We caught up with SHINE’s Senior Graphic Designer Ian Westwater this week to discuss the process of getting into design and some exciting upcoming projects.

How did you end up in design? Where did you start?  

I always had an interest in drawing and technology, which ended up leading me down the route of a Construction Engineering course after leaving school. However, the technical drawing aspects were the only part that I enjoyed. 

After craving a more creative career path I explored a wide-ranging media course, that covered everything from television production to graphic design. This early introduction to type, layout and image creation made me realise how so many things from album covers, to film posters and packaging were all routed in the same principles. It made me aware that we’re surrounded by design and it could be a genuinely rewarding career path.  

From there I went on to do a degree in Visual Communication and eventually land my first junior role at a small start-up agency. Joining a small company had a steep learning curve as I was thrown straight into client-facing projects and quickly got a brief insight into how design studios operate. I always felt this was a good foundation for working in the industry and haven’t looked back since. 

What do you love about design work and being a designer?  

I like the endless possibilities that each project can have at the start of the process. The scope for how a project can end up looking and guiding that down a route that will work best for the client is a very rewarding part of the job. Seeing the final projects out in the wild after this process is always a good feeling. 

The industry is also extremely collaborative, which I really enjoy. As a student, it’s easy to think that one person does every aspect of a job from start to finish – when it’s almost never the case. Working and collaborating with the right people including illustrators, printers, developers, animators, or photographers is all part of the job I enjoy immensely. 

What projects have you enjoyed working on the most and why? What have you been proud of?  

As with most designers, I still take a huge amount of joy in working with beautiful print materials and finishes. Far from dying out, print can be seen as a display of craft and quality. For this reason, our recent work for Driftwood Spa and Newhall Mains have been projects I’ve really enjoyed seeing come to life. It’s always great to work with clients who know their customers will appreciate the value of print and the outcomes of those projects are something I’ve been proud to share. 

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to get into design?  

The design industry has such a massive range of possible career paths that you should be open-minded about finding the role that works for you. Try everything as a student and don’t be afraid to fail, even if it’s just to understand the different approaches and skillsets involved. And most importantly, don’t be an ****. 

Anything you are excited about coming up? 

We’re currently working with Crerar Hotels on a range of projects, including branding for their new Shore Spa at Loch Fyne. It’s been an enjoyable project to work on and includes some bespoke printed materials with a keen eye on sustainability, which we’re looking forward to sharing soon. 

If you’d like to learn a bit more about Ian and his work here at SHINE, click here.  


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