How to get a design job at a top creative consultancy

Radley Yeldar's William Yeung is one of 12 exceptional designers and studio members to have been named a 2015 Computer Arts' Unsung Hero.

Image: Jordan Andrew Carter

Image: Jordan Andrew Carter

Launched to celebrate the design world's real stars, the Unsung Hero Awards is a brand new scheme that champions the exceptional behind-the-scenes designers and team members at the world's studios and agencies – and uncovers what you can learn from their success.

All 12 winners are revealed in Computer Arts 242, on sale now.

Unusually, Yeung has a degree in physics. In 2011 he moved from Hong Kong to London to study a masters in graphic branding and identity at London College of Communication, before interning at the Partners – amongst other design firms – and landing his first job at leading corporate communications consultancy Radley Yeldar.

He was nominated by Radley Yeldar creative director Damian Nowell for his "major contribution" to the firm's event identity for TEDxHouses of Parliament. "William worked effortlessly with our client and team to impeccably execute a brilliantly simple and clever idea," says Nowell.

Here, Yeung explains what his day-to-day job as a designer involves, the biggest lessons he's learned on the job and what a designer needs to do to get hired by a top firm like Radley Yeldar.

What does your degree in physics bring to your design work?

Radley Yeldar's event identity for TEDxHouses of Parliament

Radley Yeldar's event identity for TEDxHouses of Parliament

Scientific thinking is still my major thinking methodology. When this works with the horizontal thinking I learned in design, it gives me a wider spectrum of possibility.

How has your role as a designer evolved?

I get more involvement in planning stages, brainstorming together with bigger teams, collaborating with different specialists and more chances to do presentations and share my thinking with clients and whole company.

What's the most challenging part?

The event identity for TEDxHouses of Parliament also spanned print

The event identity for TEDxHouses of Parliament also spanned print

I try to push the creativity further in every project, but fresh ideas always have risks. Experimentation takes time and can increase the workload. Even if the design works well, a fresh idea can be a big challenge for clients.

It's important that I have a strong belief in my idea, and find the best way to build the logic connecting strategy and design. Once I believe in my solution, I will make it work no matter how many failures or time spent. At the same time, I have to try to understand the clients' difficulties and communicate with them well.

What's the more rewarding part?

I enjoy the challenge of every project. The more complex and abstract the project, the more I enjoy spending time on them. I love problem-solving and also love creating a bigger challenge for myself to solve.

How did you create a visual identity that encompassed two brands as unique as TEDx and the UK's Houses of Parliament?

A vehicle graphic for Radley Yeldar's TEDxHouses of Parliament identity

A vehicle graphic for Radley Yeldar's TEDxHouses of Parliament identity

The 'Voice of London' was at the heart of the TEDx's stated mission. The identity re-drew the shape of the Houses of Parliament building as a 'sound wave'.

The device is both immediately recognisable and infinitely extendable to event collateral, scaling up to dress the stage with impact and scaling down to promotional merchandise.

What was the biggest lesson you've learned from the project?

Creative ideas are always important in design, but without a great team that works well together, even a great idea can't be worked out. In the TEDx project, I worked with my creative director, Damian Nowell, client director, Nicola Gunn and project manager, Kate Volika – they are the best team.

I always enjoy working with them. They always have great ideas to inspire me and fully support to push ideas together. We have the same vision to challenge every project.

What three tips would you give to a designer aspiring to work at a firm like Radley Yeldar?

  1. A beautiful design without a proper strategy support is not impressive, and a nice strategy with an uninspired graphic is not emotional. Everyone understands this, but sometimes when we face a real design challenge or are limited in time, we compromise. Never lost the soul to do a good design that you're proud of.
  2. Start any project with an open mind, be brave and take risks in exploration, be confident to work out the idea you think is right, listen and be critical to the comments you get, and review your design from time to time.
  3. Never compromise in a design if you feel it's wrong.

Designer job CV, Radley Yeldar

William Yeung's key responsibilities:

  • Creative thinking and problem-solving
  • To develop ideas from draft to final executions
  • To art direct and collaborate with professionals from different sectors
  • Support the team to deliver quality works on time

Skills needed:

  • The ability to have fresh ideas, challenge the brief and solve creative problems
  • Strong design skills
  • Logical thinking
  • Great communication skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Experience in multimedia design

Don't miss the full Unsung Heroes article inside Computer Arts issue 242, a typography special – on sale now. Click here to save up to 59% by subscribing to the world's best selling-design magazine.

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Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.