GMD alumnus Bakhtawer Haider graduated in 2016. She is currently a Graphic Designer at Portland Communications (a Global Boutique PR Agency) in the in-house content creation unit – Content & Brand.

So what does that entail?

“Portland’s Content and Brand team draws together writing, research, design, brand strategy, web development, data visualisation and video production to produce powerful creative content. As a Graphic Designer in the C&B Team I am responsible for designing materials ranging from social media collateral, publications and supporting the senior team with branding for campaigns.

How did you end up doing this?

During my last year at LCC I realised my passion for research led design which is why I found this role ideal for me. It allows me to explore the research and strategy side of design and also work with clients from various different spectrums for example in the health, government and social department. I came across this company while I was doing some research.

Any reflections on your time studying GMD? 

I have come to realise that the conceptual element that has been embedded in the GMD course has had a great influence on me in how I approach all my work in the studio now. It was also part of the reason why I succeeded in getting this role at my agency. I also realised that the way the course is structured is very intelligent, creative and unique. It allowed me to be more curious about visual and conceptual research and experimentation. It emphasises the importance of being curious as a designer and interrogate outside the world of design in order to be a better designer. In my field of work now, this is exactly what tends to be one of my priorities when I start off a project. The biggest learning I have taken away with me was that design is not just a visual medium it’s also a thought process.

How has your work/approach evolved since graduating?

After being in the industry for almost one and a half years, I have learned to pay a lot more attention to detail and the importance of clearer communication with account teams and clients. It is also a very fast paced environment, therefore it requires a much faster work process and turn around that I was previously used to. I have also found a better balance of being a commercial designer.

What is the best aspect of your job?

To be able to continue to do what I enjoyed the most at GMD LCC, engaging in design research and translating that into visual results. To have a strong reasoning behind every piece of design that’s being put out and have a team that’s extremely supportive and creative.

What are your plans for your career in the future?

I would definitely like to explore the power and contribution graphic design has in the current climate, I think it has a stronger impact on how businesses and organisations grow and translate their stories to the world than ever before. More and more industries realise the importance of creativity and I believe it’s a very exciting time to be contributing to these platforms as a designer. I hope to evolve as a designer with both intellectual rigor and broaden my skills in graphic design in general by continuing to work on exciting, innovative projects and eventually do a Masters.

Any tips for current GMD students?

The one thing I was really thankful for now that I look back, is that I tried out almost everything the GMD course had to offer. Whether it was screen printing workshops, volunteering for events or attending extra curricular lectures. I would also say make the most of the people you engage with, as GMD carries such a wonderful diverse student body and that reflects in the work that is produced on the course. LCC has an excellent reputation in the industry, and part of that is because the tutors and the students bring a wide variety of thought processes and skills to the table. Do what you’re passionate about in your final major projects, that’s when I realised what my strong suits were as a graphic designer and it allowed me to find my path as a Graphic Designer.”