Always on hand to help the team, Lou is our amazing Lead Creative Designer – and she couldn’t be better suited to the role! With plenty of experience behind her, she’s been at Learning Nexus for almost a decade, making her perfectly placed to guide the team in honing their skills and reaching their full potential. We sat down with her to chat about her dynamic role…
Can you talk us through your role as Lead Creative Designer at Learning Nexus?
I job share with our other Lead Creative Designer, Amber, to finalise design routes, quality check work, talk to clients, and carry out project scooping. We’ll also work on digital courses, create animations and eBytes, and make sure that what we’re sending out is to a high standard.
We also train Learning Nexus designers in Storyline and animation, and answer any questions they might have!
Can you talk about the path that led you to this role?
I studied Animation at university, and that was pretty fun as I got to experiment with a range of different styles of animation, including how to use After Effects, and using paper animations on a light board. I made puppets and stock motion animation in the studio there, and that was good as you don’t get much chance to do that outside of university. It’s great to animate a character hands-on as its totally different to a computer!
After that, I became a camera person, filming training videos for the army in helicopters. I did it in Cyprus, and at barracks all around the UK. I brought animation into that as well because I could see there was a gap in the videos we were making.
Next I worked in a college where I taught 3D modelling, animation, graphic design, games-making and IT for a year, and that was really fun!
How long have you been at Learning Nexus now?
Nearly 10 years! Its mad because over 10 years I’ve seen so much stuff change. When I started, my job description was a little paragraph and it was literally along the lines of ‘we just need someone to put images next to text’.
What does your role involve on a daily basis?
It depends on the day and what I’ve got on. Sometimes I come in and I’ve got a nice course to build and I’ll draw the assets for that or create the animations. Other days, I’ll be working on an eByte or animation, and that can involve storyboarding and drawing the assets and animating it. Other days, I’m talking to people or going on a film shoot somewhere, or I might be doing a mix of all of them, checking other people’s work and making sure they’re okay.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Learning Nexus?
Definitely the eBytes – making them is just so fun and creative! You have no-one telling you no, you can’t do that. Its mainly because the points that the eBytes are trying to get across are usually so dry, and Amber and I just make it our mission to try and show them in the least dry way you can, and try to find the most mad analogies. For one recent eByte, we had to demonstrate how to take feedback – it’s just the little blue monster making a burger wrong in a burger shop, and you just think where else do I get to do things like this? It’s really fun!
Anything we can think of we will try to get into eBytes, we don’t try to make it silly or funny but the characters just lighten it up, to try and make people smirk and try and lighten up training that people get sent. Its unusual, especially as I’m really self-critical, that I look back on work from 1,2 or 3 years ago and I still like it, but I do still really like the eBytes!
What are the main challenges you face in your role?
Probably doing the same thing for such a long time! Styles change so what looked nice 2, 3, or 4 years ago does not look nice now, so you’re having to constantly keep up with styles changes, and what’s fashionable!
How do you keep up to date with it?
I’m always on Twitter as I love the things that people post. I follow so many artists and studios. Behance is also a great website for keeping on top of what’s popular, and style-wise, because you’ll find one style gets used and then other people start doing it – and trends escalate pretty quickly!
Keeping on top of this stuff it’s not super challenging, but you always need to keep an eye on it, and when you don’t always have the ability to go back to older work and finesse it as soon as you’d like to. That can be a bit hard to let go but you just have to let it run and get round to changing it when you can.
Finally, what do you do to chill out and relax?
I either draw, run, go to the woods, or spend time with my kids – and I like to plan mini games!