Jamie Donaldson

Graphic Designer
Manchester, UK
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Hi, my name is Jamie Donaldson. I’m a multi-disciplinary designer working in the beautiful (kidding) city of Leeds in the UK. I had an unconventional route into design, completing a BSc in Geography before securing an internship at public art & design studio, United Creatives on the basis of persistent phone calls and enthusiasm over anything approaching relevant quali􀃕cations. At United Creatives I was introduced to design process and thinking, putting a concept and deep thought at the heart of all design work in order to solve a problem regardless of the media used. This internship developed into longterm relationship where I was part intern, learning design on real projects and part account manager where I was trusted to work directly with clients to manage projects from start to 􀃕nish. Wanting to develop my design skills I decided to use pursue further university eduction, this time in a subject I had a real passion and goals in. My experience at a design agency secured me a place on Masters in Design course where I learned and applied design thinking to live briefs with a team of likeminded people. Following graduation at a time when the economic climate meant there were very few creative jobs on o􀃠er, I set up my own design studio where I have continued to learn, adapt, improve and creatively problem solve successfully for clients for the last 7 years. My passion is in creating brand identities; getting to understand a business that is new to me, understand what they need to communicate and to enable that business to express themselves and communicate e􀃠ectively and connect with people in a way they were unable to before is something I 􀃕nd really creatively rewarding. Outside of design my interests include Thai Boxing, oil painting and motorbikes to name a few. I am currently looking into night courses in engineering as I would love to be able to build my own custom motorcycle one day. I have recently done a solo trip on my bike from the north of the UK to the south coast of Italy which has only fuelled my dream of one day competing in a Dakar Rally. The trip has probably been my biggest adventure to date but certainly not my last and I’m hoping it could even be topped if I successfully get a place on WGI!

Quick links
Work Experience
Co-founder + Designer
2016 – Present
Lead Designer
2015 – Present
Fettle Design
Founder + Designer
2016 – Present
Manchester School of Art
Vouched by
Featured work
You should select me because

I have developed my skillset and process over the last 9 years, learning every new skill I could while also working closely with clients and other creatives to create effective design work and longterm relationships. I take design seriously but I’m also easy to get on with and enjoy working around other people with a good sense of humour! I think that my experience working with clients from multiple industries, age ranges and walks of life has given me the ability to communicate well with all sorts of people effectively, both in person and using design and visual language. I have worked within a design studio as an intern before and excelled at all tasks I was given despite being completely untrained at that point. I think that my ‘maturity’ would only be a benefit in that I know just how rare and amazing an opportunity like WGI is in the design world and, if chosen, I would not take it for granted or not realise the unique position given to me. This is the kind of opportunity that wasn’t available a few years ago when I first graduated but I know that I now have far more to offer as an intern and designer than even just a year ago and my drive to better myself and my work only increases as time goes on. All I need is an opportunity like this to be exposed to more learning opportunities and be pushed even more out of my comfort zone!

1. Why are you interested in wgi?

Working largely alone since graduating and teaching myself a lot of what I know, I am now looking forwards to my next step, personally and creatively. Every project brings new challenges and something new to learn but I feel like am not learning as quickly as I want to as it is limited by the number and type of clients I am able to work with being based in a small city. I have the ambition to produce world-class design work that can effect real change and I feel that I have the potential to do so, given the right support and opportunities. Wasted potential is one of my least favourite things and I feel like I am currently not hitting my potential and to do so I need to work with world-class people.

2. What are you looking to gain from an experience such as WGI?

WGI edition 1 gave interns the opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s most creative people at agencies that I have looked up to ever since being becoming interested in design and branding, Made Thought in particular. To be able to work with and learn from mentors at studios such as these would give me invaluable life and work experience that I feel that I couldn’t get in any other way. Being from a small city in northern England (York, originally) I was never able to do internships at the major design agencies that my London-based peers were able to or to gain all of the studio experience and contacts that comes with it. I currently feel like all I need is a chance to excel and to have my potential seen by one such studio or mentor. To have the chance to work with 6 would be absolutely incredible and an opportunity that I would work insanely hard at and not waste for a second.

3. What would be your goals after completing WGI if you were selected?

My goal is to work at a world-class studio to collaborate with world-class designers. Not necessarily somewhere with famous name or in the coolest city, but one that creates incredible, thoughtful work that has real impact. I would use the amazing amount of knowledge gained and hopefully longterm relationships formed to put myself on the path I feel I should be on but currently am not.

4. How did you hear about wgi?

I have followed Butchershop's work for a number of years as a source of inspiration and saw last year's call for WGI; unfortunately just too late to do anything about it!

5. Share an example of a time you were most motivated and a time you were most demotivated.

**Demotivated** — Coming out of a 3 year Geography degree in the recession with no clear route for a practical application for my degree. At that point I also couldn’t see any career that combined my varied interests that, I thought, were at odds with each other. It took months of thinking and searching for a way to combine these interests while working bar jobs to pay the bills before I found the agency I eventually managed to get an internship at. I was drawn to them for the practical side of urban regeneration using public art and left with a passion for branding and design which has shaped my career since then. **Motivated** — A month ago I was told by a Creative Director of an award winning design agency that in order to achieve my dream of working at a world class, forward-thinking design studio I needed to gain experience working for large brands on world class projects or I needed to show a more experimental side to my work rather than just the real project work created for regional, often small, businesses. This was initially deflating to me as I didn’t know how to make the jump from working with small businesses in often quite “heritage” based industries to the kind of experimental, exciting and more youthful design work that really excites me. However, since then I have used that conversation and advice as my greatest motivator and have sought out and secured a number of self initiated projects that will give me the creative freedom to pursue a conceptual and visual direction that is less limited. These include working with an up-and-coming photographer based in LA who’s work is inspired by brutalist architecture and street fashion, a motorsport team who compete in British GT Championship as well as F4 and F3 and a company who are revolutionising packaging design to reduce the environmental impact of companies such as Amazon. I am hoping to use these self initiated projects to show the experimental and exciting side of design that I am most interested in but am unable to fully explore with small, less forward-thinking clients.

6. In your opinion, what creates a great culture at a company?

In my opinion a great culture is formed by surrounding yourself by the right people. Humble, passionate, excited people who can leave their egos at the door and collaborate to find the right questions to ask, dig into a question deeply and find a creative new way to express the answer. It is born where everyone at the company feels valued, equal and supported within an atmosphere where ‘getting it wrong’ is preferable to ‘doing nothing’; where learning is progression and progression is learning.

7. What brands and companies do you admire and why?

Ever since getting into design, I have admired the thoughtful approach of Made Thought as a design studio. Their ethos of putting a strong focus and investment of collaborative time into the design thinking has always been inspiring to me. Equally, design studios such as Accept & Proceed, DIA and Kurppa Hosk have come to be companies I admire and aspire to work at due to their constant evolution and pushing the boundaries of what is possible and pushing g past what people are used to seeing. Their use of elements such as data, kinetic type, custom type mixed with a simplicity of concept to create strong brand experiences and identities is something I admire a huge amount. One example of a brand I admire is Nike. They have a brand strategy that is informed by their strong sense of self as a brand and a clear focus on their purpose. The fact that they not only have become and stayed one of the major sportswear brands for so many years, but are constantly pushing creatively to try new things is something I find inspiring. The fact that they seek out new top design studios and individuals to work with on and draw on a huge range of creative talent to stay ahead of the game is something I admire as many brands that become that big end up resting on their laurels and lose their youthful edge.

8. What do you do to stay sharp and improve your craft?

I try whenever possible to work with people who are more skilled than me in order to learn as much as possible in areas that are not my expertise. I try to take on as many jobs as possible that have the possibility of using tools and media that I am not used to so that I have to push myself to learn a new skill or work with people who I can pester to learn from! Because I have taught myself much of what I know, I see every job as a new learning experience where I can gain a new skill. I am currently saving in order to do an online course in animation so that I can pursue my interests in experimental typographic animation in particular. I also spend time reading design blogs, interviews and books to get a wider perspective than just my own on design process and culture. I think it is also important to gain inspiration from outside of the graphic design world so I like to explore areas of art and music to find new ways of working or thinking.

9. What’s your favorite quote?

“The creative adult is the child who survived.” — Julian F. Fleron

10. If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

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