“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”
Here at Storm ID, we’re really interested in design. Specifically, we’re interested in pushing boundaries and making design better. It’s a huge consideration in every project we work on. We have UX Designers who focus on user needs and extract insights about the business we’re working with to inform a product’s design. Then there are our Digital Designers who build visual identities, branding and prototypes. This month, we’re going to hear from Brad about how sketches of cars led him to his current role at Storm and whose work makes him say WOW.
Hey Brad! Easy one to start with – how did you become interested in design?
In primary 4 I filled a jotter from cover to cover with drawings of cars and shoes. I liked the shape of them. The teacher told me to get a grip. Then a graphic communication teacher at high school steered me away from CAD/technical drawing towards graphic design, and I made some horrific leaflets. One was a ‘Gibson + Guns n Roses collaboration’, which boasted Slash cradling a Gibson Les Paul inside a floating yellow orb surrounded by a font called Magneto. Soon after that the likes of Josef Muller-Brockmann and Armin Hofmann were introduced to us in college, and I was hooked on everything ‘Swiss’ from then on.
Nice! Where did you go from there?
I left school early to study graphic communication at City of Glasgow College for 3 years. After a rejection from art school I did an internship for a small design studio in Glasgow, before starting a sort of modern apprenticeship between that studio and Glasgow Caledonian University. That was a great set up and should be made available to more students – it allowed me to earn an honours degree in Graphic Design for Digital Media over 18 months, whilst spending pretty much the whole working week on ‘real-world’ projects in the studio.
That really does sound like a good set up. If you could add one song to the office playlist, what would it be?
Probably Rush’s 2112, but the whole office would walk out.
So, how did you end up at Storm?
I’ve been in Edinburgh for about 3 years, and at Storm for just over a year. Before this I worked in-house at a youth charity, which was useful to understand the other side of what we do, from the client’s perspective. And I got to spray paint a piano. Before that I was at a couple of agencies in Edinburgh and Glasgow, working in branding, print, digital and advertising.
When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time in the city?
Exploring the old town never gets boring, except maybe when the festivals are on. But I prefer to leave the city and cycle around the borders or down the east coast.
What does being a Digital Designer entail?
I work closely with UX to take projects from sketched wireframes to interactive prototype, and establish a UI and visual identity in that time. I also work with the technical side to make sure the prototypes can be made reality. Occasionally a branding task comes along, which makes me very happy. I enjoy making something look and function better through design, and you never know what problem you’ll have to solve next.
If you could be any famous person for a day, who would it be and why?
James May. Travels the world, drives supercars, less annoying than the other two.
Gotta love Captain Slow! What has been your favourite project to work on in your time here?
The ongoing Glasgow Life work presents a big challenge – there’s so much information to refine into something easy to use, which still communicates their brand. But I anticipate the end result being a huge leap forward. The branding work for landscape architects HarrisonStevens was fun too. I enjoyed finding out more about their craft and how it could influence their visual identity.
Sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy! What’s your favourite thing about Storm?
Storm Labs is a great platform to try out ideas. So many of us have ideas but never get the chance to explore them properly, but with this I feel like there’s an environment which encourages you to try new things. Also, the people at Storm are great, the place is very welcoming and you can learn something from everyone.
I have to agree with you on that one! Final question: do you have any hobbies we might not know about?
I spend some spare time helping to build a start-up called Hemp Eyewear, we’re making glasses and sunglasses from industrial hemp. It’s a project that’s been going since uni between a classmate and I – the goal is to make a sustainable replacement for plastic, which we know is a big problem. So far we’ve been through a couple of crowdfunding campaigns and the quality of the glasses is improving all the time.
Think you have what it takes to join our Storm Troopers?
If hearing about Brad’s experiences at Storm ID has piqued your interest, get in touch! Check out our latest vacancies or email us your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!