Celebrating two years at Crucible with Ross Ackery, Digital Designer
It’s been two years since Ross joined the Crucible team. How the time flies!
On this special occasion, we thought it would be a great opportunity to thank our Digital Designer for his exceptional work over the last few years. But also to learn a little more about one of the integral members of the Crucible team.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into design?
I have always been creative. I studied Art, Film, Photography, English and Business Studies at A-level. I was discouraged from pursuing a creative career during my time at school by both my school and the adults that I knew, in favour of more ‘realistic’ careers, for example, working in finance. When the time came to apply to universities, I explored some course options but ultimately decided against it. I didn’t really know what career to aim for or what course would help me get there so I left school planning to use internships and work experience to explore my options.
I took an apprenticeship at a footwear designer doing quite generic ‘marketing’. I quickly found my niche taking on graphic design work there, which led to me moving on to a specific graphic design apprenticeship at an agency in South London. I liked that I got to edit photos and draw all day and it finally felt like an achievable career path.
Who’s your design hero?
Hero is a strong word! There are a handful of modern designers whose work I follow very closely such as Bastien Allard or Louis Saville but if I had to pick a hero I’d go for Chris Ashworth. He utilises destructive physical techniques to create his work. The designs that he puts out are littered with imperfections and details that are impossible to recreate digitally. I think I’m drawn to it because it is so far from the clean, minimalist digital styles that are prevalent on the web these days. I would love to experiment with some glitchy imperfections on a web project!
Credit: Chris Ashworth
Why did you decide to work at a digital agency? And what drew you to Crucible?
I had been working at an agency with a very niche set of clients, and after 7 years there I needed to work within new sectors and industries. I left to travel America/South America and when I came back I worked as a freelance Digital Designer for the first year. I was finally working with clients that interested me and with a lot of creative freedom but the projects were limited in size as I was just a one man band. Joining Crucible allowed me to work on larger projects and spend time working through user experience considerations with the team.
Credit: Ross Ackery
What’s been your project highlight at Crucible? And what do you enjoy most about working at the agency?
The work we do before any visual design even starts is integral to the success of our projects. It is something I’ve always felt strongly about and that belief has been reinforced during my time here. We have been able to tackle huge projects such as Churchill College (a University of Cambridge college) with complete confidence because we fully understand the client, their needs and how to provide solutions. It has been really satisfying to create a design system, then see that system slot into place across hundreds of pages like a puzzle being completed piece by piece.
What advice would you give a web designer who’s starting out?
Just that it is possible to make a career out of your passion. You don’t have to be the best designer in the world to enjoy web design or make a career out of it. Put yourself out there, collaborate with people, learn from people in the industry, keep learning. People who want to become designers, whether they’re teenagers going to university or 45 year olds who’ve never tried it before, need to know there are opportunities out there for everyone and there’s no set path to follow.
What are your predictions for web design trends next year?
We’ve stripped back as much as we can – for a while everything was white space, soft fills and rounded sans serifs. I think we’ll see a reaction and push the other way. There’s already plenty of clashing colours, experimental layouts and overly decorative fonts but they’re confined to the fringes. There’s been a trend towards brutalist web design and I think we could see more of these in the mainstream.
What do you think users will be expecting from websites in 2022?
The dramatic rise of web3 throughout this year is scheduled to continue well into the future. More and more people are coming round to the idea of a decentralised web, with even the tech giants making moves to stay ahead of the curve. From Twitter’s introduction of NFT profile picture features to Facebook going full Meta, there’s no sign that blockchain is slowing down. It’s undoubtedly going to develop further next year but how that will manifest itself, and whether it will be any good, is the billion dollar question.
Thank you Ross for being awesome and for your invaluable contribution to the Crucible team over the past two years – we’re lucky to have you!
Interested in joining the Crucible team?
If you’re interested in joining the design team at Crucible, you’re in luck! We have a Middleweight Designer vacancy currently open. Have a read of the job description and apply below.