“What do you want to do when you’re older?”
This is a question you are slapped in the face with half way through high school and you’re expected to know the answer. I never did.
What I did know was, from a young age, I had always enjoyed using my imagination. The fields and forests of my rural hometown, Galashiels, were the perfect environments to unleash my crazy imagination as a kid. With a stick in hand, I travelled to foreign lands battling dragons and goblins but I was always back home in time for dinner (I was clearly a cool kid).
My Grandad was a keen artist during my early childhood and would always have fancy drawing pencils and sketchbooks lying around. I watched him turn a piece of paper into a beautiful landscape using his imagination and this fascinated me. My Grandad inspired me to leave my life as a dragon slayer behind, put down my sword/stick and pick up a drawing pencil.
By doing this, I stumbled upon a new way to visualise my fantasy world. I saw the monsters come to life before my eyes on the paper and the sense of satisfaction from accurately expressing my ideas on paper was something that would drive me for the rest of my childhood and into my adult years.
Throughout school I continued to be motivated by lessons in which I could use my imagination to create something. These were usually the classes that attracted the “cool kids” looking for a skive but it was during my time in Art and Craft and Design that I found the most enjoyment. I ignored the class clowns looking for attention and got lost in my imagination. My creativity started to thrive and it was clear to me that my answer to “What do you want to do when you’re older?” was going to involve art in some way. Even then, there were still so many choices to be made.
With the words of that intense question swimming through my mind on repeat, filled with a mix of anxiety and the desire to make a spontaneous decision, I made a last-minute switch from Architecture application to a better suited Graphic Design for Digital Media course at University in the big city. This time was trading my pencil for a computer, the ultimate creative tool.
After a wild four years of partying… I mean studying hard at University, I successfully graduated and made my way into the world of design. It’s quite a daunting experience going into such a competitive field with very little experience. However, with determination and my mum’s encouragement (nagging) I was fortunate enough to land my first graphic design job in Glasgow.
A winding career path has led to some great highlights already, such as creating the digital prospectus for the amazing Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and working alongside MND Scotland on their quarterly print magazine that documents the great work the charity does. My personal favourite was when my app design for Document Scotland was included as part of an exhibition in Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Now, working for SNS Group, I hope to keep adding to that list and growing not only as a graphic designer but as an individual too.
So here I am! I’m older and I’m doing what I enjoy. In my years of adulting, after such hard work, it makes me proud to say I’m a graphic designer. Even if I have to keep explaining to people what that even means. Seriously, after multiple conversations explaining it in great detail, my Dad still has no idea what I do.