We’re delighted to introduce to you British graphic designer Ian Paget. Ian runs Logo Geek which specialises in branding and logo design - we love it. With experience in illustration, print design, mobile apps and identity design. Check out the first part of the full interview below!
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a graphic designer?
Ian: Full time I work as design director for a web design agency where I get involved with everything visual from logos and websites through to brochures and exhibition stands. In my free time I run Logo Geek, a freelance venture where I design logos, as well as run a social media community where I share the latest news and resources for likeminded designers.
My route into graphic design is a little unusual, but I’ll tell you the story as I feel some young designers may find it inspiring…
As a kid I loved art, so when it came to college education I focused on Art and Design related courses. At 18 the usual next step is to go to university, but due to circumstances at the time this wasn’t an option for me. I needed to find work, and was seeking something where I could use my creative skills.
"I FOCUSED ON ART AND DESIGN RELATED COURSES."
I found a job as a trainee print finisher working for a company that built exhibition stands. The role of a print finisher was to take printed rolls of paper, and use different materials and machines to turn the printed artwork into pop-up exhibition stands. Although I learned a lot in this job I knew it wasn’t for me, but fate pushed me to find a new direction in life…
At the time I rode a little 50cc moped to work. The company was 12 miles from my family home, and one day coming home a car pulled out in front of me and I hit it side on at full speed. I flew over the car, but thankfully walked away with only a few bruises. My bike however crushed to pieces and was a write off.
"ONE DAY COMING HOME A CAR PULLED OUT IN FRONT OF ME"
I couldn’t easily get to work, so I handed in my notice and searched for anything I could find. At the time a good friend worked in a warehouse at a medical company that was only 10 minutes walk from my house, so he got me an interview. It wasn’t really what I was looking for, but I went for it anyway as I needed a job.
I recall my interview being after hours, so it needed to be with one of the office directors instead of the warehouse manager. The interview went well… I explained that I wanted the opportunity so I could improve my communication skills within a team, and mentioned that I wanted to be a graphic designer. That turned out to be a good move… I got the job.
"I WANTED TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER."
After a few months I become a team leader, and gained a forklift truck license. I had expected this job to be only temporary, but after a few months the CEO passed me and asked “Is it correct you are good at drawing?”, so answered yes, and he continued walking. I later got called into the office, and was offered a 3 month trial working within their Product Support and Education team. They also asked me to draw something, which I painstakingly recreated in Microsoft Paint as I knew nothing else…
The job was mostly admin, but the team would occasionally create posters for the national sales team. The team would also draft out plans for literature that would be sent over to a freelance designer who would finish off the artwork. I was pretty terrible at the admin side of things, as I got nervous taking calls and was very shy. Thankfully I loved creating the posters and slowly gained almost all of the creative tasks.
"I WAS PRETTY TERRIBLE AT THE ADMIN SIDE OF THINGS."
Although I’d never used a mac, or any of the Adobe software at the time I found I was able to cobble things together with some guidance. The company was impressed with what I was able to do, so offered me the opportunity to have afternoon training sessions with the local print company. I came equipped with long lists of questions. I was so fascinated with everything, and was very keen to learn and develop my skills. I loved that I was learning how to design almost anything I could see in a magazine…
"THE COMPANY WAS IMPRESSED WITH WHAT I WAS ABLE TO DO."
After a few weeks I created the first internally designed piece of print ready literature, which was a big deal for the company at the time as prior to this it had always been outsourced – my involvement saved the company thousands. They eventually employed another young designer, and we slowly became a full-fledged design team. I had a lot of training, guidance and support in this role, and can’t thank them enough for the support they gave me.
I eventually moved on from this role, but it was the platform I needed to leap into more advanced design roles. That was 7 years ago and I have learned a lot since, but I don’t think I would be where I am now without this initial opportunity.
2. Was it always your dream to become a graphic designer?
Ian: Not quite. When I was a teenager I had ideas of working in movies, and liked the idea of being a set designer where I could make models, and create illustrations for sets, costumes etc.
Growing up I loved art and design. As a kid I enjoyed drawing and making things - thanks to this I frequently won competitions. It was art that I was passionate about, and what I was frequently given praise for. I knew I wanted to do something creative with my life but I wasn’t sure what that would be.
"AS A KID I ENJOYED DRAWING AND MAKING THINGS."
I was lucky that a career in graphic design literately fell on my lap. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and had the desire and passion to learn and develop my skills to thrive in that position.
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