How to become a motion graphics and realisation design?
Design Week: What is a Realization Designer?
Fahud Ahmad: My role is a mix of many roles. It is a mix of a motion designer, interaction and brand experience designer. This involves using creativity to bring brands to life through animation and digital interaction and thinking about how brands can connect with consumers across multiple channels.
DW: What is your educational background?
FA: My early years of education were a bit different from most designers. My sixth form college, which was a very academic school, had to convince me to study graphic design and media studies at the A-level level. I did not have a GSCE art degree. Even though I was a very academic student, I made a portfolio from the MySpace profiles I had created for music influencers back in the days when MySpace was still popular.
After that, I struggled to be accepted to university’s design courses. They insisted that I had to have a GCSE (which still baffles my mind), so I decided to take a foundation course for art and design. Ravensbourne University London was the only place where I was accepted. This was where I found my true creative path. I was exposed and influenced by so many design disciplines. This was where I found my passion for motion graphics and continued to study it as an undergraduate degree.
DW: How has your career path been so far?
FA: I was nominated by one of my tutors for the Design Bridge bursary program, which I received, during my second year at Ravensbourne. Between my second and third years at university, I did my summer internship in London. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. After I finished my degree, I was offered a new position in the realisation department (hence my job title). Since August 2015, I have been a member of the team.
DW: When did you first become interested in the realisation of design?
FA: I didn’t know much about realization until I joined Design Bridge. But I quickly realized that it was essentially an interdependent team of people with diverse skills who are all focused on bringing brands to life.
DW: How does your typical work day look for you?
FA: Each day is unique. One day I might be animating or storyboarding content, while another day I might be designing an app prototype.
My day usually starts with searching for new great work in the industry and learning about technology and emerging trends that could affect how I work.
My official work day begins at 9 a.m. It might start with an ideation session with design teams. This involves analyzing a client brief and determining the scope of work. We also hold brainstorming sessions to come up with new ideas. Then, I might create storyboards to illustrate some of these ideas. These could be basic sketches that I share with my team or more detailed ideas that I create using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop so that it can be presented to the client.
In the afternoon I may be working on animations, prototyping brand experiences, or creating wireframes to create digital experiences, such as an app.
This involves creating user journeys and thinking about how users will interact with them. How should this part animated? How should the transition between the first and the second steps look? It could sound like this. A prototype is a simplified version of an idea to give clients a preview of the final result.
To do this, I use a variety programs: After Effects and Photoshop, Illustrator, InVision. Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D, Framer, and Adobe XD are my current favorites. But, I am always open to new tools.
Client-facing projects are not always my main focus. It’s not always easy to work on client-facing projects. I sometimes do behind-the scenes work.
You will also find a lot meetings: project kickoffs, creative reviews, and sharing your progress with clients. I usually finish around 6pm.
DW: What are your primary day-to-day tasks?
FA: There are many! There’s always something to do!
Creative Mentor Network is my mentor, so I may be out of the studio on occasion to chat with my mentee, see his work, and discuss any concerns he might have. Being a mentor is a rewarding experience that I highly recommend to others.
DW: Is the job creatively challenging?
FA: My main challenge is to ensure that no matter what execution, the core brand story remains at the center of all ideas. You can sometimes have a great idea, but it must be right for the brand.
Our studio culture is great and I feel that I can let my imagination run wild with any idea I believe in.
DW: How closely do graphic designers and realisation designers work together?
FA: We work closely together! I am able to work with all members of the studio and work with a wide range of clients. The static visual identity is created by a graphic designer. A realisation designer will transform it into a moving or transitional image or create a new interaction method for people to interact with it. Sometimes animating a logo is enough to make it work across advertising and brand films. Other times, it might be creating an app or digital experience that allows consumers to engage more deeply with the brand.
DW: What are your strengths as a realisation designer?
FA: You need to have strong motion design skills. Also, you must be able to visualize and translate an idea into a working prototype. This will allow others to understand the process.
A keen eye for opportunities — the ability to see how a design idea could become more and how you can make it happen, even though it wasn’t part of the original brief. This is how some of my favorite projects came about. It is important to have curiosity, creativity and the ability think about the consumer.
DW: What are your favorite parts about your job?
FA: Being allowed to explore and develop ideas that are heard and taken into consideration. It’s really liberating to know that you don’t need to be in a high-ranking position to voice your opinion or pitch an innovative idea.
It’s a great part of my job to be able to have fun and come up with new ideas. I also love hearing from others.
DW: What is the worst part of your job?
FA: The worst parts of my job are likely the same as any other creative worker. You have to meet tight deadlines and budgets. Client feedback is important. It can also be exhausting to work late to complete the task. It all makes sense when the final product is out there. It’s very satisfying.
DW: What would you look for in a junior realization designer interview?
FA: A portfolio that shows great creativity, the ability articulate ideas clearly and effectively and has strong design execution skills is a given.
A person with an eye for motion design and moving image, as well as a solid understanding of the ways movement can tell compelling stories.
A person who is creative, inquisitive and can tell stories that make the work enjoyable.
DW: What advice would you give people who are considering a career in realisation design?
FA: A creative degree is not necessary to have a job in my field. You can find many resources to help you learn the practical skills. YouTube tutorials have taught me half what I know about animation. But you need to be creative and have a passion for design.
I can say that university helped me to meet new people and broaden my creative thinking. It also opens up networking opportunities. But the creative industries are now opening their doors to talented people in other ways – Design and Art Direction (D&AD) New Blood Shift is a great example, so that’s something to consider.
The best advice I have ever received was “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” You have a greater chance of receiving a response if you approach more agencies than you will if you only approach one or two. However, it is important to do your research and make the effort.
Your covering letter should be tailored to each individual. It is important to tailor your message and show genuine interest.
Your portfolio should reflect your best work and show off the variety of your talents. It is better to have a few amazing projects you can confidently discuss than a lot of work you can’t.
Your sketches, work in progress, and experiments can be displayed. They are a great way to show your creativity and demonstrate how you approach a problem and find a solution. Our approach to work is idea first, then craft second. Never let execution take precedence, think about the brand’s purpose first.
It is important to be knowledgeable in all aspects of technology and trends. You should regularly check out the featured work on Behance or Vimeo. Also, you can read Design Week, Creative Review, Wired, and Computer Arts. Follow inspiring creative accounts on Instagram. Look at the D&AD pencil winning work and find out why. There is so much to learn and inspire ideas. You will be more creative if you are immersed in the larger world.