Case study

Designer — Jenny Addison

Jenny successfully applies her passion and creative skills to a well-known publisher, illustrating activity books for children as well as designing pages and covers

How did you get your job?

When I undertook a work placement at Usborne Publishing after finishing my college course, I knew that was the job for me. I was passionate about working for them and was determined to get qualified so I went to university and gained my degree.

During my studies I completed another work placement there and once again I loved it. I finished university with a first class honours degree in illustration and was immediately offered a three-month freelance position with Usborne that has now turned into a permanent job.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

It was extremely relevant and the subject I studied meant that I could develop my skills in the Adobe Creative Suite, as well as working to deadlines and as part of a team.

What are your main work activities?

Currently I am working on several books all at once, which means I split my time between them as they're all at different stages, with their deadlines soon approaching.

When working on a book, I start by drawing different designs for a particular spread and the strongest gets selected for the editor who then puts in the text. It is then checked by the creative director. I put a brief together for the illustrator and when they've finished and I'm happy, it gets checked over once more and it then has its place in the book.

I'm actually doing my own illustrations for one of the books I'm working on at the moment and I'm finding it extremely fun. It is very surreal as this book was my favourite when I was little and I actually drew up this book at the age of seven, which I still have to this day.

How do you use your degree in your job?

I use everything that I learned from my degree in my job. From the skills I gained in the Adobe Creative Suite to the design process of a book.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Everything. It doesn't feel like a job to me because I love it so much and it's what I've wanted to do for a very long time. I work with a lovely bunch of people that make each day extremely enjoyable.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

It's challenging when I have several books to work on all at once because I have to split my time between each one and yet still keep them moving along as they all have deadlines approaching.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

Still at Usborne Publishing, hopefully with a big list of books under my name.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

I would recommend doing a placement at the company you wish to work for, so you can get an idea of the type of job you would be doing and see whether you like it or not.

In my final year, I chose my own briefs based on what I would be doing if I was working at Usborne Publishing. I found this useful and it helped prepare me more for my job.

Try to make your final projects relate to the type of work you would like to be doing in your future career.

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