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Spotlight - Mike Watkins - Freelance Graphic Designer

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- View Mike's Creativepool profile

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‘Don't just hold out for the cool ad or design agencies - there are thousands of other companies out there that have marketing/design departments'
 

Describe your work in one sentence.
Creative pixel engineering.

What's the most important thing you've learnt in your line of work?
Communication. You've got to listen to your clients and their needs - ask lots of questions and really dig into the brief. This will ensure you provide the best possible service and solution for them.

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What attracted you to your chosen field?
I've always been interested in art from an early age, and studied it through to degree level. The emergence of powerful home computers in the 90's appealed to my inner geek, so it was a perfect combination.

Tell us about your best project to date.
That's a tough one - I find any project I am working on at the time to be the ‘best' project as you are always constantly learning, gaining knowledge and experience from one project to the next.
However I would probably say my favourite recent project was working on a Microsoft ‘Surface' interface design for the British Library's ‘Growing Knowledge' exhibition in Euston. We did some proper blue-sky thinking on the best way of searching and working with the vast amounts of data the BL has, and we tried to make it fun / intuitive to use.

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What sets you apart from your competitors?
Clear communication, and trying to be professional in everything I do – whether it's dealing with clients, to preparing well for meetings or presenting work. Having worked both sides of the fence (as a Creative Director employing freelancers, to now being a freelancer myself), I have first experience of working with slack freelancers. Your work can be amazing but if you are unreliable or a pain to work with, you won't get very far.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I am 5mm shorter than I was 2 years ago!

If you could work on any project for any company/organisation, what would it be and who would it be for?
Being a massive Formula 1 fan, I would love to work with any of those teams. Ideally it would be a re-brand of one of the newer ones like Hispania, Virgin Racing or Team Lotus.

What's your favourite bit of kit?
Got to be my Microsoft IntelliMouse. I've tried every other one under the sun (Mighty Mouse, trackballs, tablets etc.), but always go back to the faithful Intelli – lasted me over 10 years so far and only cost £11!

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What is your favourite app?
Predictable, but it has to be Photoshop - we'd be nowhere without it. Oh, and Angry Birds.

 What frustrates you the most about your job?
Clients asking for things without any reasoning other than ‘everyone else has it'. That, and not getting paid.

What pearl of wisdom can you offer to someone thinking about starting out in your industry?
Get out and meet people – stay in touch with your friends from college/university and see who's doing what. It's the best way to get your foot in the door. Don't just holds out for the cool ad or design agencies either – there are thousands of other companies out there that have marketing/design departments, and these are as good a place as any to learn the trade.

If you could have ONE super power, what would it be?
Turn water into Diet Coke.

What do you like about Creativepool?
It's a great site which combines all the elements you need as a freelance creative – job opportunities, news, interviews, features etc. I've made quite a few good contacts through the site too (some of which have translated into paid work!), so I'm always keen to keep up to speed with what's going on.

What's your favourite song of all time?
That's a hard one as it changes on a daily basis. Today it's: Vince Watson - Rendezvous

And finally, what can a prospective customer expect from you?
A professional, personal service - on time and within budget.

 

If you want to be in the spotlight, email us with examples of your work or a link to your Creativepool profile.

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