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Meet the team that brings us Alive – Laura

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Meet the team that brings us Alive – Laura

When Laura, a Senior Designer here at Alive, was asked to give a talk to some university students, we all got a little bit excited. We listened to the amazing things she had to say and were hooked!

From finding out where her love for design first came from, to what it was like working in the crazy world of live television news, we were inspired to find out more.

Here’s what she had to say, when we put in her in the hot seat.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a designer?

I have to admit, I just kind of fell into it. I’ve always been quite creative and a visual person. I love hand drawing and ended up doing A level art, then going on to a foundation course being studying Graphic Design at Portsmouth.

In my first year at uni, I still didn’t really understand what design was – what it meant, how it was used and why everyone was so passionate about it. It wasn’t until mid-way through my 2nd year that I finally got it. I started to get excited about how different methods of design could tell stories and make boring data sets understandable and exciting. From then on, I was in love!

What was your first design job?

When I graduated, I exhibited my final piece at a ‘New Designers’ fair. It was spotted by someone from Sky News, who asked me to go in for an interview. I was quite confused about why Sky News wanted to interview me for a junior motion design position, but I went along any way, just for fun.

It ended up being the most intense interview I’ve ever had! A whole day alongside eight other candidates who had all done motion design at university. I didn’t think I stood a chance, but to my amazement they offered me the job.

On my first day, when I confessed that I didn’t really know how I got there, my new boss said: “You can always learn programmes, but it’s hard to find someone who really knows the foundations of design and gets how to use it”. That comment has stayed with me ever since.

What kind of projects did you work on for Sky?

At Sky, I learnt how to switch my brain from static design to motion design. It was my job to work out a way to guide the viewer through the story and data, in a way that kept them engaged. It was like being in another world and I was working on so many interesting projects.

‘The Spending Review’ was a standout project for me, as it gave me an opportunity to work with interactive information design and live data. Budget cuts (and financial stories in general) are generally very confusing. I needed to create something that would be understandable for everybody. As a team we simplify everything and let the information be the star of the show. What we ended up creating was a wall sequence that was controlled by the presenter.

When did you join Alive?

After a number of years with Sky – and as much as I loved working there – the corporate way of life just wasn’t for me. The nights shifts, the endless pressure and restrictive corporate environment was taking its toll. My work -life balance was non-existent, so I decided it was time to look at my options.

I wanted to work somewhere I could grow and develop as a designer and when I came across Alive, I had a warm and fuzzy feeling. I instantly felt it would be a great fit for me and I ended up joining the company in February 2017, with a remit to help lead on the motion side of things. I immediately felt at home.

What do you most enjoy?

I find it really rewarding that I get to work closely with clients to bring their briefs and messaging to life. They are always very thankful too, which is something that didn’t happen in news!

I’ve had the chance to work with so many different brands now, which has really enabled me to develop as a designer and has also pushed my motion design expertise into different areas, including character animation, which I absolutely adore.

Working at Alive has really helped me find my playful side too and I have a great work-life balance now. Yay!

What kind of projects have you worked on?

One of my favourite projects to date was for a free condoms campaign being launched by the NHS in Scotland. The final design we came up with, centred on a willy running down Princess Street in Edinburgh, trying to find a condom. The image was reminiscent of a famous scene in the film Trainspotting and it is definitely attention grabbing!

I also get to do a lot of illustration and hand lettering, rather than using stock illustrations. I’ve always loved doing hand lettering. It’s so organic and free flowing and is something I still spend a lot of my spare time doing too. It’s been amazing to see my lettering and illustrations used on walls within client offices and other branded environments. Something that just wouldn’t happen if I didn’t have the great bosses I have at Alive.

Finally, tell us something we’d never guess about you?

Hmm…..I may not live near the sea but I love surfing and get in the water every chance I get!

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“So glad that we chose Alive to create our new website. As well as taking the time to get the visual side of our requirement right, they worked with us to understand us, our business and our clients and reflect this across the site. We loved their flexible approach, which, coupled with the right level of challenge has replaced our old, clunky site with one we can be proud of. ”

Victoria Ford — Perago

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“‘We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“Boom!
Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron — KP Snacks

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q