Name: Kay Bain
Job: Junior Designer at Kitsune
Social handle: @kitsuneuk / @kay__bain
What’s the story of ‘you’?
I’m kay, I’m 20 years old and I’m from the Wirral. I’m a graphic designer who loves climbing, yoga and just being in the outdoors.
I’ve always been a fairly arty/creative person my whole life I guess. When I was in my last year of sixth form after studying art, product design and Physical education I had no idea what to do and everything seemed so certain, so I decided not to commit to going to university like all my friends and I decided to take a gap year. That gap year ended up in a two-year digital art at graphic design course at the city of Liverpool college arts centre. I just got sucked in by the whole thing and loved every minute of it. The course involved all sorts from physical drawing to animation and I don’t know how I hadn’t considered this as a career beforehand.
What is that you do now?
I am a junior digital designer at Kitsune studio.
Tell us about your day-to-day...
I start work anytime between 8 and 9 and work on a mix of projects throughout the day we do all sorts at Kitsune so I could be wireframing in the morning and working on a print project in the afternoon. I really enjoy my job as the work we can get can be quite varied. Recently I’ve also been lucky enough to work on projects for clients such as FACT, Constellations and Hinterlands (Constellations newest venue).
What skills are essential for your role?
Well, there’s the physical skills such as knowing your way about the certain creative programmes pretty well but then you’ve also got things like creativity and possibly a good understanding of how people work.
Career pathways... wonderfully unpredictable! Did you always want to be what you’re doing now or was there something before this?
As a pretty keen climber and a general outdoorsy person, I thought that would be the career route I ended up down. being not particularly academic at school I had focused a lot of my attention on that plan and began collecting various expedition leadership awards and coaching qualifications. But I’ve always been torn between the design industry and the outdoors industry but the design industry won in the end. I realised I like creating things and for a reason, so either to display or inform whilst also making the product look good, I found it really difficult to just make things look nice for the sake of looking nice.
This is why I like my role at the moment as a UX/UI designer as everything has to have a reason for being there, not just because it looks nice. I was more than happy for being in the outdoors to just be my hobby and not my career If it meant I got to design all day it was worth it! Although you will still find me most weekends out in the mountains leading expeditions during the summer.
How did you get your foot in the door?
Whilst at college I worked full time at The Climbing Hangar as a duty manager, working here allowed to produce work for them such as posters, fliers and social media content. This gave me the opportunity to add more work to my portfolio that was for real clients whilst at college, I think doing small amounts of freelance work as well really helped in my job interview.
It was at the climbing hangar where I met my current boss Michael, we got chatting one day about what I was doing at college and then later in the year he was looking for a junior designer and asked if I was interested, I sent him my CV and portfolio and he liked my stuff I had an interview and I got the job.
Biggest lesson you've learned along the way - what is it?
That it’s important to do something you enjoy, more important than that is to do something that you can keep learning and progressing with. Graphic design is such a broad subject and there are so many avenues you can go down and keep learning new skills and information, It’s great. The Catalyst course with OH also made me realise how many avenues and can go down with a background in design and knowing the right people.
Has there been anything that has surprised you about the industry?
That the design industry feels like quite a close-knit bunch and everyone seems to know everyone and a lot of the time people are happy and willing to help you.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to get your foot in the door, or afraid to talk yourself up! But also get on the Catalyst course! You’ll meet so many people just like you and also meet people already in the industry, It’s a great chance to get your foot in the door.