Introducing… Ali Heggie, our Creative Director

How did you get into graphic design?

As a youngster I was very good at drawing and enjoyed all things creative, so it was a natural progression from school art classes, through an art foundation course and a four year (sandwich) degree course in Graphics, into working in the design industry. The sandwich course included six months work experience, which I spent working with the amazing people in the design studio at Penguin Books in High Street Kesington, London. It was a great introduction into the working environment, one that included pub lunches, softball, and a lively social scene, along with learning the process of design and production techniques.

In those days the juniors were given the loveliest of tasks such as producing the bromides (photographs of text for the make-up of artwork) which involved a dark room and some really smelly chemicals. This was a time before Macs and instant artwork. It was all scalpels, drawing boards and manual mark-up of artwork. It was all a fabulous grounding for a design newbie.

What qualities do you think a good graphic designer needs to have?

A nosey nature. If you are interested in all that is going on around you, and in the world, then that’s a good start. A reading habit is also good, as a depth and breadth of general knowledge is also useful. Google is great for discovering new facts but, in my opinion, it’s the accidental, random combination of thoughts in your own head that can lead to the best design ideas. The more you read – the more you know – the more you know – the more you have to work with.

An eye for imagery is also imperative. It’s important to be able to see what makes a good image and what doesn’t, or what can be done to turn an average image into a great one.

An eye for typography. Playing with words and imagery is what it is all about.

Imagination, a sense of humour, a bit of technical know-how and a dedication to getting the job done. Also patience. Lots and lots of patience.

What do you most enjoy about working at Forepoint?

The variety of work and the people, both colleagues and clients. Over the years there’s been plenty of interesting, challenging and memorable characters that have all added to the mix.

Tell us about a memorable moment about working here or a project you’re really proud of?

I think the most enjoyable time has been working on the Magazine for Sellafield Ltd with its mix of creativity and sense of working in partnership with the client. Another moment of satisfaction was seeing the illustrations I created for the time tunnel which led into the Sellafield Visitors Centre in the flesh.

Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself?

I have swum in a tank of sharks and I once danced on stage with the cast of Hair, the musical, on a West End stage. It was the finale of the performance and members of the audience were encouraged to join them. Sadly, it didn’t lead to stardom…

If you were a brand what would your tagline be?

Life’s a blank sheet of paper. Go forth and create.

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