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
As a global company with over 1400 employees of 44 different nationalities, we know that the key to success is having a diverse and multi-talented team.
We’re passionate about celebrating the talent and creativity of our Randox employees who make Randox as great as it is today, and who each have their own unique and interesting story to tell.
This week, we had a quick Q&A session with our Lead Graphic Designer, Anne Smith, to hear about her role in Team Randox and what makes her job so exciting.
Spoiler Alert: She’s designed the logo for the world’s greatest race…
Anne, tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be Lead Graphic Designer at Randox.
I studied Art for GCSE and A-Level before choosing to study Graphic Design and Illustration at Ulster University’s Belfast Campus. My course was really interesting and it allowed me to get to grips with using digital design software, including the key Adobe software packages; Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I particularly enjoyed studying the more niche design areas of Typography and Illustration, and learning these new skills instilled in me the ambition to work in a fast-paced, international company with a wide range of different design projects on offer. I wanted to not only utilise my current design skills, but also have the opportunity to learn new ones. So that’s what motivated me to apply for a job at Randox when I graduated!
How did you originally find out about roles in Graphic Design at Randox?
I found out about opportunities in Graphic Design at Randox through the Job Centre NI. Randox has always been a name that people in Northern Ireland know as a key business and employer, but I never really thought about there being Graphic Design jobs in a diagnostics company! I suppose most people think of Graphic Design jobs being in Design or Marketing Agencies, but it’s important to know that many major companies have their own in-house Design Teams. Randox is one such company and has provided me with an incredibly dynamic, exciting job because there’s always something new going on here.
What are the different Graphic Design roles across the company?
We currently have a team of seven Graphic Designers here at Randox and we work across a range of our product divisions. We each have a dedicated product group which we look after – so that could be Randox Quality Control, Randox Biosciences, Randox Health, Corporate Events, or anything in between. As the company grows and the demand for more design material increases, we will want to expand the Graphic Design Team even further.
What does being a designer at Randox involve on a daily basis?
Graphic Design is so varied – one minute I could be designing brochures for a new Randox product, and the next presenting a storyboard concept to our Marketing Managers for a new corporate video. Within each product group we work on producing promotional material such as brochures, pop-up stands, social media graphics, and newsletters. I also look after corporate design such as employee business cards and recruitment adverts.
What has been your proudest achievement while working with Randox?
That would definitely have to be when my design for the Randox Health Grand National logo was officially finalised and released to the public! A lot of hard work and creativity went in to designing the new logo for the world’s greatest race and I’m proud to say that it’s my design.
How did the opportunity come about to design the Randox Health Grand National logo?
We’re very proud of the fact that at Randox we have such fantastic talent in our Marketing teams, and as such we like to keep all elements of our Marketing in-house. When Randox Health and our partners at The Jockey Club decided to create a new logo to accompany the new sponsorship, our Graphic Design Team were given the opportunity to come up with our ideas for the new logo. The final decision was then a two-step process – we presented our logo ideas to our Randox Marketing Managers, and The Jockey Club Team, and we also let all Randox employees vote for their favourite logo. I was delighted when my design was chosen!
What’s the creative process involved in coming up with a new design?
Every piece of design is different but in this instance there were a lot of key messages we wanted to get across with the Randox Health Grand National logo. When we’re asked to produce a new design we’re usually given a brief with the key messages, and in this case it was the speed, agility and excitement of horse racing. So I went away and came up with a few different concepts that I felt portrayed this speed and excitement, and after much consideration chose my final design!
What does it feel like knowing your design will be seen by 600,000,000 people across the world during the Randox Health Grand National?
Really exciting! Our team went to the Grand National 2016 in April, and the site is incredible. The racecourse and the surrounding site is so expansive, and to think that my logo will be displayed across it, and therefore seen by the world, is just amazing.
Between now and April when the Randox Health Grand National takes place, what artwork will you be creating?
There’s a lot of branding that needs to be done – for the racecourse, the Aintree site, the Liverpool area, and additionally lots of adverts, editorials and online branding such as for our website and social media. We won’t be short of work to do!
Do you have any advice for people considering a job in Graphic Design?
There are many challenges that come with working in Graphic Design. Quite often the creation of a new design can be a lengthy process, as you will have to make several changes and amendments to a design before a final concept is chosen. However, it is important to appreciate the huge amount of thought and consideration put in to each and every element of a new design, and to know that all the hard work will be worth it in the end! There is no prouder feeling than seeing your hard work going to print. I never thought that I would be the Designer for the Official Randox Health Grand National logo, but here I am, and I couldn’t be prouder.