Naomi Atkinson knew from an early age that she’d end up in ‘some sort of design role’. She loved art and technology, but it was only at A-level stage, ‘when I entered into the world of Corel Draw 5’, that she realised just how much opportunity there was in digital.
Embarking on a BA in Multimedia Design at Northumbria University, Atkinson got her first job as creative designer at Think before graduating. But after working there for just over three years, she felt the pull of the capital and got a job with Good Technology, where she worked with clients such as Audi and Aviva. Even though the role came with a whole new set of skills and Atkinson enjoyed it, ‘something was missing’, she says. ‘I needed to be back talking to clients, taking workshops with them, really challenging the briefs put to me – I needed to be part of a smaller group again.’
This brought her to Bostock and Pollitt as senior digital designer, a job in which she regularly talks and presents to clients and is currently on a mission ‘to get us well known for our digital work’.
With the arrival of social networking and user-generated content, it is increasingly hard for clients to control their brands, which makes the job of a digital designer all the more important, believes Atkinson. ‘The way design is heading, we now have to be a lot more than just designers.’
Recent jobs at Bostock and Pollitt included the integration of Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancerbackup, following the organisations’ merger. It required bringing the two websites and their communities together. The branding, created by Wolff Olins a few years back, had never been successfully conveyed online, says Atkinson, ‘so this was as much about branding and redesign as it was about integration’. The new design also offers a ‘How can we help you today’ module to make sure users find relevant material quickly, and allows browsers to show and hide information.
One of the more challenging recent projects was a total overhaul of BT Openzone’s voucher and subscription transactions. Atkinson presented a solution that strips the process down, and ‘after some long internal debates, and some give on our part, we’re nearly there’, says Atkinson, who is looking forward to seeing the work go live early next year.
Despite her love for all things digital, Atkinson tries to take herself away from the computer on a regular basis, to visit galleries and exhibitions, soak up the atmosphere of a carnival or the culture of another country. ‘They’re all experiences that add to our imagination and creativity,’ she says.
2004 BA Multimedia Design Northumbria University
2004 Senior creative designer Think
2007 Designer Good Technology
2008 to present Senior digital designer Bostock and Pollitt
‘Naomi Atkinson came to us straight from school with a natural creative inquisitiveness and zest for communication and interaction design. Very quickly we realised that she had a rare blend of talent, smartness and ambition.
We have plenty of talented students who have successful educational careers with us, but Naomi was one of those students who had the design skills and business intelligence to see opportunities where others wouldn’t. She goes that extra mile not only to make the projects work better, but also to look at where she needs to develop herself.
Her self-reflective practice gives her the ability to see her work in a wider context and with it further opportunities.’
Jamie Steane Head of visual communication and interactive media design academic group Northumbria University School of Design