Senior Designer
V&A Museum

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Time Code INTERVIEW WITH JO GLOVER 00:01 I’m Joanne Glover. I’m a senior designer at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 00:06 I do anything that you see, anything visual from exhibition graphics, like this space here or the marketing for the exhibitions, advertising that you see on the tube and press ads to way-finding around the museum and displays, temporary displays and other major exhibitions within the museum. 00:31 When I graduated, I did an arts and cultural job in a tiny design agency, that wasn’t very well paid, but I learned the nitty-gritty detail of typography to such a high level that that actually probably got me jobs like this I really wanted, further down the line. I also did more scary commercial jobs that, for me, was out of my comfort zone. I worked in a branding agency on massive brands like Sky, Discovery Channel, HMV and I worked there full-time and then went down to three days a week freelance, to fund doing an MA at the Royal College of Art. 01:12 We have to do a lot of presentations to senior members of the staff and the board, if it’s the annual review and even if we’re good at producing something really beautiful visually, if you can’t explain your concept, then you can really fall down by not being able to convince someone of your idea. It’s brilliant if people are really good at artwork and in other programmes like in design, photoshop and illustrator inside out. But yeah, it’s brilliant if you have someone that you can just get along with and who is friendly and confident, because we deal with so many departments, from marketing to exhibitions, which have really large teams and there are only two of us. 01:53 We’ve had someone from London College of Communication, where I went to do my BA, through the industrial placement year and she’s been coming in every Friday. But she’s just graduated, so we can offer voluntary work for people on that year out. 02:17 If you wanted to do my job, the normal pathway would be to do A Levels in creative subjects, like graphic design, and then people tend to do a foundation course. I studied BA in graphic and media design with experimental typography, which is a four year course and I think the most important part of that course was the year in industry, which allows you to work at different work placements that you get yourself. That allowed me to work at four different branding agencies in Australia, Manchester. So many graduates are now doing design that it’s really important that you’ve actually had the chance to work and learn the more professional side of the job, like setting up artworks, sending things to print. 03:04 In comparison to advertising and branding, it’s a really nice place to work and everything’s very well structured, planned up to a year in advance, so you know when you have to deliver and how much your budget is, and that doesn’t change, whereas, if you’re working for a client, as such, it’s much more difficult. They might demand to have a presentation the next day and you’ll be up all night working. 03:29 END

“Everything’s very well structured, planned up to a year in advance, so you know when you have to deliver and how much your budget is.” Joanne looks after all aspects of graphic design at the museum, from exhibition and way-finding signage to artwork for tube and press adverts. After university she worked for design and branding agencies, before combining further studies with part-time work.

More information about Graphic designers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

62%  male 
38%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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? Graphic designers use illustrative, sound, visual and multimedia techniques to convey a message for information, entertainment, advertising, promotion or publicity purposes, and create special visual effects and animations for computer games, film, interactive and other media.
Entrants have usually completed a foundation course, a BTEC/SQA award, a degree and/or postgraduate qualification. NVQs/SVQs in Design (in various disciplines) are available at Levels 2 and 3. Portfolio work is also important for entry.
  • Liaises with client to clarify aims of project brief, discusses media, software and technology to be used, establishes timetable for project and defines budgetary constraints;
  • Undertakes research into project, considers previous related projects and compares costs of using different processes;
  • Prepares sketches, scale drawings, models, colour schemes and other mock-ups to show clients and discusses any required alterations;
  • Prepares specification and instructions for realisation of the project;
  • Liaises with other parts of the production team to ensure graphic design fits with other elements, processes and timescales;
  • Produces or oversees creation of the final product.
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