Natalie, hi. You’re fast-approaching your 12 month anniversary with The Engine Room. Tell us about your career and how it all began.
After graduating from The Surrey Institute of Art and Design, I was lucky enough to land a job as a graphic designer for a small creative agency in London.
I loved University but I’m not sure it quite prepared me for the real working world. I’m so grateful they took a chance on me and took the time to teach me and share their knowledge. It was possibly the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced but one I am so thankful for.
Nearly 13 years at EA Games saw my experience expand, working as a graphic designer, artworker, creative project manager, design producer and everything in-between.
Finally, after relocating to Yorkshire, I freelanced for a couple of years, but I really missed the whole team dynamic. It sounds a bit cliché, but I wanted to be a part of a little creative family again. And I have certainly found that at The Engine Room!
And what about the role you have now? What attracted you to the job and what does it entail?
I loved the fact that The Engine Room is so hands-on with clients. Everyone really goes above and beyond to give a personal touch to every single project, and I wanted to be a part of that.
There are no egos here – everybody’s input is encouraged and taken onboard, and I think that is what makes The Engine Room so special when it comes to creative thinking.
As a senior artworker, I have the opportunity to help deliver campaign assets for various brands spanning sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, tech and the public sector. It means no two days are ever the same, and I feel like I’m always learning something new.
How has The Engine Room adapted, as a business, over the past couple of years?
I think the pandemic has obviously hit hard for a lot of businesses, but the ability to be flexible has been key. The Engine Room has adapted to clients’ needs and by embracing hybrid working, we have continued to deliver the quality of service we pride ourselves on.
Are you a ‘WFH’ convert or do you prefer to be in the studio?
I really enjoy a mix of both as each have their advantages. I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated office space at home and I think that makes a huge difference. On the flip side, I love seeing people face-to-face so getting into the office and catching up with the team is great. For me, hybrid working is the way forward.
What are your three standout client successes, since joining the team?
We have worked hard to get some tricky process nailed down and the changes we’ve made have had a positive impact on the work we produce.
For me, a client success can be as simple as forming a strong working relationship with a person or team. I’ve had some great feedback from Paxman and Levity Crop Science since starting here, so I’ll take those as wins!
What would be your advice for other people considering a role like yours?
Be a sponge and take in as much information as you can. I think it’s tempting to stick your headphones on and get your head down, but you can’t grow like that.
I’ve learnt so much from the people I’ve worked with over the years. Asking questions and getting involved in conversations is the best way to pick up tips and tricks to help you along the way.
Also, don’t be afraid to question things. As an artworker, it’s your job to spot mistakes. I used to worry I would be seen as ‘too picky’ or step on people’s toes by calling out the smallest of things. Now I pride myself on it.
And some quickfire ones to finish off…
You’ve had a busy day – would your first choice be a pub, restaurant, or takeaway, and if so, which one?
I think I would have to say a nice restaurant with a good bottle of red wine. I love going out for dinner but it’s not great for my waistline!
When travelling is a little easier again, where will be first on your hit list?
My travel wish list is huge, but I would love to go back to Barcelona. I’ve been there once before and I absolutely loved it. I’m fascinated by the architecture and would like to explore it some more.
Who’s your dream client?
I really enjoy the rebranding projects we have worked on. Working on a blank canvas with the team all sat together, bouncing ideas around – that’s my favourite.
What is your main hope for The Engine Room next year?
I hope we continue to grow as a company and as a team. We have some really interesting projects coming up and the team feels very solid right now. I’m excited about the direction we are going so keep your eyes peeled!