We think you should meet: Kathryn Brooker
This week we stole our Middleweight Designer Kathryn Brooker for a quick chat to find out more about her route to ASG, whether design was always in her future and why tag rugby is her unexpected favourite.
You’ve been with ASG for a few years now, we hoped you might tell us a little about life before you joined the team?
Yes, I’ve been part of the team for around four years now although it’s really flown by. Before ASG, I was working on by BA in Graphic Design and Illustrations at Ulster University. It was a four year degree but I took my fourth year as a placement year and then finished my final year as year five so by the time I completed my degree I was really ready and looking forward to getting into professional life.
Did you always know graphic design was what you wanted to focus on?
I’ve always known art in some shape or form was what I wanted to do although I wasn’t sure exactly what direction that would take. In school I had a really great art teacher who advised me to do a foundational year at Ulster University to get as much experience as I could in various mediums. It was the best advice for me. As part of that year I found I really enjoyed the Graphic Design and Interior Design components of the course and then decided to go on to focus on Graphic Design as my degree. I haven’t looked back since.
In my final year I had the opportunity to choose the projects I wanted to work on. I loved the freedom of that, choosing a brief and approaching it in whatever way I wanted. From the naming to branding, advertising strategy to style sheets, I loved the process of thinking through all aspects.
You mentioned a placement year as part of your university degree, how did you find that?
My placement was with a smaller advertising agency in Belfast and turned out to be a really important year for me. As a small agency, it gave me the opportunity to see all sides of the business. I worked really close with the creative director who took me under his wing and gave me a huge amount of insight and training. For me the placement year was invaluable. More than anything it confirmed that I wanted to work in the industry and provided me with so much professional experience that I’ve been able to build on since. From understanding how to work with clients, to managing deadlines, learning layout and type set, it was just such a good foundation for me. I’d recommend any university student takes the chance to do a placement if they can.
Now that you’re part of the ASG team, are there any projects that stand out to you?
I realise that I’m enjoying exactly what I thought I would now that I’m here. I love receiving a new campaign project and working through all aspects of it – from the message to the imagery, I really enjoy getting into all the details. Working on tender briefs has been really exciting too – knowing that we can be adventurous and bold in what we propose, I love the freedom of that.
Outside of work, do you find ways to carry on being creative or do you need a break from all things artistic?
Not at all! Painting was always my preferred medium and whenever I can find the time, I still love returning to painting. Whether it’s painting, visiting a gallery or reading about creative people, I always find that a way to be inspired and engaged with some aspect of art and design.
I also love balancing out my day with something more active – I train and compete with a tag rugby team and have done for the past few years. It started out as just a fun and social way to be active and then our team ended up getting pretty good and won the All Ireland league in 2018 which was exciting! Since Covid things slowed a little but it’s building back to normal now so I’m excited to be back playing.