TeaTalk with: Nick Lyons, Digital Designer.
We sit down with Nick, a member of our Creative & Technology Hive, for a cuppa and a chat. We explore what drew him to marketing, what Togetherness means to him and what he enjoys most about working at Cogent.
What inspired you to get involved in Digital Design in particular? Was this something you always wanted to do?
I’d always been surrounded by advertising and marketing from an early age. Both my parents were involved with the creative industry, and I remember being dragged into the printers during the school holidays when I was around 7 or 8.
From there, it grew. I overhead the conversations when briefs were dropped off, and I had access to the computer programmes at home. Watching them and having a go on the software started to get me interested in the technical side of design. From this I started to teach myself, reading up on how to design and build websites, and taking lessons at school.
You then tend to find, if people know you have even a little bit of know-how about websites, you’ll get asked to make one for them. I started designing sites for friends and family, (which I will quite happily not ever look at again…) eventually pursuing it at university.
What is it that makes Cogent different to other places you have worked at?
I was fortunate to get the opportunity to complete a work placement here just after having finished university, and then the same again a few months later. I basically just kept turning up until they offered me a job.
The one thing that really stands out here though is the sense of everyone being in one team. Regularly have I seen colleagues bend over backwards to help someone else out. When the work really needs to get done, everyone will pile in, grab a bit and get working on it. I know it’s been said before in other Tea Talks, but there really is a sense of family here at Cogent, and that’s been consistent in all the years I’ve worked here.
What’s the best advert or piece of design you’ve ever seen and why?
For me, one of the best pieces of advertising I’ve seen, is not something digital, but the consistent work that Guinness has used over the years for the two-part pour.
Anyone who has worked in a pub or bar, or really, drank a Guinness, knows that you are supposed to pour ¾ of the pint, let it stand (for exactly 1 min 32.5 seconds – more on this in a second), then top it up to the top. Guinness call it ‘the surge’, and firmly stand by it being a requirement for that perfect pint – whether you agree with them or not. It originally came from when Guinness changed to cast iron casks and needed to convince drinkers that the quality was the same. The idea that the drink needed a particular way of pouring meant you thought it was something special, better than all the other stouts.
What really stands out though is Guinness’s unwavering commitment to the concept, continuing this with their tagline ‘Good things come to those who wait’. That’s not all, they even follow up with all their adverts lasting 1.32 exactly.
It really shows how much impact an advertising campaign can have; those who came up with the idea back in the 50’s wouldn’t have imagined their concept still being applied to advertising in 2018.
Would you say you have a certain style, something that sits at the heart of all the work your produce?
This really depends on the type of work I’m doing at the time. I think it’s key, that with the wide type of deliverables that I work on, it’s important to not get tied into a particular style on its own. However, it’s important to always consider how a user will interact with your design. Most, if not all of the elements, should serve a purpose, and the user shouldn’t have to think about how they need to use them, it should be instinctual. You need to consider how the user will flow throughout the design, especially with a website, and make sure there are no barriers to this.
What does Togetherness mean to you?
To me, togetherness is when everyone works towards a shared goal. Getting that little bit of extra input from the specialist in your team to improve your design or work. Taking a considered approach in how you can work up a website style guide to support the development team. Not just internally too. Togetherness is also about supporting the client if there are any urgent changes they need to make, and if there’s a better solution, suggesting it. It’s all about collaborative working, with everyone aiming for the same goal.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most and why?
I really enjoy the part of my job where I get to roll out a concept, and it all seems to just click. You can spend a good chunk of time working on lots of different ideas and styles, but when you finally come across that one idea that solves the design problem, and you feel like you’ve cracked it, that’s a great feeling. Being able to develop a design you’re really proud of, and the client really likes is great, it gives you a real sense of achievement.
What’s your favourite kind of project to work on? What really gets your blood pumping?
I really enjoy working on a piece of digital work that has a bit more of a unique usage, especially things that push technology a bit more. Whether that be an interactive bus shelter advert, working with a new type of social media ad, or a fully animated website. As well as that, being part of a complete, multi-channel campaign can be really exciting too. Making your mark within a large campaign, tying it all up into a complete experience across web, display advertising, social media and more can be really engaging.
That’s all from Nick. Keep an eye out for next month’s TeaTalk where we’ll be sitting down with another member of the Cogent family.