are making great and interesting alternatives to stock images in order to stand out from other brands. So, I think we'll see more and more original content in web design.
What's it like working with our designer Rob on projects? What have you learned from working together?
When I first started, it was great having Rob around to see his process for designing a website, and how he translated ideas onto the screen. As I came to Splitpixel straight from studying design (where a final concept could happily just stay as a flat image that never needed to be built), it was good to see how things worked in the real world, and the considerations you have to think about from the developer's perspective.
We don’t often work together fully on projects, but we sit next to each other in the office so it’s always handy for getting a second opinion on the work that we do, and for throwing ideas around if we get stuck.
How do you come up with concepts for your projects and what's your process for developing ideas?
When I get a brief for a new project, the first thing I would do is a brainstorm or wordmap to try and generate some keywords to work with that relate to the brief. Usually the client has provided a few ideas of how they want their website to look, so that’s a good starting point, but to try and get some new ideas it’s sometimes good to look beyond that.
Then I would do some visual research to see what else is out there that I might be able to draw inspiration from – I look at a lot of different things, not necessarily websites, or things from the same industry. I might even put a moodboard together, depending on the size of the project. After that it’s time to get out the sketchbook and draw some rough ideas on paper before working up a final concept on the computer.
What's the biggest risk you've taken in design, and what did you learn from it?
I think my biggest risk was actually taking up design in the first place! I was working at Leeds University as a training and development coordinator and to pursue design as career meant I had to quit my full-time job there. It taught me not to be afraid to do something I am passionate about, and it can pay off.
What question do you think clients should ask when they want an agency to design a website/brand/product?
They should ask to see the portfolio of the agency's work if they haven't done already, and see some examples of companies and brands that are in a similar industry to them. They should ask questions that determine whether the agency is right for them, rather than just "can you do it?" So, for example, ask why that agency is interested in taking on the project, and then based on their response you'd be able to gauge if they are genuinely keen to be working with you.