Is your design role right for you?

Creative training brings skills that can make you shine in other roles, as designer-turned-account handler Louisa Phillips explains.

An eagle eye for detail, in-depth understanding of the design process and a keen grasp of what makes great branding, all gleaned from her background as a designer, made Louisa Phillips ideal for her new role as account director at Handsome. Here, she explains what she's been up to at the branding agency, and why account handling was the natural progression to expand her skillset as a creative.

What's your new job title, and what does the role entail?

I'm account director at Handsome's London studio. My job is to make sure everything that's supposed to be happening, is happening - that our projects are delivered on brief, on budget and on time. I also make sure our clients are happy, and we're helping to build their businesses through effective design.

Tell us a little about your career so far...

Initially I worked as a graphic designer, but then decided to move into account handling and I haven't looked back since. For me, it's the perfect combination of working in a creative environment and developing my skills. I meet clients, travel, and get involved with workshops, along with a whole host of other things.

Why did you decide to go for this job?

I'd been thinking about a new challenge and the position with Handsome came up. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to get involved in a unique business with lots of potential, so I went for it.

Handsome works as a collective of over 10 senior design professionals with over 20 years of design experience, so it's an excellent opportunity to learn from a hugely experienced and award-winning design team. It's still a relatively small business, and I loved the idea of being able to shape things and make a real difference.

What have you brought to this role from your training as a graphic designer?

I would say I have an eagle eye when it comes to detail - I'd like to think that not much gets past me. Studying for a BA Hons in graphic design and working as a designer have both enabled me to really appreciate good design as well as providing me with a clear understanding of the process and an ability to accurately gauge how long great design work realistically takes to produce.

What have been the biggest challenges of this new position?

After working at London-based agency Purpose for five years, I needed to change my mindset slightly - it's easy to become conditioned to doing things in a certain way. It's been a good challenge to shake things up a little and step out of my comfort zone.

What does a typical day in your new role entail?

It can be anything from meeting with clients, researching their business and current challenges or attending the AGI conference to managing the studio, freelancers and accounts. The good thing about working in a small agency is that each day is always varied and the work is really hands-on.

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 222.

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