Junior banana

Square Banana is on the lookout for a new junior designer to join the ranks. Whilst I’ve visited a few degree shows in the past weeks and chatted to a few individuals, I thought it was worth putting together a loose job description and some key attributes. This should be read in conjunction with a post I wrote back in 2013 – here – as much of this still holds true.

Overview

If you’ve read any of the SB blog posts, you will realise that our work is incredibly varied. We not only get to work on a huge variety of different products within different markets, but we work at both ends of (and throughout) the product design process spectrum. Some weeks we will be developing a creative workshop structure for an FMCG brand, and others we will be specifying a suite of injection mould tools for a healthcare product. It is almost impossible to categorise what we do in simple terms, which makes it particularly difficult to find talented young designers with the tenacity, breadth and drive to tackle every project we work on. It is not enough to be ‘good at the concept stage’ or ‘fond of consumer research’. The brilliant thing about this job is the sheer unpredictability and skills bandwidth required to do it.

Key ‘design’ skills required;

  1. Sketching ability – you will need to convey your design thinking – effectively – in sketch form. You don’t have to be a superstar styling guru…just a confident thinker with an ability to put those thoughts down on paper in enough detail to enable a worthwhile discussion.
  2. A working manufacturing knowledge – You will learn plenty on the job, but it would be useful if you are aware of the basic limitations, opportunities and design constraints that accompany the more common production processes. We do a lot with injection moulding, so this would be a preference.
  3. 3D CAD – We use SolidWorks, but we are looking at adopting Fusion 360 as another 3D development platform. A competent knowledge of SW (basic surfacing knowledge) would be preferable but more importantly, an eagerness to learn and become fluent in Fusion would be helpful.
  4. Rendering & Media – We use KeyShot so a decent knowledge of this would be useful (although not essential as it is relatively easy to pick up). We are doing more and more animation and virtual product demonstration work, so any abilities, eagerness or experience in animation, video editing and post processing/editing would be encouraged. Website coding knowledge would be an added bonus, but certainly not a deal breaker!
  5. Desktop publishing & graphic layout – Every project ultimately gets presented to a client in 2D, be it printed matter or digitally. The ability to quickly and efficiently pull together a confident, concise and powerful presentation, whatever the subject matter, is critical to every single project. We use Adobe InDesign and the rest of the Adobe CC suite. You need to have a good ‘eye’ for layouts and graphic balance, and an ability to write clear and concise descriptions of your design thinking.
  6. Photoshop & Illustrator – You should know your way around these two packages. They are the tools (along with sketching) of much of our early concept work, and a good knowledge of these and the techniques relevant to product design concept work will be very useful indeed. Quick visual renderings, form elevations, contextual illustrations…the list goes on.
  7. Attention to detail – This is a fairly generic point, but nevertheless incredibly important. You will be dealing with multiple clients and multiple projects – often at an incredibly fast pace – so you need to be diligent, careful and attentive to detail. It might sound pedantic, but things like spelling, promptness, prior research/preparation and organisation will be essential to your success.

The above skills are the building blocks that you will need to attack each and every project. Slick abilities in these will not mean you are necessarily the best choice for the business. In fact, it will be your demeanour, tenacity, pro-active nature and personality that will more likely get you a job. However, they are useful filters and skills that will certainly make the transition from University to studio workplace that much easier.

A word of warning. Most graduates who have come to work for Square Banana have found the ‘exposure’ tricky to handle and have not lasted long. By that I mean the fact that as a small business there is nowhere to hide. There are no large design teams to dissolve into. Your work will be thrust firmly in the ‘client’ headlights (if it is good enough) and if you are capable, you will be laden with as much project ownership and responsibility as you can shoulder. This might be a ‘junior designer’ role in title, but I need you to mature into a fully fledged design consultant. Client facing, decision making, confidence inducing. It’s very simple…the better you are and the more you impact on the business, the more you will be rewarded – financially, professionally and creatively.

It is also worth stating that we will not be able to compete (at least initially) with the salaries offered by larger graduate employers with big teams, huge resources and bona fide ‘graduate programmes’. We are a very small design business that punches above our weight. If you want to be a part of something vibrant, unpredictable, challenging and – at times – downright scary, then let me know. Please do not enter into a salary bidding war. I need designers who ‘want’ this type of job for what it can help them become. If not, I wish you well in your endeavours. It is also worth adding that whilst I have suggested that we are looking for a graduate, I would not turn down the opportunity to talk to more experienced designers who may be able to suggest a mutually beneficial method of working with a view to a more stable longer term relationship. Ultimately, we want to find people who want to be part of Square Banana, who can build on our success to date and help us become a increasingly fluid, more powerful design unit.

I’ll leave you to decide how best to get in touch!

3 thoughts on “Junior banana

  1. Always enjoy these posts Russell! One question. How come the adoption of Fusion 360? Got it on my laptop a few weeks back and been working through a few tutorials.

  2. Hi Nick. We are not ditching SW. I simply want to expand our capabilities and utilise CAD platforms that offer affordability and access. Fusion (and to a certain extent OnShape) offer extremely economical yet powerful means to allow designers to develop concepts in 3D CAD without the commercial commitment that is required of SW or the other bigger platforms. Having looked at Fusion, I like its creative surfacing capabilities. It also allows us to be more fluent in Autodesk products whilst not spending too much money!

  3. Fantastic post.

    However, this is the most worrying part: ” Most graduates who have come to work for Square Banana have found the ‘exposure’ tricky to handle and have not lasted long.”

    I see an opportunity in this, though. Your job has the quality of a hardcore business boot camp. You could charge organizations to send their employees and go through one.

    Just a thought,
    – Yuri

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *