A day in the life of a designer: Helen Hirst

As a designer at Octopus Group, my job is to create crystal-clear design. Design that delights clients. Design so pure that you wouldn’t realise it was there, until you’ve accidentally walked into it and banged your forehead.
It’s this focus on creating great work that excites me about my job. No two days are the same, as I’ll be working on different clients, with different account handlers and different copywriters every day.

  • 9AM: Breakfast and a huddle

To start the day off, I usually help myself to the array of cereals, fruits and yoghurts on offer courtesy of OG. The creative team then usually have a scrum, which is headed up by our resource manager. This is where we discuss everyone’s workload for the day, and where we find out what projects we’ve been assigned.
Highlight of this morning meeting? Having first dibs to the bowl of Maoams before getting started on the work!

  • 10AM: Getting the low-down

If it’s a new project, we need to be briefed in by someone from the Brand Engagement team. They’ll give me everything I need to know before I start. This is important, because the projects we get in vary so much. One day I could be working on a research report, and the next it could be a website redesign. What’s more, we have a quite a diverse mix of clients. This means every client will have different design needs.
As well as the briefing meeting, I’d normally read through the briefing docs over and over again myself – just to make sure I understand everything!
I’d then have a look at the past work we’ve done for the client to ensure brand consistency. I might also do some research on different layouts and image styles, because if it’s a new project, we’ll have some freedom to experiment.  

  • 1PM: Stomach re-fuel

I’m a firm believer in getting away from your desk for lunch. You’ll usually find me in the kitchen, getting away from my screen and munching on cucumbers.

  • 3PM: Odds and sods

Every now and then, I’ll join in on a company-wide brainstorm which often involves helping come up with campaign ideas for future projects. These are interesting to attend as it gets my head out of ‘design-mode’ and into ‘business-mode’.
And, as well as the main design work for the day, there are often last minute requests from clients that I need to fit in. Not to mention smaller jobs such as creating images for blog posts – like this one!

  • 5.30PM: Home time (and pub)

OG is great at social activities. It’s one of the main things I love about working here. Once a month, we have company drinks. And every Friday, we have Beer o’Clock, where we crack open the beers/ciders/wine at 3.30PM and finish for the day at 4.30PM! Mixed in with that, we also have events on to celebrate things such as Easter, St Patrick’s Day and Halloween. And top it all off, we often host charity bake sales to get involved in good causes.