Career pathways: Designer

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Q. Who are you?
I’m Ian and I work in a design department, I’m kind of Jude’s right-hand-man, I deal with all the exhibitions and design the 3D element, the 2D stuff, posters, everything like that, that’s what I do.
Q. Who do you work with?
It’s a nice one because we do get to work with near enough everyone, there’s nobody we don’t hang out with at some point or another, if something needs designing, or someone needs our help with stuff over the road, so if there’s a caption that falls off, we’re the lucky ones who put it back up, but on the other hand we’re picking the fonts and everything for exhibitions, so I like it a lot.
Q. How does the team work?
I think there is a thing that everyone comes together at the gallery because there’s a shared ambition, there’s a shared passion for the gallery. What we do really shows in that kind of ambition for the gallery and their ambition for themselves. So we all really get on. There’s not too many people so it’s quite close knit, and there’s no real stinkers at all, it’s great.
Q. How did you get into it?
It’s a long, winding path that I’ve taken. I started off as a, I worked at a Jiffy garage, I was a curtain fitter for a while, I was a shop fitter. Then I met my beautiful wife who said, “you could do better than that.” So she encouraged me to go to college. I did an HND in surface design screen printing, and loved it so much that I thought, “This is the life for me.” Then I wangled a place on an illustration course at Middlesex, that was three years, so finished that. Then we had a baby, so I thought I’d better get a job. So I worked in a pub for a bit, which is obviously not exactly what I wanted to do, and then went for an interview at the British Museum, which was office junior. So I got stuck in, and worked as hard as I could, and I worked my way up from there, learnt as I worked, not at college. I did illustration, so there was elements of graphics, but it came together a lot more from learning on the job. I got kidnapped from the design department, to the web department, was, like, web master, which doesn’t sound very good but that’s what they called it. I got a bit fed up with that because it was just me stuck in a room for most of my life. But then job opportunities came up here, and then Bob’s yer Uncle.
Q. What do you get out of it?
I just love it! I’m a sad, lonely old man, but I love it, I love the people who work here, I love how I get to learn about artists I’ve never heard of on a regular basis. So it’s not just portraits, it’s the people, it’s everything – it’s the tip of the top.
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