DEPT® LIFE: Designer
Meet Candy, Midweight Designer at DEPT®!
Here she shares her passion for digital design, her career journey so far and what she loves most about working at DEPT®.
Name: Candy Sinclair-Ford
Role: Midweight Designer
Time at Dept: 1 year, 1 month
Time in the industry: Six years
About me: I’m pretty good at identifying flags. It was a big advantage in lockdown zoom quizzes!
Discovering my love for digital design
I graduated from the University of Bolton in 2016 with a first in Graphic Design. My degree was mostly print-focused, so I didn’t know that much about digital design as a new graduate.
I worked in-house as a Junior Designer straight out of university, but I knew very early on that I was looking for an agency role. As a creative, I found it too restrictive and repetitive to just work with one brand.
I landed a role at a digital agency where I discovered my love of digital design, learning how to work with CRO and UX specialists, how to design a website and all kinds of digital marketing campaigns.
After several years there I was ready for the next step in my career and joined DEPT® in 2021.
Life as a designer
My main role at DEPT® is ideating and delivering visual design work for projects. I design websites but also create and build style guides and design systems for those websites, helping them to work more efficiently and ensure that everything is consistent across the project.
Outside of the actual design work, there is a lot of research to do, from landscape and competitor audits to reviewing existing brand presence and assets. This allows us to gain a more expansive knowledge of the wider background that our client is operating within and identifies gaps where we can help our client to become a market leader. It is important for creatives to look at what else is happening outside of the project we are working on, and to get inspired by projects from those that we admire.
The team I work closest with would have to be the UX team. It is essential that UI and UX designers are on the same page and value each others’ crafts in order to get the best outcome – and the best is what we always aim for!
Every day is different
My days vary a lot as the activities are determined by the project I am working on at the time – I love the variety!
I typically start my day at 8am. I find I am at my most creative in the mornings! Depending on my schedule, my day could be spent doing research for a project, participating in workshops with the UX team and clients, designing websites or working on design systems.
Currently I am working on a large project that sees our team collaborating with the client’s in-house design team. We have an internal stand up every morning and two calls a day to sync with the client team; one in the morning to discuss the day’s work, and one in the afternoon to review what we have done and give each other feedback.
Working collaboratively and seeing UX and UI colleagues working seamlessly is really enjoyable. Despite the physical distance between everyone involved, we are able to all stay on the same page as we work through the design sprints.
One of the highlights of my week is the design team showcase. Once a week, the team gets together to share what we have been working on. It’s a great opportunity to practice presenting and I find it exciting because I love seeing what projects my colleagues have been working on and how they are progressing!
Working at DEPT® is different to anywhere I’ve worked before. I’ve never worked for a global company that attracts such high-profile clients, and it’s working with those clients that really excites me.
Throughout my time here, I’ve learned lots about how to handle large scale projects. The excitement of working with big clients also results in projects being larger in scale than those I’ve worked on in previous roles, but I really love the challenge. Being at the point in my career where I am trusted with those kinds of projects feels really amazing.
Before DEPT® I also hadn’t had much experience of working with design systems. These are files that house all of your styles and components for a web project. I find it really satisfying setting them up, making them beautiful and working with them in my projects to ensure best practice.
The perfect work life balance
I started working for DEPT® in April 2021. We were about a year into the pandemic so we were mostly adjusted to the “new normal”, but it was still nerve-wracking to apply for and start a new job in the middle of a pandemic!
I was lucky and got to work from the Manchester office on my first day. My team members all came into the office to meet me in person and make me feel welcome, and it made all the difference. It helped me to feel comfortable reaching out to my colleagues on days when I was working from home, and it helped that we all got on really well too!
I typically work from home most of the time. The flexibility of working from my home office gives me a much better work-life balance, as do the flexible working hours and it doesn’t impact my ability to work and design at my best. The hybrid working model is perfect for me and I’m grateful to DEPT® for continuing to offer work from home options for us.
A global agency with a personal approach
For me the biggest difference working at DEPT® compared to other companies is the scale. Bigger clients, bigger projects, bigger company = bigger opportunities!
Crucially though, the scale doesn’t make things feel impersonal. I still feel fully supported and appreciated, which is a magical thing and so important. We all want the best for each other and have all the time in the world to help each other do our best work. It’s the dream work environment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve also never worked in Manchester before, and I definitely feel like the heroine in a 2000s teen girl movie going to the office in the big city and getting stuff done!
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