17th March 2020 •
To paint a picture of what life is like on the inside at Torpedo HQ, we caught up with our very own creative hybrid, Cher. Learn all about her journey into the industry and what she loves about her everyday.
I am a designer at Torpedo who specialises in illustration, and I have been working here since 2016. In recent years, I have started to animate too.
Essentially as a designer, you are a problem solver, a brand guardian and a visual communicator. The aim is to combine these three skills and apply them to every job you work on, every day of the week.
The work we do can vary from client to client and there can be last-minute changes to your day or the job you are working on. Generally, a day consists of liaising with Client Services and designing with a variety of brand guidelines. Depending on the job, it is also really important to work with many other specialists such as UX/UI Designers, Animators, Copywriters and Developers etc.
“ As a designer, you are a problem solver, a brand guardian and a visual communicator. The aim is to combine these three skills and apply them to every job you work on, every day of the week. ”
As a creative it is key to have a good understanding of the Adobe creative suite software. The essentials are InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop – they are the bread and butter of design. But I also use After Effects and more recently, XD. I think more than ever it is important to have an understanding of all the software available, as a way to better understand the other professions you collaborate with regularly. It really gives you an understanding of the trials and tribulations that other creatives may face.
Collaborating with others is the best way of improving your own skills and also of creating work that’s more superior to what you might have created alone. I think that everyone in the company is equally important and can add value, depending on what project you are working on. We all have our own specialist skillset, and place at Torpedo, but if I had to pick one role that I couldn’t live without it would be a copywriter – they are a lifesaver!
What I love most about my job is being involved in the creative industry and having access to the inspirational work of other creatives around you. I love the feeling of having a real impact on a project. For example, there is great satisfaction in taking a complex project and simplifying and extracting it into its most essential parts that can then be communicated with a strong message in a visually compelling way.
“ There is great satisfaction in taking a complex project and simplifying and extracting it into its most essential parts that can then be communicated with a strong message in a visually compelling way. ”
The most challenging part of what we do is that design/art is so subjective – what works for one person may not for another, and so it can be a balancing act between conflicting opinions. As a designer, it is my job to try and find a clear path through these situations and to not lose sight of the end goal of the project, material and audience.
Yes, I worked on a really lovely EC3 animation for Autodesk. In collaboration with a number of industry partners, Autodesk developed a free-to-use Embodied Carbon Calculator (EC3) tool for use by architects and engineers on construction projects. Currently, the embodied carbon of all the materials going into our buildings accounts for 11% of global emissions. The tool’s purpose is to reduce this by identifying which materials have the smallest environmental impact and lowest levels of embodied carbon. It’s offered as a free add-on to BIM 360 (construction management software) and has the potential to transform how architecture, engineering and construction firms build sustainability into their design process. It’s always rewarding when you can work on a project that is giving back to the world.
As the job was more about heroing the product (rather than a specific company) we were given quite a lot of freedom with design for this project, which was great. It’s really exciting when you can have fun and push boundaries, so the beginning of this project was about finding the perfect visual style.
As it was important that the environmental aspect of this project was clear right from the start, we decided that a collaged, textured animation style could really resonate with the sustainable message of the tool. Personally, I really love the combination of texture, photography, graphic shapes, block colour and illustration, and I like that there is a lot of depth to the design.
To make this job happen, and to have such a great end product, took the work of many great specialists. From the account handlers who provided essential communications with the client to the copywriters with their fantastic scriptwriting abilities, and of course, the animators who really brought the designs to life – I love projects where I get to collaborate and see a whole range of skillsets come together.
When I try to think back to what I wanted to be as a kid, I’m not sure I ever really formulated a plan! I spent quite a lot of time outside as a child and I grew up in a small village so I think I was somewhat naive to the world as a kid.
I gravitated towards art and design without really thinking about it. I just knew that I loved art and I wanted to keep doing it for as long as I could. But it wasn’t until after my Art Foundation that I realised I could really have a career in illustration and design and I credit this to some truly amazing lecturers who were so passionate about what they taught.
If I hadn’t been a designer I think I’d most likely have become a primary school teacher. I believe it’s another job where you can be more creative in how you communicate with the world. But also because I volunteered in primary schools as a teenager and I found it incredibly satisfying and rewarding to work with children.
My journey wasn’t as straight as some. I had been scared off joining the creative industry for a couple of years after my GCSEs. I was told repeatedly how hard it can be to break into the industry – but a year after finishing my A-levels, I did an art foundation course. After that I went to on to study Illustration in Cambridge and at my graduation exhibition, I was offered a five-year licensing contract for my work. This propelled me into the world of illustration and design, and I never looked back!
I really love living in the countryside so my favourite things to do are traipsing around the countryside and being in nature. I love all animals!
I think I have too many to choose from! Most of my good memories have come from late-night conversations in the office past working hours, with the Creative Team or hanging out at lunch with a big bunch of friends playing board games in the conservatory. The community spirit and people at Torpedo are really what makes it so special. One moment that does stick in my mind though was my first birthday in the company – when I had only been at Torpedo a few months and I had recently moved back from Cambridgeshire. I hadn’t really settled back into living in Oxfordshire at the time. When I came in to work, there was a big bottle of Prosecco on my desk from the Creative Director. I felt so welcomed and at home in Torpedo and it really set the tone for the next four years.
Hmmm… The best piece of advice I have been given was probably from my university lecturer. He said that if you stop learning and being passionate about what you do, then it’s time to stop doing it.
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