Case study

Web designer — Nathan

Being passionate about design, Nathan wanted to be a web designer, and he now works for a UK university in his first graduate job

I became interested in design when studying for an A-level in graphic design. I enjoyed it so much that I chose to study for a BA Hons in Digital Art and Technology at Plymouth University. The degree allowed me to study a variety of design topics including web design, which I really enjoyed.

After university I applied for Jobseeker's Allowance and they referred me to the Universal JobMatch website where my current job was advertised. I applied as it was what I wanted to do and also I had all the skills they needed.

During the interview I had to complete a skills assessment, which involved designing banners using Photoshop while adhering to branding guidelines. I then had a panel interview, which involved talking through my design ideas when performing the skills assessment, as well as formal interview questions.

What really helped me to be successful in the job interview was the experience that I had gained during my degree and my placement with a design agency. This experience of working with a variety of clients and designing a range of websites really helped as I could demonstrate my skills in a variety of web design work, e.g. coding as well as designing.

I've only been in the job a few months but I'm already involved in a variety of projects. My daily routine involves redesigning web page layouts to comply with branding guidelines, redesigning the content and then moving the data from the old content management system (CMS) to a new one. I also attend meetings with departments to identify needs and also follow-up meetings to identify any modifications that are required to the new formats.

When re-designing websites I use software packages such as Photoshop and Illustrator for the design work and HTML, CSS, Javascript and jQuery for the coding work. My team consists of another web designer with whom I work closely, two developers, two web administrators and a web manager.

The main challenge I've had in my job is adapting to a new work environment and being creatively limited by corporate branding. In my previous job with an agency there was a lot more scope to be creative - lots of different clients and companies, with lots of different brands, and the ability to experiment with new brands.

I work 9am to 5pm and I am based in an open-plan office where the atmosphere is creative, collaborative and relaxed.

The things I most enjoy about my job is being able to use my creative side, I especially like the design work and using Photoshop and Illustrator.

My advice for other students and graduates who would like to get into this career is to keep up to scratch with coding, in particular HTML and CSS and ensure that your designs are on trend.