Author: CristeleSaric

Motion and branding for Sky Sports: Katarina Duvnjak 

This week, the Baseline Shift team welcomed Katarina Duvjnak for a talk about her career in motion and branding for Sky sports, and her experiences after graduating from our department.  

Branching out  

After graduating in 2012, Katarina decided to study abroad for a semester in Australia. She went to Monash University, Melbourne, to study illustration. Shortly after that, through networking and successfully nailing the interview for Sky sports, she got into motion and branding design at Sky, even though she had little to no experience in using motion software at the time. 

Some of Katarina’s work during her time at Monash university studying illustration.

From these early steps as a graduate to an invigorating career as a senior designer at Sky Sports, Katarina learnt that developing multiple skills in different sectors was helpful in making her work visually captivating and different. With her experience in illustration at … university and her graphic communications degree from Reading, she has since landed multiple successful projects for Sky, such as the royal wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry, the Brexit countdown campaign and the Madeline McCann documentary tracing back to the early moments of the investigation 

Katarina’s promotional campaign for the Royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Sky)
Katarina’s promotional campaign for the official announcement of the UK Brexit (Sky)
Katarina’s project for the Madeleine McCann 10-year anniversary documentary (Sky)

The department’s Real Job scheme is an opportunity to do this searching of news skills during our studies at the department; the scheme offers an introduction into different areas of design– through the wide array of different opportunities and clients and working on different projects with different deliverable requirements. Real Jobs are a good way to test out multiple avenues, develop new skills and have a better idea of what we like and dislike. But there is so much more out there that we can explore; looking into different avenues outside of the department is part of the journey of being a successful designer. Trying to study design in a different country for instance could be a potential way for self and creative development! 

 Learning doesn’t stop at university 

From the start of our studies at Reading to our first job interviews as graduates from the department, we will acquire a decent amount of technical and design skills, as well as relatively good knowledge of design theory. Even though Katarina had successfully graduated from the department and had acquired experience in Australia, her expectations of the interview with Sky were those that we’ll all get to experience at least once. Stressed, feeling like she was on trial for something and being blinded by the need to impress an employer. Feeling unworthy of a good professional opportunity is a trap we’re likely to fall into, especially as young designers who have just entered the industry.  

However, Katarina’s talk was incredibly encouraging in that prospect; as designers, we have all the base knowledge we need to manage landing a good job. If we have a good design process and can show that we can solve design problems, we are very much able to get a job.  

‘If you can sell an idea and you can show the research behind it, you’ve got a winner’  

While Katarina started off at Sky with no knowledge of the motion software, she learned everything while being on the job, learning from senior designers, her team, through mistakes and being determined to keep going.  

 ‘Always aim high and love what you do.’  

 Conclusion 

As students, we still have a lot to learn. The course and doing real jobs are motivators in getting ourselves out there, finding out what we like and practising our skills in the real world. But Katarina’s experience shows us that learning doesn’t stop at university; we could travel, do something entirely different to graphic design, and still have so much more to learn once we land our first jobs. The journey to becoming a successful designer is through exposure, talking to peers, making friends, doing things that we love and showing how we got there.  


Student quotes 

 “The talk was very interesting and exciting. Seeing designers who move to work in different disciplines is very helpful” – Part 3 student 

“The way Katarina explained her design choices and reasoning helped me understand her thought process. As I have been watching Sky for years it was interesting to see the depth behind her design work and look past the end product. I also found her experience of studying abroad in Australia interesting and it has encouraged me to look into doing that later in my studies.” – Part 1 student  

I am, we are… different by design

This week’s Baseline Shift welcomed our student-led diversity team – I am, we are… different by design – to organise a workshop and a talk about inclusivity and diversity in design and how we can encourage it more within the graphic design, communication and the arts. Diversity and inclusion has been more so than ever a burning issue for all of us this year, and staying aware is crucial for all of us to change our systems for a more overall inclusive society. The I am, we are… different by design team help us all to understand how as a designer you can make a change, and start discussions with the right tools.

The meaning of ‘inclusive design’

‘Having the conversation is a huge step towards inclusion in our field.’

In order to first do so, the team discussed the meaning of the term ‘inclusive design’ with students. Some students said:

‘Culture’

‘Designing for everyone by everyone’

‘Acknowledging and being interested in difference’

The team picked up on the word ‘culture’, and explained that it is a common misconception to think that everything to do with inclusivity in the industry ties itself to culture. In fact, they explained that the term grouped much bigger aspects of design that, in daily life we don’t necessarily pay attention to.

The team presented ‘inclusive design’ as a wide circle of possibilities. Extending beyond culture, inclusivity begins with considering the disabilities people may have, their gender, sexuality, age and more. For your design to truly cater to everyone’s needs, it is important to understand where the definition of inclusivity lies.

Designing for everyone

By understanding what inclusive design is, you automatically set yourself up to design for a wide audience. This entails a careful consideration of the spectrum of your user’s expectations and needs when handling or seeing your product. A good example of this was American artist and graphic designer Susan Kare’s creation of the mailbox icon.

Susan Kare’s mail box icons featuring (left) the approved proposal and (right) the unapproved first proposal she made.

Kare’s first proposal for the email icon was refused (see second icon in the image above). The reason why was because mail boxes like this one are a common way for Americans to receive mail. An American user would know what the icon meant but for a non-American user, the icon would’ve been unrelatable and seem foreign. Conclusively, Kare’s envelope icon was a success in terms of making it relatable on a global and worldwide scale.

Learning how to be more inclusive is an increasingly prevalent concept throughout the duration of the course. In Part 2 you take on app design, and you are encouraged to consider how to tailor your app to a target user, carefully considering their needs and the problems they may encounter.

Understanding your user

Understanding your user is the first step to creating a product that feels relatable and personal. In order to successfully achieve that in your designs, doing some research into your target audience is a great place to start. As we have seen previously with Kare’s icon proposals, gaining knowledge from the people you are designing for is essential. If you are creating an app for a certain age, say seniors, you would have to consider any disabilities they may have, such as vision problems or arthritis, and how they would interact with your app. The use of a light and dark mode for people with visual impairments is a great example of an inclusive feature of an app or a website for people with astigmatism. It is about adapting your designs to a more diverse audience.

‘It all comes back to the user.’

Light and dark mode.

The next step to understanding your user is to create user personas. They help you with empathising with your target audience by outlining specific problems that users may encounter with your product. The more you define clear problems or inconveniences your users may have, the more precise your solutions will be in satisfying your user’s needs.

An example of a successful understanding of your user needs, would be in the designing of a label on a product. Say your product contains certain allergens that could be lethal to anyone who is allergic; if your user has a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, you would want to make sure your use of typography, contrast and size is suitable for your user’s needs.

Talk!

The main point we can take from this session is that learning about each other is crucial. Understanding your users comes first through doing a sufficient amount of research about them. This research doesn’t only just come from using the internet, but also through talking to your peers, whether they be of a different nationality, speak a different language and people who may be of a different age than yourself who may have a different way of perceiving and experiencing our society. Listening is the key component of learning from each other. 

You will not only be building strong links with people who know your field, but also be broadening your mind and knowledge about how different people would use your product and resonate with it.

Getting involved

The course offers lots of opportunities for you to get involved with actively making design and the arts more inclusive. You can join the diversity team. Doing so offers a great deal of discussion about diversity within the arts and provides you with a set of valuable skills that you would benefit from after graduating. In previous years, the team have helped organise the Tate Exchange, where they get to host a workshop at the Tate Museum in London for people from all walks of life, and creatively think about a common topic.

Work produced at this year’s Tate Exchange workshop on the notion of ‘power’.

The team also published a zine fr the past three years in which they cover various topics regarding diversity in design, and interview people that are embracing it and celebrating differences. Issue 3 is now out, in which the team interviewed Greg Bunbury. You can pick up a copy in the department.

The cover of issue 3 of the zine.

The diversity team is a splendid example of the freedom you get as a student here in the department, to use design to make your voice heard. When the team was formed in 2017, they worked together with our lecturers to create the Part 3 module ‘Design for change’.

By getting involved with the team and letting your voice be heard, you learn how to overcome the challenges of using design to fight for what is right to you.

‘Challenge yourself and try and be more inclusive.’

A spread from issue 3 of the zine discussing the ‘Design for change’ module.

Reflection 

Inclusive design is at the forefront of the industry right now. Consciously looking to be more inclusive whilst also partaking in the opportunities that the Department offers is the best way to build your confidence in what you can do as a student, and to create more impactful designs on the course. Being a part of something bigger than the curriculum is beneficial not only for your career, but for your practice as a designer. In the long run, having an understanding of the power you own as a designer is the greatest tool you have to create change for the better.

The team at the Tate Exchange earlier this year.

If you would like to join the team, feel free to contact the team via our Instagram: @uortypography 

 


Students’ thoughts

‘I really enjoyed the subject matter that was discussed as I feel it’s something which needs to be discussed more and actions need to be taken into account especially how things are politically. What I valued most was how the team organise projects and work together and spread out the workload.’ – Part 1 student

‘Learning about the ways to become more inclusive in design was extremely useful, as graphic design is design for an audience.’ – Part 1 student