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Where Are You Now?

Philip Readman

Philip Readman

BA Graphic Communication 2007

Philip Readman has come a long way from the design suites of City Campus, where he gained his degree in Graphic Communication ten years ago.

Now Product Design Lead at global digital agency Reaktor in New York City he helps businesses define, create and build engaging digital experiences for their customers.

He said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working within some great teams and with some huge clients such as HBO, the BBC, ITV and the Olympic Committee.”

“But I’d say my proudest moment was the launch of the award winning Arsenal website in 2014, which was my first large scale project launch when I was at a design agency called Ostmodern based in London, where we also launched the Olympic Channel, an extensive sports video product across iOS, Android and responsive web.”

Originally from East Boldon, Philip decided to study at the University of Sunderland so he would be close to his family and friends. 

“I’m a local lad and at the time felt that I could best achieve my studies with my family and friends around me,” he explained. “I enjoyed my course as it covered many areas of the design spectrum, the projects gave me the freedom to explore and my lecturer encouraged this exploration whole heartedly. Despite now working exclusively in digital, the principles and design theory modules I learnt at the University still serve me well today.” 

Although he believes that all of his lecturers and fellow classmates influenced him a lot, he reserves special praise for one of his lecturers. 

He said: “The quality of the work of my fellow classmates was really high which also drove me to achieve high standards. In my lecturer I had someone who was easy to talk to on a personal level and that enabled us to have a solid working relationship where getting feedback felt honest and genuine.” 

As someone who has moved more than 3,000 miles away from home and is working hard to achieve his dreams, Philip maintains that the ability to combat imposter syndrome and have the freedom and confidence to express yourself are crucial for any graduate looking for work in a competitive marketplace.   

The 32-year-old explained: “I could talk about complicated client briefs or tight deadlines but my biggest challenge would be dealing with “imposter syndrome”, a psychological phenomenon which reflects that you are inadequate and less competent than others. It can effect anyone at any level and dealing with it can be difficult, I’m not sure you ever fully overcome it. 

“My advice would be to embrace it, get out of your comfort zone. Moving to a new city and starting a new job are all scary things as a young person. I remember walking into a studio of flash London designer types with tons more experience than I and feeling particularly afraid and lacked confidence. I’ve felt that same feeling again at the age of 31 when I moved to New York and walked into bigger rooms with flashier designers. To do your best work you need to have freedom and confidence to express yourself. Combatting imposter syndrome is a challenge I’m slowly fighting but more importantly, embracing.” 

Philip’s advice to recent graduates entering the job market is not to panic but hustle. 

“You don’t need to be designing adverts for BMW or emojis for Facebook within a month of graduating,” he advised. “Stay curious, keep sketching and doing personal work, I’ve hired designers based on side projects alone. Hustle, so what if it’s not your dream job, get experience, get interview experience, and learn to talk about your work.  Build a portfolio based on your best work, three good projects is a way better sell that seven average ones. Be yourself, of course the work will get you in the door but it is you they’re hiring and you’ll likely be in a team so smile, it will go a long way.” 

As for his future plans, Philip is always trying to find new interesting projects and looking to work with great people. 

He concluded: “Right now I’m part of an amazing team at Reaktor working on some challenging client work in the media, sports and publishing sector. I feel very lucky to have a job I love and work in an environment surrounded by people way better than me. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel, which keeps me engaged and excited about my work. In the future I’d hope for more of the same, challenging projects and nice people, please.”

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