16 August 2018
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Name: Jess Lord
Job Title: Graphic Designer
Location: Liverpool
Social handle: @designbyjess1
Website: www.jess-lord.com

Hey Jess! Tell us a little about the story of you...

I grew up in Liverpool and moved over to the Wirral around 4 years ago. Since I was little I’ve loved drawing and being creative. It’s something that makes me happy.

I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue a career in design, so when I finished my A Levels I went to college and then university. I graduated last year with a degree in Graphic Design & Illustration from Liverpool John Moore’s University.

What is it that you do?

I’m a graphic designer who loves to learn and experiment. I have experience in print, creating zines and publications as well as branding. I’m currently developing my digital skills learning AfterEffects and introducing this into my work.

Did you always want to do what you’re doing now or was there something before this?

I knew from a young age I always wanted to do something creative. It was never a decision for me it was one of them things were I just knew and nothing else came close. Art was one of my favourite lessons in school and I just loved getting stuck in and coming up with ideas.

At first, I thought I wanted to study Fine Art at university but I went to an open day and came out thinking this just isn’t for me. I decided to go to college and do an Art Foundation course and this was where I was introduced to Graphic Design and it just felt right. Like I wanted to do this forever! I applied to LJMU and enrolled on to the Graphic Design & Illustration course.

What skills have you found are essential for your line of work?

I would say a combination of motivation, perseverance and a desire to keep learning. I found it hard to adjust from having the routine of university to then graduating and wondering what to do next. I enjoy having something to do and work towards so I keep motivated by setting myself projects and working freelance.

It can be tough to keep a positive mindset when it can be so difficult to get the job you’ve spent years studying for. Making work that I enjoy keeps me focused and learning, which I love! The knockbacks aren’t always easy to deal with but for others, it can hit people hard.

As a graduate, it’s expected that you’re going to get a job straight away but for some, it doesn’t work that way. It’s not easy for graduates to admit that they’re struggling or even feeling depressed.

Going back slightly to last year, you were a part of our second Catalyst. What drove you to apply for the programme?

When I left university I had a job in design and thought I was heading in the right direction but it didn’t work out as I thought. I felt lost and I wasn’t sure what I should do next. For someone who likes to have a plan, it was a scary time!

It was hard to pick myself up but I discovered the catalyst course from a careers advisor that I visited and it sounded so interesting. I applied and I’m so glad that I did!

What were some of the key things you learned on Catalyst about yourself or the industry?

I learnt so much from the Catalyst it’s hard to narrow it down!

One thing that always sticks in my mind is: Just because you never got *insert job* doesn’t diminish the skills and qualities you have. Also, I was so surprised at how willing people in the industry are to help you. It’s so nice to see people offering you help and advice.

What advice would you give to those looking to get their foot in the door?

Be a part of the catalyst programme, you won’t regret it! It really helped me to start networking because I was nervous about attending events. Networking can be great to build confidence and meet new people that can help you along in your journey.

Also keep positive! It can be disheartening to apply for jobs and either not be successful or you don’t hear back from the company. Make the work you enjoy and would like to do. Don’t give up!

What’s on the horizon?

I’m currently planning a project to raise money for Marie Curie. It is a charity that is close to my heart and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and helping such an amazing charity! I want to keep developing my portfolio by working freelance and creating self-initiated projects to see where it leads. I’ll also be keeping my eye out and applying for junior designer roles.

I’d like to look more into what can be done to help graduates who are struggling with depression after leaving university. Maybe there’s something I can do to help. I just have so many things I’d like to do! I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and I’m looking forward to seeing where life takes me next!

Article by
Robyn Dooley
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