Now and Then is a series where we catch up with designers who’ve been recently placed via Portfolio Recruitment. We get their thoughts and feedback about their new roles and their work. Our latest Now and Then is with Sefton Marshall who joined the team at Moa Beer a few months ago as their in-house graphic designer.
Thanks for being involved Sefton. Your design career so far has been a mix of freelance work and in-house graphic design. From your experience, what are great things about working ‘in-house’. There are so many amazing opportunities within in-house studios. Is it something you’d recommend?
One thing that I find stimulating with in-house is that over time you can gain a good insight into an industry that you may not otherwise have been closely involved with. Working on your client’s premises can provide a rounded experience in terms of their brand and culture.
In my current role at Moa, I’m not just furthering my design and illustration skills, but also learning a lot about beer and the whole industry. And, although it’s not an area which I had previously imagined myself getting into, I’m really enjoying it.
Another aspect of in-house I like is the diversity of people and roles that I work with, and the context that it can give my work. Being a designer, it’s all too easy to get caught up within a creative bubble and immerse yourself in colour swatches and bezier curves for hours. But if you’re sitting next to a guy who has to go out and sell your product that can be a nice reminder of the context of your creative endeavours.
More often than not, you’ll be working with more ‘non-creatives’ than in an agency, and it can provide a good balance to work with contrasting personality types (even if some of those personalities may need educating on the value of your work!).
I’d recommend in-house if you have a passion for a particular industry, or just enjoy the consistency of getting to understand one business and immersing yourself within their company culture.
In-house hours are generally pretty reasonable too, so if you have other commitments, or like myself, enjoy working on self-instigated creative work when you can, it may be a good fit.
Your role at Moa is part time. How has that been for you?
I’m fortunate in that my hours at Moa are fairly flexible, which allows me to pursue freelance work and keep some diversity in my portfolio. Sometimes it can be frustrating knowing that if I had another day or two I could achieve more of x, y and z tasks that would benefit my team. However, a part-time role can also mean that you’re fresher on the job and slower to become jaded than you might be otherwise.
What do you love most about the work at Moa, and how do you feel you’re able to add to their offering?
It’s a fun, fast-paced place to work, with something new always on the horizon, and I work alongside a talented and hard-working group of people. Being a relatively small company, there’s less of a bureaucracy, so I can be more involved in decision making processes than might be the case in a larger business. They’re also pretty open to hearing new creative ideas, which is a positive for me, and an important trait in any organisation.
I also really enjoy the immediacy and tactile nature of packaging, the challenge of generating a product personality that will stand out and engage in a super competitive landscape. Apart from the qualities of the product itself, you’re basically aiming to come up with something attractive enough that it will trigger people to pick it up and decide to fork over their hard-earned money for it.
Illustration often plays a key visual role in Moa’s designs, and that’s something I’m passionate about, and part of the skill-set I bring to in the role. There’s scope to push some of the designs conceptually, so it also helps to be open-minded and to think laterally.
Oh, and trying out some quality craft beer now and then certainly sweetens the deal for me — you’ve got to know your product, after all.
When not working, are you into other creative activities?
I enjoy putting on some good music and working on self-instigated illustration projects. Although that may not sound hugely far removed from my day job, it’s a chance to really let my mind roam, and to try new things. If you can manage to put aside a bit of time for your own creativity it can be revitalising, and some of the ideas may end up feeding back into your day job in some form.
I like a bit of travel too — my wife and I are planning a trip to South America after Christmas for a belated honeymoon, which should be a great refresher and will, no doubt, provide some great creative inspiration.
See more from Moa at: www.moabeer.com
Producing Craft Beer Since 2003 !
And to help further develop your own creative career visit: www.portfoliorecruitment.co.nz