Here’s a great story of how ambition, enthusiasm and hard work can move you toward your professional dreams.
We’re pleased to feature Aran Jackson, graphic designer and infographics specialist, in conversation with Coworks CEO and cofounder, Henrik Dillman.
Henrik Dillman: So, Aran, you’re from the UK. How is the graphic design industry doing there?
Aran Jackson: The industry is strong here in the UK and has seen steady growth in the last decade. We’ve got more and more awesome designers coming out of Uni than previous years, and as long as the economy continues to grow, we should see this strength in the sector continue.
HD: What’s the latest design industry buzz ?
AJ: For me – though it’s not so recent – the latest buzz has to be infographics. Marketers love them for inbound marketing and content generation, designers love them as they’re creative, readers like them because deep down we’re all geeks and crave facts and data. Win win win!
- Aran’s known as an infographics expert
HD: You work fulltime at an agency, and as a freelancer as well. Is that a common thing?
AJ: It’s very common for agency designers to freelance the odd job. Many of my designer friends do the same. However, I’ve always had the personal goal of working for myself, so I took on as many freelance projects as I could to improve as a designer faster. It was hard working the extra hours, but I found it exciting as I saw immediate improvement in the level of my design. Every day I was learning at the agency job and then going home and doing the same again. Last month, after three years of freelancing in the evenings, I quit my agency job to concentrate on my next ambition: setting up my own agency.
- Talent and hard work have allowed Aran Jackson to step out on his own as a fulltime freelancer
HD: You are somewhat of an infographics pro. How did you start out doing infographics?
AJ: Thanks! I first got into data visualization when I got hold of a copy of Information is Beautiful by David McCandless about three years ago. I then produced a series of Social Recruitment infographics for the agency I was working for at the time. Not much became of them, but as I really enjoyed designing them I started doing infographics in my own time as a bit of fun and extra learning. A few emails, Skype calls and a bit of luck later, I’ve been commissioned to design infographics for companies such as Confused.com, Monetate, Energizer, Milo, Yell, Fab, Fyndiq, Dollar Shave Club and Mint.com.
HD: Have we seen “Peak Infographic” yet?
AJ: I don’t think we are anywhere near the peak of infographics yet. It can take a company years to collate their data before they can think about creating infographic. Many companies are yet to implement inbound marketing strategies and content generation plans which would enable infographics to be used–successfully–as part of their marketing mix. The medium will slowly become saturated as more companies jump on board, but if marketers continue to get more savvy with their data, then their infographics have the best chance of being successful.
HD: You were one of the very first freelancers on Coworks. What are your early opinions of the platform?
AJ: As a designer, Coworks streamlined many of my day-to-day activities – promotion, sourcing, payments and messaging – it’s all in one place. The interface is easy to use, notifications kept me updated, and the messaging hub with its notes facility keeps everyone on track. I’m looking forward to Coworks becoming the place to go as a freelance designer.
HD: What are the benefits you see for clients and freelancers using Coworks?
AJ: For freelancers:
• Access to new projects and clients
• A variety of project types
• Safe payments
• Excellent customer service
• All Coworks freelancers are recommended
• Freelancers’ profiles are detailed and will help clients choose the best talent for their needs
• Clients have full control of how much the project will cost
HD: What’s your dream assignment, Aran?
AJ: Oh, good question… I’d love the football team, Tottenham Hotspur, to commission a series of infographics, one for each of their players. I’d have to meet with them, take photos, research some stats and work out the whole thing together. The fans would love them and I’d have a massive grin on my face for the next few years.
HD: Nice! And what do expect to be your highlights of 2013?
AJ: This year’s plan is to work hard and travel lots! With a laptop I can work nearly anywhere, and I plan to make the most of it!
Portable skills mean good times with family for freelance designer Aran Jackson