What does your position entail?
My main role is to turn customer's artwork into print ready and digitized designs for print & embroidery. This involves creating artwork for single colour vinyl transfer, multi-colour digital print transfers, along with film transparencies for screen printing. For customers requiring embroidery and applique, I digitize artworks using Wilcom Embroidery Studio to create a stitched design which will run efficiently and to a high standard on the embroidery machines. I create and send comprehensive proof sheets to clients for approval before artworks are processed to the production team.
As a Senior Designer, I am responsible for organising the daily work whilst supporting other members of the team. I communicate on a daily basis with clients to ensure I am working towards their brand guidelines and requirements, and also communicating closely with production to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Is this a job area you have always wanted to go into?
Yes, I always wanted to work within the textile sector and the skills I developed at university left me with a wide range of experience allowing me to work towards my goal.
Before going to university, I was unsure about which area of design I wanted to specialise in, therefore I chose a course which would allow me to explore a number of areas before focusing on one main topic in my final year.
How did you get your job?
I applied for my role online through a recruitment agency, who arranged an interview with Banana Moon due to my experience within the industry.
I took examples of my previous work and my most up to date CV. After a really good discussion about the role they actually offered me the job there and then!
What have you learned working in your role?
In the past three years at Banana Moon I had developed advanced skills using creative design software programs and machinery.
Some examples are listed below:
- CorelDraw Graphic Suite X8
- Wilcom Embroidery Studio
- Ioline 300 Applique Cutter
- Roland Versacamm and vinyl cutters
Using these programs, I am able to prepare artwork for production and digital output, editing designs to run more efficiently and cost effectively, whilst maintaining a high quality finish.
In my earlier days at Banana Moon, I worked closely with how the designs were being inputted through onto our website. This gave me a vital understanding of how the customer interacted with our e-commerce platform. It meant I was able to spend time working within the content management system of the website to see how it works, but also to really understand our clients and the type of design requirements they have. I could then work with our web development team to tidy up any issues and make improvements to our system.
Doing all of this, I have learnt how to build strong relationships with colleagues and clients, providing training to new members of the team, as well as prioritising my own workload and deadlines.
What is your working environment like?
Creative working environments are generally quite relaxed and at Banana Moon we have monkeys in space suits and pictures of the moon all around the office! There's not many work places which allow employees at bring their dogs to work, but at Banana Moon we have three doggy members of staff! There's Alfie the spaniel, Fergus the Cockapoo and Meg the westie - they all bring their own little ‘bark' of character and fun to the team. There is no set uniform allowing everyone to express themselves, this keeps the work place fun and allows our artistic side to show.
We're pretty excited that over the next few months we will be involved in implementing our own ‘creative hub' area for our department in a brand new office fit-out, which will give us much more free space and a contemporary environment for us to take the business forward creatively.
How have Banana Moon helped you progress?
Through Banana Moon I have been to textile workshop seminars with our vinyl supplier to gain a better understanding of new techniques and the latest materials on the market.
I have also been sent on training courses with Wilcom Embroidery to understand the program and develop my digitization skills. I have had one to one training from both my manager and director to develop my skills to a more advanced level and to ensure consistency in our work. I have spent time with our production departments, understanding how to edit my embroidery designs to run more efficiently on the machines.
Because my role allows me to work with all of the other departments, it has enabled me to become a much more rounded member of the team. Understanding things like our website working and pricing but also wider business needs such as negotiating with other departments to ensure an order will still be completed despite challenges, and retaining the strategic business goals in mind when completing work to tight deadlines or keeping an order to a specific cost.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the textile industry and how the industry is developing. I like to keep up to date with current trends and competitors. The one thing that really inspires me and keeps me on my toes is that in design there is always something new and exciting to learn, the software is always being developed and new techniques are consistently appearing on the market.
I get huge pleasure from seeing the completion of my jobs and receiving nice feedback from happy customers.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years' time, I hope to be a project manager where I will be responsible for coordinating a design team. As a design manager, I will have developed the team around me using my experience and innovation to create the highest standards of work and the strongest team possible.
What would you say to a student who would like a creative career but has no idea how to turn their skills into a career?
It can be very confusing as the creative industry is so diverse, and you will probably find that the skills you have can be applied to a number of roles in different ways. I would research different roles which match your skills to get a better understanding of which job titles excite you. Always believe in yourself and your designs and a company will believe in you. Show passion, enthusiasm and always stay positive.
Do you have any advice for students who are looking for a similar position?
I did a lot of work experience/voluntary work during and after my degree, this helped me to prepare for the real world and develop my knowledge. It also looks good on your CV and gives you something to talk about at interviews.
From doing this you may find other opportunities arise which help you gain more skills and connections within the creative world, as well as enjoying something new and exciting. You never know a job opportunity may be around the corner.