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What does it take to be a designer at an agency?

Getting Started: What does it take to be a designer at an agency?

Photo of Gavin Coleman, design manager at EMC Design

By Gavin Coleman, Design Manager, emc design

Do you want to be a designer at a design agency? Gavin Coleman joined emc design as a junior designer 11 years ago and has progressed within the company to become a Design Manager. Gavin has fully deserved his success through his hard work, creative ability and commitment to the company. For anyone thinking about applying to emc design's graduate scheme we thought it would be useful to interview Gavin so you can find out a bit more about us and what it’s like to be a designer for emc design.  

What’s your background in design?

After taking my A levels and completing a Foundation Art and design course at Bedford College, I went on to study Typographic design at Watford, West Herts College. And from here I got my first design job as a junior designer at DFA Design in Berkhamsted. There I spent a year before moving on to emc design.  

How would you describe your style?

I would say my style has evolved a lot over the years, studying typography I was heavily influenced by the Swiss Style (I didn’t stray too far from Helvetica and Univers and some might say I still don’t!) but I think I take in a lot more different influences from a wider range of things these days, not taking myself too seriously.

How long have you been at emc?

I joined emc in 2005 and have spent 11 years moving up from a junior designer to design manager. I am now responsible for a number of projects, dealing with clients, as well as managing my great team of designers.

What do you enjoy most about the work?

I enjoy being creative, both individually and working with a wide range of designers with different styles and influences. Having people/clients comment how happy and impressed they are with what we have done is very satisfying.

How has working at emc helped you to develop as a designer?

The wide range of books and materials we work on has helped me develop in different areas, whether it's working on primary material for the younger age range or on more sophisticated older age range material. It’s also helped me to become more structured and efficient in how I work.

What have been some of your favourite projects to work on and why? 

OUP Explorers stands out as it was a long project with ups and downs but I found it one of the most rewarding. It was one of my first projects that had an important project management role as well as having key production responsibilities. I enjoyed working on the FIFA World Cup 2014 books we designed and produced, but that could be because I’m a big football fan. Designing books about sport is pretty much my dream job!

Is there anything else that you want to say about emc that someone joining would like to know about – good or bad?

It’s a different challenge to the type of design work that I had worked in previously. Initially, after some uncertainties regarding the type of work emc did I started to appreciate the variety of different tasks I got to work on day-to-day. This still remains the same today.

This post originally appeared on emc design's blog in June 2016.