What’s it like to be a designer at Foolproof?

Amber talks through her day-to-day, as a designer at Foolproof.

Abstract illustration of a clock showing 3 o'clock with a woman sitting on the hour hand working at a desk

Describing a typical day in design agency land is not an easy task.

The cliché of agency life is true - every day is different.

At Foolproof that difference is down to lots of things, the people moving between London and Norwich, the humour we share, the variety of work we do which makes a difference. In short, there’s never a dull moment.

But despite the ever-changing terrain of clients, projects, roles and responsibilities - here’s an average day in the life of me, Amber.

8:45 am - I get into the office, check emails and have a browse on LinkedIn to see if there is any interesting content, or things we’ve been up to - we’re always doing something.

9:00 am – I fight off hunger with some breakfast and a coffee.

9:30 am - Time for standup. A quick round-up with my project team to cover off what we did yesterday, what we are working on today and most importantly if everything is going to plan. It’s like a super quick group counselling session. We share experience from other projects or identify the right person that can remove blockers so we can progress.

10 am - It’s Thursday, so it’s studio meeting. This week it’s Tim’s turn to chair and he’s talking us through our work with Cydar on medical interfaces which are used in live surgery. Next week it’s my turn to take the session, so I’ll book out some time to plan it.

11 am - I realise I’ve got lots to get done today based on our stand-up, so a to-do list is a good place to start. In terms of my workflow, this really depends on how far we are into a project. On some days, I might get my head straight into my Sketch file, but this morning will consist of post-its and some careful thought…

11:10 am - We’ve spent the last few days travelling for design research and observing a focus group with clients. Now I’m back in the office it’s time to focus on our research findings. We group post-its and fill a whiteboard with useful quotes. We’re looking for patterns that will help us create our “How might we” questions and insights.

It’s my job to use these insights to create sketches and design suggestions to improve the user experience. My designs ultimately go back into testing, to see if we have managed to improve the user journey. First, I sketch out design ideas, then I mock them up in XD or Sketch once I feel as though I’ve defined some options I’m happy with, which explore the opportunities we’ve identified. Seeing it on screen sparks more ideas.

1 pm - LUNCH. Using your brain is hungry work.

2 pm - Back to my desk or project space to carrying on with the sketches.

2.30 pm - Designer’s block has struck. But never fear - two brains are better than one. I ask other designers to walk through the problem with me to help me find new ideas. It’s great to have them close-to-hand. I also regularly share my designs with my teammates on Slack to gather their thoughts. Having fresh opinions on my design is a very important part of my design process.

3.30 pm - Now is a good time to check-in with other people on the project to gain feedback from the wider team. I can easily connect with the gang in our other offices through Slack and Bluejeans calls. Getting feedback allows me to spend the remaining hours of the day improving areas which need a closer look. As a practice we encourage this, one person won’t have all the answers first time-round, and this is never expected of me. I’ve learnt so much from working collaboratively. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Junior or a Principal. We all learn together.

4:00 pm – I’m armed with some design amends to make. 

4:30 pm - I’ve finished working on the amends that I’d come up with by talking with my team and other designers. My creative juices could do with a kick-start, so I gather visual inspiration for our deliverable. I trawl design sites, and research brands and designers that are on my radar. As I pin-up images, I think about how the various elements of typography, colour, photography, illustration, and scale could come together to create a unique look and feel for everything we’ll design for our client and the people they serve.

5:00 - 5:30 pm - It’s home time - for today at least. I make sure that everything I have worked on today is synced to Box. I also note down anything that I didn’t get the chance to do today so I can work on this the next day - I will then highlight these areas of focus in tomorrow’s stand up.

Working at Foolproof has made me a better practitioner. I’m constantly learning from others, but also put in to new situations where I need to adapt my skills to solve a problem. With no two days being the same, it’s easy to stay motivated.  

If you think my day sounds interesting and you would like your future days to look similar, head over to our careers page as there may be an opening waiting for you.

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