A day in the life of a motion designer at Design Bridge London
- Apr 01, 2021
As part of our interview series looking at different roles and career opportunities in a brand design agency, and especially to inspire people thinking about applying for our new junior programme The Start (more on that here), today we’re catching up with Design Bridge London’s Adam Hingley.
Our Studio is made up of creatives across a mix of disciplines and expertise – from graphic design to 3D, comms to CGI, brand language and beyond – and Adam is a Motion Designer in our Film & Animation team
Whether it’s a logo, a social media post, or a brand world, nothing is static anymore. Our job as Motion Designers at Design Bridge is to work collaboratively with the wider Studio to take static designs and think, “How would that move? How can we bring that to life through motion?” to better communicate the creative idea.
I studied graphic design at A-Level and it gave me that "ah ha" moment that started my interest in typography, illustration and editorial design. When I didn’t get accepted into my chosen Universities, coinciding with quite a dark period for my mental health, it took a lot of persuasion to apply through clearing. Thankfully I managed to get myself a place on a graphic design course at Birmingham City University. Looking back now, I think this was revolutionary for kick starting my creativity. In the second year I started to explore animation after a visiting tutor showed us After Effects and it sort of spiralled from there.
Everything I designed I always tried to think of how it would come to life, especially illustrations and logos, and this led me to look at the role of Virtual Reality in storytelling for my dissertation. This landed mean internship at a small agency called Digital Glue in Digbeth, where I stayed for two years. I illustrated and animated videos and dabbled in logo design. It was a great opportunity to build my confidence with After Effects and team collaboration.
For me, it was less about discovering that I loved motion graphics and more about falling into it, then getting inspired by all the motion graphics that are out there, especially in title sequences and advertising.
I joinedDesign Bridge as a Junior Motion Graphics Designer in 2019 after being in the right place at the right time at D&AD New Blood, where I met one of the Creative Directors from Design Bridge London who happened to be on the lookout for a Junior Motion Designer.
I’m in the Film & Animation Team in London, but we are also part of the wider Comms Team. As a team, we’re lucky to work with many people and departments, including working with the Amsterdam and New York Studios when they are in need of some motion support.
We normally get involved right at the start of the brief, helping with ideation and thinking about the rationale behind social campaigns, logo development and brand word updates. We work very collaboratively with whatever design team and Strategist is leading the brief. As the work progresses, we might then get involved with the 3D team, copywriters, Illustrators and more.
My time is allocated through our Operations Team and my line manager Tash, manages capacity for our Team, so I am always clear on my focus for each day.
When starting on a new project, the day will start with a briefing with the Client Management team. They are the backbone of the brief, consolidating client feedback and keeping everyone on track.
The kind of work we do varies from brief to brief and includes everything from creating social media posts where we need to stay true to the brand world, to case study films showing off our work, animating icons for web use to developing moving identities for TVC and OOH billboards, bringing illustrations to life, developing AR filters, the list goes on.
During the pandemic a ‘normal’ day has meant a few more scheduled check-ins throughout the day, just to make sure that everything is going to plan, but also to share inspiration (Dribbble, Behance and Vimeo are usually my first stop) and to bounce ideas off each other to produce even better work. There’s always support, and the team spirit is very strong – in and out of the physical Studio.
Our work covers client briefs, internal projects and pitches. Pitch work tends to be more explorative, working with multiple design routes that are currently in development. If it’s for a big brand redesign or new brand creation project, our job is to imagine how the whole ecosystem comes to life in a cohesive way.
If we’re working on a film, then the process starts by talking to the designers who will have already worked on the look and feel of what needs to be animated. At this stage we might also have a copywriter working on a script, too. I’ll then take all the design files and create an animatic with all of the content in the correct place. Sorting everything from design files to Premier Pro and After Effects can take a few days, depending on the size of the film. If there are any voiceovers needed then we’ll put a draft in, and we’ll also source soundtrack options for the client to review. At this stage we’d have a big review with the design and client management teams to make sure we are happy with the flow and the look and feel before it goes to the client. After getting feedback we’ll spend some time tightening the edit and working into the animations and overall production quality. This stage is great for developing your technical skills, pushing the ideas to the best of your ability.
As I said, the work we do varies so much – if it moves, which is quite a lot in our digital world, then we work on it!
I joined in September 2019 so I only spent 6 months in the Studio before the pandemic. Those first 6 months were a huge learning curve, but working from home means that you have to take on more responsibility for your own time management, and I think this has indirectly helped boost my confidence and independence.
So, what I am I most proud of? Delivering work to a high standard, on time, in light of everything that’s going on in the world. It may not sound like much, but I’d say working for an agency is a real step up from Uni, especially the hours you have to maintain focus and creativity. Having a great team helps massively and the people at DB keep my spirits up and are always there if I have questions or need help.
The best thing about DB, without a shadow of a doubt, is the people. Collaborating with people that have a genuine passion for creativity while just being super friendly and down to earth makes working for DB all the more fun.
Another great aspect is that we are given the time to craft the work. Getting to the final idea can feel like a bit of a sprint but, when it’s there, having the time to craft all the little details and make sure everything is perfect gives you a real passion for your work.
The worst thing? I honestly can’t think of any negatives, but something that took a long time to get used to after Uni was full time work hours!
Treat any placement or work experience opportunity as a way to learn new skills and create a network of connections.
Get yourself and your work out there. I’ve got a bad habit of only liking to show finished work, especially on Instagram where sometimes you can feel the competition is a little overwhelming. But the nitty gritty ‘behind the scenes’ and little art and design thinking experiments will help you develop your craft. Get it out there! Show us what you can do! And also, never compare yourself to other people who might have years more experience than you.
I think writing a really good brief for yourself will help narrow down what problem you want to solve. Find something that you are passionate about and run with it. How would the brand tackle the issue? Go wild with mind maps and come up with as many ideas as you can, and then some more! The idea comes first, and the creativity follows.
If I hadn’t landed a job in it, I think I would have taken up a motion design course, most likely from the School of Motion. I think anything extra that can give you a competitive advantage will help with job applications in the future.
I always wanted to come to London, so I think I would have applied to any junior design job that got me here so that I could get a foot on the ladder!
If you’re at the beginning of your career and working in a creative or design role sounds like your dream job, take at look at The Start, our new junior programme in London – deadline for applications is Monday 31st May 2021. We have interviews with people working in our Client Management and Strategy teams if you want to explore other pathways, too.
We’re also recruiting for other roles in our London team as well as across our other Studios, and you’ll find the latest opportunities on our Careers page.