We kick off our Junior Q&A Series with Jeannie Burnside, Junior Designer at Dow Design.
Jeannie graduated from Whitecliffe in 2014 and while studying she did three internships with Bauer Media, Saatchi Design Worldwide and Studio South. After graduating she freelanced for Strategy Design and Advertising and developed a handful of her own clients. She also approached Portfolio to help her search for a suitable permanent position. Jeannie was clearly a standout junior designer with a fantastic work ethic. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she was snapped up by Dow Design late 2015.
In five words, can you describe what your role at Dow Design is like day to day!?
Inspiring, diverse, innovative, fun, busy
How has your first full time design job differed from your previous expectations?
As a fresh junior I had expectations of spending hours filing, image searching and making copy changes to docs (doing the grimy hard yards that juniors are expected to do). Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst mentality.
Dow delivered BIG-TIME on the ‘best’. From the moment I started I was right in the trenches working on a very exciting new national client that offered big creative opportunities. I instantly knew that Dow was where I was meant and wanted to be. I cannot thank Annie Dow (Managing Director), Donna McCort (Creative Director) and the Portfolio Recruitment team enough for giving me the opportunity to demonstrate that I was more than just a ‘portfolio’.
What is the most rewarding thing about your role?
Dow Design’s portfolio of clients is extraordinary and very diverse. I feel so incredibly privileged to be designing for such clients and to work alongside and learn from the talented close-knit team we have.
It makes such a difference being in a role where you are mentored and cared for (not just a dog's body), I’m not talking having your hand held through a project but having your superiors trust you to get a job done and genuinely value your opinion. That would have to be the biggest piece of advice I’d give to any passionate and ambitious design student – find a position where your employers care about you professionally and as a person.
How have you grown since leaving Uni? And did you feel prepared for the real world when you graduated?
I cannot praise Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design enough for the preparation and opportunities they provided me with. With projects structured around tight timeframes and having my conceptual thinking and design decisions challenged at every turn, gave me a tremendous head start in the transition process from student to professional.
That being said, you never stop being a student, just the environment changes. Other than my technical skills improving from sheer day-to-day practice and learning nifty tricks from the pros, the biggest development is my confidence in making design decisions – trusting those niggling instincts.
What advice would you give yourself now if you could talk to ‘five years ago Jeannie?’
Don’t fret too much; you are making the right decisions. Just keep working hard and be patient.
How has getting your first agency job changed your career focus?
It has confirmed my love of brand and package design. I had my doubts after graduating if I was heading in the right direction but they quickly faded away.
The belief Dow has in me is incredibly inspiring and motivating. I want to make them proud and deliver top results for our wonderful clients. Onwards and upwards.
Do you have a favourite blog or website you love to spend time on or get inspiration from?
I have three current favorites: Hey Studio http://heystudio.es/
Socio Design http://sociodesign.co.uk/
And locally Makebardo http://www.makebardo.com/
I am also absolutely fawning over Ken Lo’s work. Ken designed the stunning certificates for The Dieline’s – Concepts We Wish Were Real competition last year. Can’t wait to get mine up on the wall.