It's Dom's work anniversary today! Dom joined the Degree 53 design team a year ago and he's done fantastic work on many of our projects. To celebrate this, we've asked him a few questions about what his year has been like and what he enjoys about his role the most.
It’s been a year since you’ve joined Degree 53, what has it been like for you?
It’s actually flown by. It feels as though I was just here for my interview. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone in the company over the past year. I think my skills have improved massively by working directly alongside all the different teams. Everyone is always on hand to answer any questions I have. Sometimes, I don’t really feel like I’m going to work, almost like I’m back off to the design studio in uni. I think this is because of the really friendly, relaxed atmosphere we have where everyone just cracks on and has a laugh.
What are your best moments so far?
100% my best moment was fully leading the design work on my first project, which happened to be a full set of responsive sportsbook wireframes. I really got a chance to invest time into solving some challenging UX issues (along with the help of the design team) that only the gambling industry could throw at you. It felt so satisfying to solve these issues before moving onto delivering visual designs. It was so worth all of the design-related headaches to see the system we built come to life! That was the icing on the cake.
Also, I really enjoy pushing the Degree 53 brand further and further. There are always lots of internal jobs that pop up. There are always cool changes to new designs for our website. Often, I’ve been pushed beyond this, creating brand animations, exhibitions stands, office space designs, charity run t-shirts and lots of posters for our surprise payday lunches and socials! A personal fave are the new sets of icons on our Careers page.
How did you get into design?
I used to design comic books on my dad’s computer when I was 5 on Microsoft Word. But then I always loved Art and IT in school. I decided to study Graphics and Media at college, but felt like it was all very traditional and print-based. I was obsessed with gaming and apps throughout college. I heard about a course called Interaction Design at Northumbria Uni. It was there that I studied all things user research, user interface, user experience, experiential design, animation and prototyping. I just felt like it was an industry built around my interests.
What are your day-to-day tasks?
Hard to say, as the days can be quite different. Sometimes, I could be working on conceptual designs to help win pitches for new projects, or delivering discovery workshops with clients. Some days, I might just be scribbling out user journeys and designs before moving over to Sketch to work through them in more detail. I’ve recently been writing some UX reviews, which I find massively helpful. It allows me to understand clients, their needs and their competitors inside and out before I even think about designing. One daily task that never changes is that I always beat certain members of the team at Fifa during lunch!
How do you fit in with the rest of the design team?
Couldn’t ask for a better bunch! I think we all bounce off each other really well. I always feel like my opinion is valued within the team, and I always respect everyone else’s opinion when asking for feedback. I think that’s the key for us, designers. We all have different things that we consider important when working out designs, and it’s always good to get a mix of opinions before sending things off to clients. I appreciate the support I’ve received from the team so much over the past year, and I’m still constantly learning new things and from everyone.
What would you like to work on in the future?
I’d love to get a project that looks at some different level of experience, like motion tracking or VR/AR. I know there’s a lot of talk recently around Esports and Social Betting, which also sound like really exciting areas. We often get overseas clients - the team has worked on several projects in Asian markets and I’d love to work on one of those in the future, just to experience and design for a completely different culture. And as always, the more animations the better!
Where do you take inspiration from?
I follow a bunch of different accounts on Instagram, Dribbble & Behance, but sometimes, they can all feel a little bit ‘samey’. I think it’s good to keep up with the newest and most popular apps and sites to see how they innovate and keep users engaged. I try to go to museums and exhibitions where I can, and love checking the site Under Consideration to see the online design community rip the shreds out of the newest branding projects around the world.
What advice would you give to up and coming designers?
As nerve-wracking as it might be at the time, allow yourself to be pushed out of your comfort zone. That’s how I can feel myself growing as a designer. You only have to experience something once, then you can remember how to tackle the same issue in the future.
Also, you can learn a lot from everyone around you just by asking, and I think sometimes, the best designs you make are often a result of your worst.
And don’t be afraid to eat chicken nuggets at your desk while you work!
What are your hobbies?
I always like adventuring somewhere different on the weekends with my little pup George! I also enjoy watching new films and TV series, playing video games and representing the agency at five-a-side (badly).