We Are Randox | Secrets of a Graphic Design Team
Ever wondered what it’s like to be part of the Graphic Design team here at Randox? Well who better to ask than one of our Heads of Design, Caoimhin Magee!
From navigating Illustrator to finding inspiration, collaborating on projects to taking part in creative sessions, and following proofing systems to encouraging professional development, Caoimhin shares all the secrets of one of the most creative departments in our global healthcare company.
Here’s Caiomhin’s story.
When I’m telling people the story of how I came to be Head of Design for such a prestigious company as the sponsor of the Randox Health Grand National, I like to start by saying that there is no one way to become a Graphic Designer.
My background is actually in architecture, which I studied at Queen’s University in Belfast for four years. But I realised that it just wasn’t for me. Although there was a certain element of creativity in my architecture degree, there was also a very heavy focus on maths and physics, and it just wasn’t what I pictured myself doing. I started thinking about changing to a fine arts degree to give me a bit more freedom creatively, but instead of rushing in to making a decision, I took some time out to go travelling across Australia and some of South East Asia.
When I returned home I worked for some time in a printing business in Lurgan, designing and printing a range of stationery for local businesses, and menus for local bars and restaurants.
Then I heard about a Graphic Design course at Shillington College, a design school run by a guy called Andy Shillington. He has schools in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, London, Manchester and New York, and so I made my way over to the Manchester school to begin training to be a Graphic Designer.
Basically, it was the same as an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design…
…but squeezed into an intense three months. Everyone studying there had come from different backgrounds and career disciplines but we all started at the same point, learning everything you needed to know to work in the Graphic Design industry – perfecting different design techniques and getting to grips with a range of design software.
Then at the end we were each awarded a Certificate of Education, which is recognised by major design organisations, like Adobe. We all graduated and showcased our work at a Graduate Show in Shillington, which was attended by some really big names in the design community. London might be the most obvious city choice for a design career in the UK, but Manchester is very quickly catching up. There’s a real creative hub there and so on the night of my graduation there some really prestigious designers flicking through my portfolio. I was lucky enough to secure some great freelance work in Manchester and Liverpool after I graduated.
But then I heard about a design job with Randox and it allowed me the opportunity to move back home and to secure a fulltime job.
What’s so great about working here is that you go in, and effectively you’re just given your own brand to make as exciting as you can. You’re immediately given the responsibility and trust that you would only get after working in an agency for several years. Whether you work on the design for Randox Reagents, or Randox Biosciences, or Randox Toxicology, you can go in and put your own stamp on that division.
I always make sure therefore, when talking to designers who are considering coming to work for us, to highlight that there are no Junior Designers in Randox. Everyone works on an equal pegging and we all support each other.
When I moved up to Head of Design here in Randox there were a few new policies that I introduced to improve this sense of collaboration. Even though we each work on our own unique and independent Randox product division, I requested a redesign of the marketing and design office space, so that our designers were each paired off with each other.
Each designer therefore sits beside another designer and we can all keep track of each other’s work and projects, so that we keep a certain level of consistency under the parent brand of Randox. Working in this way also allows us to take inspiration from each other and help complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
For example, our Motion Graphics Designer Anthony obviously has a very particular skillset, so he’s helping me improve my talents in that area. In turn I’m helping him develop his abilities in our Illustrator software because that’s where my own strengths lie.
I’ve also introduced a Design Studio where the work of our designers is showcased for everyone to see. Not only does it instil a sense of pride in our work by using it to decorate the office, and showing it to our colleagues, but again it helps us keep track of what other designers are currently working on and makes sure we’re each using the correct typefaces and established colour schemes. It’s the final stage of the proofing system when we finally see the finished piece of artwork up on the wall for everyone to see.
In the Design Studio you can really see the eclectic mix of projects on which we get to work. It ranges from virtual reality video, to app design, to brochures for global events like AACC, the American Association of Clinical Chemistry. There is such variety in what we do and there’s always a new challenge to put your hand to. Randox is the perfect place to be if you want to grow your skillset.
Working here also provides us with the opportunity to develop key business skills in the design market. Relationship building with printers for example, is key, and we do that pretty much every day here. I honestly can’t think of anywhere else that offers the same level of professional development as Randox.
I’m very proud of the team we now have in place here. We all work really well together and are making such good progress in our own capabilities and confidence. We even have a Summer Placement Student, Katie, currently working with us, who is really impressing everybody with her ability and enthusiasm.
I’m sure that the Graphic Design team at Randox will continue to grow and develop, and I can’t wait to see where the coming months and years will take us.
For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.
For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com
Pictured above: The Randox Graphic Design Team
Front row left to right: Anne Smith, Katie McLernon, Melissa Hull
Middle row left to right: Elizabeth Moran, Amy Fekkes, Anthony Heaney
Back row left to right: Niall McCafferty, Maxwell Brown, Colm Douglas, Caoimhin Magee
At Randox we pride ourselves on being a global company with an international team of over 1400 people from 145 different countries.
Our dedicated workforce have a range of talents and skills that they bring with them to Randox each day. But the commitment and dedication of our hard-working workforce doesn’t end when they leave the office. Randox employees have a wide range of hobbies and interesting talents and we are delighted to be able to share some of these with you through our We Are Randox series.
Recently Monika, one of our valued Manufacturing and Despatch Operatives at Randox took the time to tell us about her passion for designing and creating unique handmade costumes for Festivals found throughout Northern Ireland.
Here is Monika’s story:
“I joined Randox in Northern Ireland roughly about 5 months ago as a Manufacturing and Despatch Operative in our Mivan site based in Crumlin. I was really happy to land a job within an international organisation that employed a wide range of people from different cultures and different backgrounds.
Back in Poland, where I am originally from, I studied full time for 6 years in the OSSP Art School. For as long as I can remember I have always been interested in arts and crafts so it came naturally to me when I first started to design costumes.
I prefer to design my own original work and not copy anyone else’s designs. My favourite type of costumes to design are ancient religious characters from past centuries and eras. As there is no proof or documentation which illustrates what they ‘should’ look like, it gives me free reign to be as creative as I want to be. Nobody is able to say whether your design is right or wrong, you can only imagine what it is supposed to look like.
There are a variety of different festivals and competitions that I am able to enter including the MCM Comic Con and the Show Master competition. The first competition that I entered here in Northern Ireland was the MCM Comic Con in 2015 which takes place every year in Belfast. It takes me roughly around 100 hours to make one costume as they are all handmade so it takes a lot of time, effort and dedication. This festival attracts about 16,000 people each time so I was thrilled to win first place the first time that I entered!
The winning design I created was an old European folklore costume that the judges loved. This encouraged me to enter the summer MCM Comic competition which took place in July. I designed an Aztec God costume for this entry and ended up coming in at first place again which was a great achievement. I was presented with a trophy and money voucher when I won both of these competitions which was great.
The next competition that I hope to enter is the 2017 MCM Comic Con competition which is set to take place in March. For the March competition I am designing a Witch Doctor outfit and I am intrigued to see what way the final design will turn out.
I’m a fully qualified artist and every costume I design I can sell on under my brand name – Eliot Von Valentino – but they are all quite expensive.
Everything I create is handmade using materials such as leather which is extremely costly. I had to skin my leather sofa once to get the amount of leather that I needed to create my design!
I also use natural gem stones which are all individually sewed on. I take a lot of pride in my designs and I finance them all myself which is sometimes difficult as the materials needed to complete my designs are so expensive and hard to come by.
In the future I have high aspirations to enter the bigger competitions that take place in London. They draw in crowds of 120,000 so it would be a good opportunity to showcase my work to such a large scale audience.”
We look forward to seeing Monika’s latest design this coming March for her next competition. Good Luck Monika!
If you are interested in joining the multi-talented and passionate team we have here at Randox please visit our careers page for current vacancies.