Women in Design: Big Up

Women in Design: Big Up

Every year on March 8th, women (and men) across the globe celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This International Women’s Day, we are looking at women in design, and are celebrating our fantastic female design force here at Oakwood.

We are incredibly lucky to have so much female creative talent in our studio. The commitment, originality and passion these designers give on a daily basis is second-to-none.

Introducing: Amy Stone

3D Design Manager

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  • Years in industry: 

17.

  • Who have been your female role models (these don’t have to be design related)? 

Zaha Hadid, mind-blowing architect.

  • When did you first become interested in design/How did you get into design? 

At school. Maths, Science and Design Technology seemed to be my thing. Thought I was going to be a Civil Engineer or Architect but kept saying that I want to progress with DT and no one could tell me what profession it was until I finally read through a career book that talked about Industrial Design. I went to a lecture to find out more that included an engineering drawing of a piece of pasta fusilli to demonstrate the level to which design could be detailed – I was hooked!

  • When and where do you have your best ideas? 

Not usually in the office! Walking or exercising seems to be the time when I can let my mind run free!

  • How would you describe your own personal design style? 

Ordered but random and usually heavily influenced on what I’ve been inspired by.

  • What interests/motivates you? 

New technologies and working out how we can utilise them. 

  • What is the best part of your job? 

Seeing the final products/installations.

  • Do you think women get the recognition they deserve in the industry? 

Yes.

  • What challenges do you think women face in the industry today? 

I believe all opportunities are up for grabs and we just need to reach out and take.

  • If you could give advice to young female designers, what would it be? 

Believe in what you are doing and take part in whatever opportunities come your way.

  • What does the future of creative industries look like to you? 

Exciting, especially with the new technologies that are on the horizon and the opportunities that this will bring to designers.

 

Introducing: Anina Yates

Graphic Designer

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  • Years in industry:

8 years.

  • Who have been your female role models (these don’t have to be design related)?

My mum, Delia Derbyshire, Kate Bush, Helena Hauff to name a few.

  • When did you first become interested in design/How did you get into design?

I always had an interest and passion for art and creativity in various ways whether it was drawing, painting, collaging, making mixtapes, I would say when I reached A-level art and realised there was a route in art that was design lead i.e. Graphic Design I felt that was what I wanted to get into from a career pursuit as it felt like a good umbrella for a lot of other things I liked about creativity with more structure and rules.

  • When and where do you have your best ideas?

Difficult to say, some days I have a wave of inspiration and I try to strike while the irons hot by getting things down on paper/making the most of that energy on that day. I often get my best ideas when I’m inspired by other people as well, there’s a lot to be said about bouncing off the energy of others and the power of collaboration. Everyone’s different but for me this is a really strong influence.

  • How would you describe your own personal design style?

It changes and evolves depending on what I’m inspired by, but I try to be as expressive as possible, particularly in my own time as I have less time constraints and more freedom, so for instance recently I started painting again so at the moment when I do posters outside of work I incorporate my paintings, generally I edge more towards analogue techniques when I can as to get away from the computer and use my hands which I think is good for the body and mind when you spend a lot of time around technology. Having a healthy body and mind is good for nurturing creativity.

  • What interests/motivates you?

Lots of things but mainly people, music, culture, nature, sometimes you can find inspiration in things that you don’t expect like a particular feeling you get from the light in the sky or from a new vegetable you eat.

  • What is the best part of your job?

The people and when we get the opportunity to work together in getting ideas out of brains and into solid real forms that make others happy and make us feel we have exercised our creative brains in achieving something together.

  • Do you think women get the recognition they deserve in the industry?

I think that this is something that is in the process of being tackled and as a result at the moment yes, more so than before.

  • What challenges do you think women face in the industry today?

There are no doubts that historically in industry women have been on the back foot however personally I have always thought of people as people and perhaps I have had the luxury of not contemplating gender as much as others, I have worked with really talented women and men that have encouraged each other and worked harmoniously. However, being on that back foot perhaps means that women feel the need to have to put that extra energy into being taken seriously particularly in male driven environments. Deep down I am always of the belief that you can only be yourself and do your best and you can’t do more than that, if others don’t appreciate that then perhaps they can f*** off.

  • If you could give advice to young female designers, what would it be?

Same as above - be yourself, do your best for yourself and others that appreciate it, and exercise your creativity as much as you can.

  • What do you want to be remembered for?

Big question. Inspiring others; perhaps giving others joy.

  • What does the future of creative industries look like to you?

Orange.

 

Introducing: Jessica Whittle

Graphic Designer

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  • Years in industry: 

Nearly 5.

  • Who have been your female role models (these don’t have to be design related)? 

My mum and some of my best friends. I’m lucky to have some incredible women in my life.

  • When did you first become interested in design/How did you get into design? 

I think I was about 9, and I started writing reviews for a magazine. I kept in touch with the editor, who gave me some work experience a few years later. I loved the atmosphere of the studio, and knew it was what I wanted to do.

  • When and where do you have your best ideas? 

Often in a quiet space, or in the middle of the night, or when I see something which sparks a connection when out and about.

  • How would you describe your own personal design style? 

Abstract and colourful.

  • What interests/motivates you? 

Salsa dancing is one of my biggest interests outside of work, and I find it helps me clear my head. You also meet such a diverse range of people, it can also be a place for inspiration.

  • What is the best part of your job? 

Seeing a project you’ve really enjoyed out there in the real world.

  • Do you think women get the recognition they deserve in the industry? 

As with any industry, it would be great to reach a stage where gender does not affect any career opportunities. It would be a fantastic source of inspiration to see some more ladies at the forefront of the design world.

  • What challenges do you think women face in the industry today? 

I think design still has a reputation for being quite a male-dominated industry, but I know a lot of incredibly talented female designers who produce some great work, which I’m hoping is helping to put a stop to the reputation – design is for everyone!

  • If you could give advice to young female designers, what would it be? 

To just think of yourself as a designer, not a female designer! It shouldn’t change how you are seen or how you work. I would give the same advice to all young designers… Have confidence (not cockiness) in your work and ideas, work very hard and learn as much as you can from the people around you.

  • What do you want to be remembered for? 

Having some great ideas, creating some beautiful work and being a nice person to be around!

  • What does the future of creative industries look like to you? 

With the ever changing and advancing technology we have today, I think there will be a lot of incredible developments in the work we can produce. I would love to see more collaboration where different skills are placed together to create some amazing projects.

 

Introducing: Catie Dixon

Junior Graphic Designer

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  • Years in industry: 

Half a year employed but a year of on and off placements as well.

  • Who have been your female role models (these don’t have to be design related)? 

My mum who’s always taught me that hard work will pay off and has always supported my life decisions.

  • When did you first become interested in design/How did you get into design? 

I remember when I was 10, telling the career’s advisor I wanted to be a graphic designer so I’ve always tried my best to make that happen. From the age of 15, I started doing placements in agencies ranging from two people to 60+ people to try and get my foot in the door.

  • When and where do you have your best ideas? 

Usually as I am trying to fall asleep, my mind will be awake with the best ideas, so I’ll scribble them down on paper so I can go to sleep. In the morning when I look at the scribbles, it will either be the best idea or will not make any sense at all.

  • How would you describe your own personal design style? 

I wouldn’t say I have a particular style, I can adapt into most styles if needed, but I am a fan of flat and simple design that have hidden messages/images in them.

  • What interests/motivates you? 

I try and get inspiration from wherever I can. I listen to design podcasts on my way in to work, I have a subscription to Computer Arts and every time I open a new tab on my computers, I have a Chrome extension called Muzli that will give me relevant and up-to-date inspiration of what’s going on in the industry.

  • What is the best part of your job? 

The wide range of work that I get to work on!

  • Do you think women get the recognition they deserve in the industry? 

I think some women do, but at the same time men don’t. I don’t think that gender makes a difference to the recognition in this industry in my opinion.

  • What challenges do you think women face in the industry today? 

I myself haven’t noticed any challenges in the industry because of my gender. I feel like I have been given the same opportunities as men. However, I have noticed that although there may be more women working in an agency, the men are usually populating the higher creative roles.

  • If you could give advice to young female designers, what would it be? 

Keep doing what you love.

  • What do you want to be remembered for? 

Coming up with quirky concepts; being a fun person to work with.

  • What does the future of creative industries look like to you? 

Exciting!

 

Look out for part two: Women in Design: Rise Up

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