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Louise Kent, Senior Designer, jones knowles ritchie

4 min, 21 sec read
11:30 AM | 17 April 2015
by Adam Oldfield
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Senior Designer, Louise Kent answers a few questions about her career beginnings in design and on how you should present yourself to design agencies.

Describe your path to what you’re doing now

I studied fine art, design technology, psychology and english at A level.

When my A levels finished I completed a foundation diploma in art & design at Central Saint Martins where you spend a few weeks specialising in different areas of design before choosing a subject to specialise in for the rest of the year.

I enjoyed graphic design the most however the places were limited in this class and ended up being put in fine art moving image, which involved film and animation. I knew this wasn't for me but I had fun experimenting.

“From doing such a variety of placements in my second year this gave me a great understanding of the type of job I would want.”

I was accepted to do a degree in graphic design at Middlesex University where we had briefs exploring print, typography, advertising, illustration and branding.

In the 2nd year my tutor helped organise work placements for me at Sunday Times magazine (editorial design), Saatchi Design (branding), Springetts (packaging design) and Precedent Design (corporate branding). From doing such a variety of placements in my second year this gave me a great understanding of the type of job I would want and what to expect from the professional workplace - including real deadlines!

I enjoyed packaging design the most and did a second placement at Springetts in my 3rd year. I took this opportunity to direct my final briefs at uni towards branding and packaging to ensure my portfolio would be of interest and relevance to packaging agencies.

I was lucky to show my final degree work at D&AD'S new blood exhibition in Brick Lane, London just before I graduated and caught the eye of jkr through my display of packaging and quirky business cards. From here I went for an interview, completed a 4 week placement and I'm still here 4 & a half years later!

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day will start with stroking the studio cat (or moving him off my desk!) I will check my diary as I have different meetings to go to in a day. These can involve overseeing Junior Designers work who are working beside me on a brief or working with the artwork team who prepare our design work to be printed.

"I may need to visit some places around London to get inspiration for my project."

I will also have my own brief to work on, and I may have reviews with my design director or creative director on the progress of my project. Sometimes I leave the studio to visit clients to present our work or I may need to visit some places around London to get inspiration for my project. I like that days can be quite mixed!

Lunchtime is good too, especially in the summer where we sit on our balconies and watch the barges and tourists go along the canal!

How do you approach a design brief?

When receiving a brief I make sure I understand the task/ problem. Why are we being asked what we need to do? Once identifying the problem I can start to form a solution, an idea.

"I constantly check I am not going off track with my ideas and that they are focused but also are my solutions exciting, unexpected."

In helping me execute my idea I will look for inspiration, whether this is a visit to somewhere in London or books or blogs etc. I constantly check I am not going off track with my ideas and that they are focused but also are my solutions exciting, unexpected.

What do you look for in a designers portfolio?

In a designers portfolio I look for work that feels exciting and has an idea. Work that just looks cool without a meaning or purpose, doesn't show me they can solve problems through design. I would rather see 3-4 strong projects then 10 weaker ones.

"I would rather see 3-4 strong projects then 10 weaker ones."

I also expect to see branding/packaging examples too. Also the work speaks louder then words, quite a few students have mini essays below explaining their concept. No one reads it if its more then a few sentences and your work should do the talking and get the idea across!

What do you look for in a designers CV?

I find we don't normally look at CVs in design as it’s all about the portfolio of work. However if I am sent one I expect it to not be too wordy, just enough to get to the point and its great if someone manages to get a piece of their personality across too.

"I expect it to not be too wordy, just enough to get to the point.”

I expect the design to be considered, not in an over the top way but if its badly designed - that’s not a good start! 

What three websites do you get inspiration from?

Designspiration, Pinterest and a French blog called Merde! Petit-MaÎtre for more premium things.

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