Fred thoughts
Olly takes the hot seat.
Nov 2018

As our ‘not so new anymore’ Senior Designer Olly Clapp settles in, we thought it was time to interrogate him a little bit and find out a bit more about his journey into graphic design and where he thinks the industry is heading:

What made you decide to pursue a career as a Graphic Designer?

Graphic designers have been in my family for years, so it was always going to happen. I grew up watching my Dad design branding on Windows 95 so the value of having the right composition and colour palette was instilled in me from a very young age.

After developing a strong interest in design throughout my teens and taking on various projects as hobbies in my spare time, I went to study Graphic Design at Portsmouth University. It was here that I discovered my love (yep, that’s right!) of having to work to tight deadlines and running on the adrenaline that comes from the pressure of having to deliver a client brief in a short time frame. I was hooked from then on.

What has your work experience to date been?

I came out of university and went to work at the Adventure Island theme park on a branding project. A pretty fun initiative to be involved with. I then went on to take Junior Designer roles at various agencies, working and learning from some top creative directors.

After building up my experience, I went on to set up the graphics centre at a print company. I had to implement everything and build the studio up from scratch. It was a huge baptism of fire at the time but looking back it taught me a great deal. I had to take on every role from designer to office manager, dealing with commercial clients and delivering results in very tight time frames.

How has the design and marketing world changed in the last five years?

Graphic Design has experienced a huge swing from print to digital. The skillset required for designers these days is far more broad.

The internet continues to grow and the possibilities it opens up are endless. It’s all about web design, HTML emails, videos – everything needs to have that ‘shareable element’ to be pushed across an ever-expanding range of communication channels.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I want to be known as one of the top Graphic Designers in the UK. Working with one of the top design and marketing agencies is a great step forwards towards that goal. Ultimately, it’s all about continuing to build a reputation for myself and getting that experience and credibility.

As designers we will never get bored of doing the same things as the trends and ways of doing things are constantly changing. The challenge for us is to make sure we keep up with these trends and ensure that our skill-set is one step ahead of the curve. I suspect if we look five, even ten years down the line, and the pace at which change in technology is happening, we’ll probably be working on entirely new formats and platforms as part of our everyday tasks. The emphasis on user experience is extreme and we need to adapt accordingly.

What are your predictions for next year’s design trends?

There has been such a push over the last few years for more simplified designs and we have seen a number of well-known household names strip their branding right back. But I don’t necessarily agree that this is always the way to go. The whole ‘less-is-more’ approach isn’t always true. A company will have a strong brand identity because its unique and memorable. Sometimes you need a strong typeset or graphic, and if it’s done in the right way then it can be really impactful and absolutely shouldn’t be something that companies shy away from.

Finally, what made you want to work at We Are Fred?

We Are Fred ticked all the boxes. A London style agency – fast-paced, working for top clients who are leaders in their industry, delivering exceptional design work. As soon as I met Nick and Clive I could see that the agency had big plans for growth and expansion and I wanted to be part of that. Between them they have such a wealth of experience and I knew that I could learn a lot from that.

I also loved the feel of the studio. I sit with the account management team and we all work closely together to deliver a service that other agencies simply can’t compete with. Above all, it’s a fun environment and we bounce off each other. You spend a long time working, so it’s important to enjoy it. By working together as a collaborative team, we take ideas and develop them into bigger and better ones.

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