Whitenoise is a creative design agency based in Northern Ireland, proud to shout about our team of skilled graphic designers, videographers, animators, project managers and more! No day is the same and every day brings something different to the table. But have you ever wondered what goes on behind our doors? Or what it takes to become one of our epic team?
In the first of our new 'An Interview with..' series, brand team leader and senior brand designer Kerrie gives us an insight into her world of branding and graphic design...
Kerrie, what inspired you to become a graphic designer?
I always loved drawing and making things from a young age. I loved comics and magazines. When I discovered ‘The Lettering Book’ in the early 90s it helped me learn how to marry type with images. It was my secret weapon for school projects. This game-changing book had so many fonts, awful when you see them now, but good enough for a school kid to copy or trace. I entered every design competition I could and was so thrilled when I won a prize in school assembly or my designs got shown on TV or printed in the newspaper.
I loved helping my Dad go through his catalogues of images to pick which ones would best illustrate what he was working on. He took me to the printers where I would either draw in reception on the massive sheets of paper they gave me or walk around the factory with him, learning about the printing process. There I met a graphic designer and realised that he did what I loved doing for a real grown up job. My mind was set.
How would you describe your approach to graphic design?
I see graphic design very much as problem-solving. I have a very methodical approach and a process that I always follow which keeps me focused. You might create a stunning piece of design candy but if you go rogue and the work has no meaning or real thought behind it then you haven’t solved the problem and the client will be disappointed.
What type of brief or project do you enjoy working on the most?
Anything to do with the arts is always a joy to work on and obviously an area I am passionate about. Being able to help promote the arts, which can be very underfunded, gives me a lot of pleasure.
What qualities do you think a person needs to become a graphic designer?
It is a labour of love so creativity needs to be in your bones. With hard work and the willingness to learn, everything else will follow.
What has been a memorable moment in your career?
Becoming studio team leader here at Whitenoise was a particularly proud moment for me. It was something I had been working hard towards so I felt a real sense of achievement in that.
What are your thoughts on specialisation versus generalisation (with regards to skills)?
These days when you create a brand and logo you need an understanding of how your ideas can animate, translate on a website, be used for social media or work with video footage. Without any knowledge in these areas you cannot contribute to creating a full brand experience, but you don’t have to be an expert in all of them. I think if you spread yourself too thin you will burn out and the quality of the work will suffer. Work out what that special thing is that you bring to the table, and then get really good at it. If you aren’t good at something then ask for help from someone who is - that’s what teamwork is all about. Work to your strengths but gain the extra knowledge and the right level of skills you need in other areas to show how your ideas can rolled out.
What influences are you currently fascinated by, and how do they feed into your work?
I am a big fan of the Nike brand. Everyone knows the marketing genius of Nike and how iconic their logo is, but I am particularly drawn to the campaigns they create through their collaborations. They remain true to the swoosh but constantly evolve by working with illustrators, artists, fashion designers, and animators from around the world, always keeping it bold and fresh.
Do you have any tips or tricks you can share with fledgling designers?
Remember when your work was put on the fridge as a kid? The fridge might now be a billboard but you should always work hard to get that same thrill. Keep learning and always ask questions.
I would encourage any designer to watch the series ‘Abstract’ on Netflix. It is a documentary series that follows the process of some of the best creative minds around. I find it fascinating to learn where people’s ideas come from. From Tinker Haddington who created the Nike Air Jordan 3 to Jonathan Hoefler who created a new typeface based on vintage watches, there is something for everyone here whatever your discipline. If this gets your blood pumping you know you are on the right track.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
My Dad always told me to do what I love and follow my gut. This advice has served me well.
What is your personal motto?
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” - Oscar Wilde
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