A Gruesome Initiation

This week marks 6 months since I started at Squiders, and the end of my probationary period! I haven’t really documented my experience so I thought I’d take the opportunity to log a journal entry.

The first thing I’ll address is how I’ve adjusted to no longer having an active designing role. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly and a couple of people had me questioning what I was doing at the time. Thankfully, the past few months have only confirmed that I made the right choice – I’ve let go quite easily in fact. Still, I also know I wouldn’t be happy to  completely divorce myself from an inspiring working environment. Observing the design process and being passionate about what we’re working towards has kept me happy and motivated.

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Photos from Kris’ twitter and the Squiders website 🙂

When asked “why the change of heart?” I’m still not entirely sure what to say. I suppose in later interviews I realised that I felt more dread than excitement at the idea of committing to design. The parts of the creative process that had me constantly doubting myself too often took away from the enjoyment of it all. Despite my achievements at uni telling me otherwise, I didn’t really have enough belief in my abilities to push past that. I now find being creative on my own terms a lot more enjoyable. I may have lost the right to call myself a designer but no one can take my degree away or the experiences I had. I’d still like to be able to share my thoughts here and feel that what I have to say is valid. Heck, some of the most respected figures in industry are known more for writing about design than creating it, right? My blog is a great no-pressure platform for me to document any thoughts and personal projects, so I’ll certainly be keeping it up.

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The irony of ending up in web design is also not lost on me. My classmates will remember how I stood up for my final presentation and professed my love for Print Design. My first ‘real’ exposure to digital was a month long placement in the summer of my second year. Responsive design blew my mind a little bit (still does!). However, I decided to give it a second chance when I was searching for roles on the research side that didn’t require me to have these skills. In some ways it has made sympathising with clients easier too, as I have often been learning things along with them! While I haven’t been there to learn about digital design I’ve picked up a fair amount just from sitting in on client meetings and hearing the rationale behind certain decisions. It’s certainly opened my eyes to everything I was doing wrong when I mocked up webpages during my degree. But that’s another blog post in itself. There’s a lot I really love about web design now – how easy it is to make changes and directly see how they have an impact on performance. As nerdy as it is, on a couple of occasions I’ve actually enjoyed putting reports together that illustrate this to clients. (Not just because the data proved we were right the first time). Research was something I loved at University and I’m happy I’ve been able to explore it further here.

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As with any job, the first few weeks were the most challenging. Especially since I was taking on a role that didn’t yet exist until I came along. Naturally it took a while for me to feel useful and like I was actually earning my place. Now I’m fully settled in and zombified. You can read my article which explains a lot of what I do here. I know there is still plenty of room for improvement as I continue learning, so I’m excited to see where the next 6 months take me…

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