Kieran Parker, our Director of Design, started working for Kuvio Creative in early October of 2016. Since signing on, Kieran has enjoyed working on a variety of complex projects and growing the design arm of Kuvio. Read Kieran’s interview below.
Q: What is your favorite part of your role?
A: My favourite part is getting to work on such complex projects, knowing that each one is going to challenge me in a different way from the last... keeping me on my toes and putting to work everything I have learnt in university and in the positions/projects I have had since. Because designing the same boring old websites over and over again is really no fun.
Q: What is the coolest thing you’ve worked on so far at Kuvio Creative?
A: The coolest thing is a hard one... I would say it is either designing things for Conseris or our client BRIT. Conseris is exciting and fun to work on due to its large scale and challenges that seem to be hard to find solutions to (whether it be that they have not been solved before, or the solution is extremely hard to find) every time we finish one section, we think of 3 more things we want to implement. BRIT, which is currently a work in progress, is also an interesting one due to it being such a large website with plenty of interlinking pages and elements. The CEO, Joseph, and I have to approach it in such a way that uploading a single piece of content to the site will then populate specific areas depending on a specific rule-set for that content type. It's far from a typical website design.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in the coming months?
A: I am really looking forward to seeing how Kuvio grows as a company. We have expanded so quickly and with plenty of new projects coming up so early on in the year, it looks like it is going to be a good one for us all! I am also looking forward to Conseris gaining some traction and getting our first bunch of users, as well as the launch of CiteBlue.
Q: What inspires you?
A: The aim to create things and build a community around them is what inspires me. I have always been a creator, but being a designer, my creations have always been constricted by my limited knowledge to code. But with Kuvio, I get to work with a team that complements my weaknesses so we are able to create projects for ourselves, as well as our clients... to help people with day to day tasks, pain points, or just to create a project for them to sell to users. As long as I get to keep making things and know it is helping someone do something, that is good enough for me.
Q: What does your past experience look like?
A: My past experience is a really good example of why you should never settle for something you are not happy with, regardless of those who judge you or have other expectations for you. I went to college for two years to study Graphic Design and then went to university for 3 years. The entire aim of the university was to get you a junior designer job upon finishing, and they didn’t care who you worked for -- they just drummed it into us that a design job is better than no job.
Well, in my final year of uni, I opened a tattoo studio/art gallery with a friend of mine. I love tattoos and art and I noticed a gap in the market. All tattooists in my area are your typical, heavy metal, dark tattoo shops which make people like me feel uncomfortable and not welcome, so we made a clean, contemporary, extremely modern and welcoming tattoo studio that had enough space to display art from our local art schools and sell it to our customers in the waiting room. My tutor felt this was the wrong path for me, and pushed me to apply for some jobs before I graduated. Even though my studio was the most popular in town, and we were growing fast, quickly buying another large space and hiring a few more tattooists, a photographer, a body piercer, etc, I finally caved and left my studio to my partner so I could join a marketing agency as 1 of 2 designers. Well, this lasted 3 months until I had enough. It was mind-numbingly boring, they didn’t appreciate design, and I was doing work I really did not like. I walked in one day and left.
For the next few months, I went to all the best design agencies around, made some contacts, got some advice and saw that there are no places out there I will enjoy . With these contacts, I decided to go into freelance. It was now almost a year since graduation and I had no full time job and decided to "go it alone". I got work as a freelancer from my many contacts and mentors and found it was fun. I really enjoyed working for 3-5 different agencies rather than picking one. I made plenty of friends and even more contacts, whilst learning things along the way. It felt the best of both worlds, but eventually I wanted something more solid, as living as a freelancer was hard for me. I found that I never knew if next month was the month where my clients wouldn't need anything from me and ultimately I would have no pay, so I knew it was time for another transition.
Q: What did you do next?
A: At the end of the year, I got a job at a well known design agency, but the travel time was really getting to me. I had to leave my house at 6:30am every morning, and wouldn't get home until 7 or 8pm (and that’s if the buses were on time). I made the tricky decision to leave my guaranteed work to go back to freelancing. I felt like no company was ever going to be a right fit for me, and I have always valued happiness over money. For the next year, I got to work on all sorts of things. I truly committed to freelancing now that I knew it was the right move, despite others telling me differently. I made apps for startups, brands, websites, all sorts of stuff! Then, whilst browsing for new clients one day, I saw a post on Reddit. It was Kuvio, looking for a designer! Well, after plenty of people applied, I got hired and got to work on interesting projects right away. The team is amazing, everyone just clicks together perfectly and I know I have finally found a company I never see myself leaving.
To summarise my experience - 2 years of college, 3 years of university, 6 months running a tattoo studio/art gallery, 3 months at a marketing agency, about a year’s worth of freelancing for various design agencies, a month full time at a design agency, then about a year of freelancing for a myriad of clients and businesses.
The lesson is: never settle for something you don’t enjoy.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: That’s a tough one. I’m not really someone who “turns off”. My brain is always thinking of new ways to promote Kuvio, new designs for current projects, and when i’m not working on stuff for Kuvio, I am either working on personal stuff just for fun, or researching what everyone else in the world is creating! However, I do play the occasional video game once a week, just for some down time.
To get in touch with Kieran for any design work feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org