So many young people have aspirations to join the creative industries when they enter the workplace, but for the 88% of young women that say they lack female role models in the industry, it can be difficult to find inspiration to help them achieve their ambitions.
So this year, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Nottingham based digital marketing agency Adtrak, are shining a spotlight on some of their incredibly talented female creatives. Read on to find out how they got started in the industry and what they’ve been up to so far in their creative careers!
Becky Bramwell, 27, Lincoln – Web Designer & Front End Developer
Becky joined Adtrak on a part-time basis during her final few months at university. Initially she was looking for some valuable real-life experience that would look good on her CV, but 6 years later, she’s an integral and well-respected member of the web design team, working on a huge range of creative and commercial projects.
“I wasn’t really sure what sort of career I wanted when I was at school, but I enjoyed ICT classes which gave me my first taste of building very basic websites. This was back when Myspace was popular, and I taught myself how to change the colours and adapt my profile theme. I think this was when my interest in design first emerged, and also when I realised I was a hands-on learner!
I ended up taking A Levels in subjects I enjoyed, which included Media and IT, and when it came to applying to university I thought a computer course would suit me best. I found myself at Nottingham Trent University studying Multimedia, which included studying modules on animation and video, before I chose to specialise in web design.
Today I’m working as a Web Design and Front End Developer, with a degree and 6 years experience under my belt. I spend my days designing and building bespoke websites and producing content for marketing campaigns. I’m responsible for the overall visual for most of my projects, so I need a good understanding of user experience, layout and hierarchy, and I need to utilise my creativity to combine all this technical knowledge into a project that not only functions well, but looks great, engages users, and achieves the commercial objectives of my clients.
I’m happy in my role at Adtrak and I’m focusing on creating strong designs for our clients. Working in web design has been a natural progression for me; and i’m where I am now because at each step in my education, I simply chose the courses and pathways that interested me most.”
Caroline Hill, 30, West Bridgford – Graphic Designer
Caroline joined Adtrak 5 years ago as a Graphic Designer and has worked on some of our most exciting branding and design projects, represented Adtrak at key industry events and become a mentor for other female designers in her team.
“I think I knew from a young age that I wanted a creative job. When I was much younger, my uncomplicated mind thought that meant drawing caricature portraits in Disney world, for which I would practice relentlessly, offending every single one of my subjects in the process. As I grew older I became more aware of my options. I discovered that I enjoyed designing logos, even if they were only crude sketches of my name in textbooks.
After school, I went on to do an Art Foundation course at college. It was here I realised why I wanted to go down the route of Graphic Design; I enjoyed the history, rules and theory. But it wasn’t until I began my degree that I learnt to use this knowledge to break out of the box and trust my creative instincts. I studied at Nottingham Trent University and I loved being around like-minded people. I realise now that what university offered was the freedom to flex my creative brain limitlessly, and I consider that to be the most valuable part of my education.
8 years on from my graduation, I work at Adtrak as a Graphic Design Team Leader. I’ve been at Adtrak for the past 5 years. The advantage of working for an agency like Adtrak is that the work is always changing. I have multiple clients and projects, for which I enjoy the balance and scope of the job. In the Graphic Design Department we design everything from flyers and adverts to large scale brand identity projects. The pace of the job and the variety of projects suits me down to the ground. I also oversee a small team of designers, helping them to develop their skills and keeping track of the day-to-day organisation of our work load.
As a creative department we instinctively seek inspiration from each other, the industry and the interesting parts of life in general. We’re collectively learning new skills such as motion graphics to ensure we stay fresh and current. Expanding my skills in this direction is particularly important to me, as I was trained primarily in print design. I think it’s important to continue learning long after you finish education. The skills I’ve absorbed in this role have been invaluable to me, and in a large part I have my colleagues and friends to thank for that.
I can’t say what the future holds for me, I don’t like to predict. However I strongly believe that retaining an active interest and love with creativity is key to my development. The best advice I could give anyone is to trust your instincts and when it comes to your career, and ultimately do what makes you feel happy.”
Amanda Hallam, 34, Long Bennington – Marketing Consultant
Amanda has been working as a digital marketing consultant at Adtrak since 2012. Whilst many see marketing as a technical, rather than creative skill, Amanda uses her creativity to design and implement a range innovative content and marketing ideas.
“I landed in marketing almost accidently after completing an Art Foundation Course and Textile Design degree. My first job was for a jewellery company, who spotted my CV online and requested I go in for an interview based on the photography work i’d completed during my education. I was hired by the Marketing Director to manage the company’s Facebook page, and that was the beginning of my marketing career!
My current role at Adtrak has developed over the years and now I spend much of my day building social media strategies for a number of clients. Of course, I undertake lots of typical marketing duties such as reporting on key metrics and monitoring campaign performance. But for me, I find defining each client’s tone of voice and brand image to be the most creatively satisfying; it’s my job to create engaging content and manage social interaction with followers in a tone that suits the personality of the brand.
My advice to other creative minds looking for a new career, is to not discount huge portions of the job market, based on your perception of the work. Although not the path I had in mind when started my degree, I’ve found marketing to be the perfect creative outlet. I love crafting humorous content that resonates with people across social media platforms; and working in a B2B agency, I enjoy the challenge of taking the sometimes mundane and making it engaging – I’ve recently completed a range of creative graphics based around construction jokes and puns for a building and timber merchant that has been particularly successful!
I am always learning; keeping up to date with social media trends and industry developments and techniques, means I can design innovative campaigns that captivate my audience, and ensures my work is never boring!”
Fiona Spice, 28, Aspley – Head of Copywriting
Fiona joined Adtrak 5 years ago as a copywriter and since then she has not only produced some incredible copy for a huge range of clients, but having joined the managerial team, she has been key to growing the department by spotting other talented writers to recruit!
“I studied Journalism and Sociology at university in London and that was my first introduction to different writing techniques as I learnt to write engaging, purposeful content. Once I graduated, I moved back home to Guildford for a year, and after sending countless applications out to London-based publications, I managed to land myself a few internships at some popular magazines (including Heat, Woman and Home and Best) where I got to put my writing skills and degree into practice! It was at these internships that I really caught the bug for writing – I loved the creative environment and collaborative working and knew that it was a career I wanted to pursue.
I moved to Nottingham having built up more experience in the written world and office-based work, but at the time creative writing jobs were few and far between. Creative jobs are in such high demand, that they are often filled quickly so it’s essential to keep looking – something will come up and you need be first to spot the ad and first in the queue of applicants!
I eventually found my perfect job as a copywriter at Adtrak, and began writing blog posts for our eclectic mix of clients. This allowed me to experiment with the different styles i’d studied at uni and in my internships, and I began to work with more commercial language. This really put my creative skills to the the test, and I enjoyed the challenge of finding new and engaging ways to persuade my readers to take action; whether that was to pick up the phone and call the client, buy a product or sign up to a mailing list! As I built up more experience and learnt how to tailor my writing to different pieces of work – I branched out into website copy and became part of content marketing teams, producing a wider range of more creative work for brochures, infographics and video scripts which meant I also had to consider the visual effect and the sound of my writing.
In my current role as Head of Copy, my work has taken a more managerial route and now mainly involves overseeing a department of talented writers and the production of all kinds of copy and content. My creativity now is more likely to be channeled into ways of progressing my team. Adtrak is relatively unique in having so many dedicated copywriters, so it’s really rewarding when I find out that a piece of our creative work is performing well or we become involved with new products which require a different style of writing. I’m lucky to have a great team who are all focused on achieving one thing: creating engaging copy!”
For more information, visit www.adtrak.co.uk