My Role As Head Of Design – An Interview With Robin Mepstead

Optix: What is your role at Optix and what does it involve?

Robin: My role is head of design. This basically means I am responsible for developing and managing all aspects of our design and creative output. 

Optix: Why did you choose this career and how long did it take you to reach this rung on the career ladder? 

Robin: I think my father was a big influence on my career. He recognised from a young age that I showed skills in Graphics and Art & Design at school. He was in the creative industry himself and saw that I had potential. He used to do my maths homework and he would give me a fake design brief which I would have to do on my mac. I would then present my designs to him and explain my thinking behind it using the principles he taught me (bare in mind I was 13 years old!). It kind of went from there I suppose. I went to Uni and got a job in the industry as soon as I graduated. 14 years later and I am still designing.

Optix: Did you gain experience to prepare you and how did you do it?

Robin: Upon finishing my GCSE’s I studied for a further 6 years gaining multiple qualifications:

  • Advanced GNVQ in Art and Design
  • Foundation Diploma in Art & design
  • HND in Graphic Design
  • Bachelor of Arts in Photomedia and Design Communication (BA-HONS). 

Optix: What motivates you in your role?

Robin: Variation. Having a different challenge every day keeps me motivated, If I were to do the same thing every day, that would be my idea of hell. I like communicating with clients and finding solutions to their problems. The fun part is listening to them talk and visualising a solution, then finding the best user journey whilst thinking of the hurdles that may arise en route.

Optix: Where would you like your career to go in the future?

Robin: At some point in the next few years I would like to become a consultant, offering consultancy work to provide businesses with the knowledge they need to be able to bring their ideas to life.

Optix: What advice would you give someone just starting out in website design?

Robin: Follow as many creative blogs and inspirational sites as possible and always try and learn something new, whether that be software, coding, or understanding typography.

Optix: What advice would you give someone who is looking to take the next step on the creative design career ladder?

Robin: Find, or even better, create and develop a role that you feel can really help the business ‘grow’ and take charge of it, own it and if you are passionate then you will inevitably climb the ladder without realising it… Along the way, you will become a valuable asset to that business and they will pay more to keep you.

Optix: How should someone prepare for an interview for a role in website design?

Robin: Make sure your portfolio is spot on, create an online example and if possible make sure you can show, and explain your thinking behind your designs. I know this is a difficult thing to show and also a difficult thing to explain. Design involves principles and certain tried and tested layouts and user journeys that we ‘must’ try to stick to, but, there is always an element of experimenting or how else do we evolve our concepts. Don’t be afraid to discuss this self-growth as it shows you are creative and not just a designer burdened by rules. 

Optix: What are your favourite creative resources?

Robin: I look at a lot of creative resources but find myself spending a fair amount of time on…

  • Inspiration sites:
    • Dribbble, Behance
  • Photography:
    • Unsplash, Pexels
  • Typography:
    • Google fonts, Font Squirrel
  • Iconography:
    • Fontawesome
    • Iconfinder
  • Blogs:
    • Smashing magazine
    • A list apart

Optix: Why do you like working at Optix?

Robin: It’s essential that I have a job that allows me the freedom to explore my creativity. Alongside this I am trusted with the reputation of the design side of the business which gives me great pride. Creativity is Liberation.

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