Women In Design feat. Anna Barton

Meet Anna Barton, Senior Designer at Nice & Serious. As part of the series ‘Women and Design’ we explore her incredible 9+ years of design experience and her current role at a purpose-driven creative agency. Here, Anna shares her journey of working on impactful projects at Nice and Serious and contributing to positive change for organizations like Switchboard and Women for Refugee Women.

The purpose of article series ‘Women In Design’ is to feature, showcase and share the reality of being a woman in design. We gather and showcase stories, career journeys, as well as advice and wisdom. 

Could you please introduce yourself as well as your background?

I’m a London based Senior Designer and have been designing away for the last 9+ years.

I’m currently working at purpose driven creative agency, Nice and Serious. I’ve been lucky enough to work on many projects there that make a positive difference in the world, most recently working for Switchboard (one of the UK’s oldest LGBTQIA+ charities) and Women for Refugee Women (a charity who campaign for and support refugee women in the UK)

As well as being a designer day to day, I’ve been a guest lecturer for BA Graphic Design students at Kingston University, been a mentor for Creative Mentor Network (a charity whose aim is to make the creative industry more inclusive) and been involved in speaking at events for Ladies Wine and Design.

What are 5 “stand-out things” you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to your peers as well as the future generation of talent within your sector?

1. You don’t have to listen to everything everyone says.

Our industry is a subjective one, and part of being a designer is listening, looking around you, taking on what’s useful, but still being true to the creative person you are and trusting your own gut.

2. You can turn anything you care about into design.
At Nice and Serious, our motto is ‘Creative Work the World Needs’, which I love and have adopted.

Over lockdown I became a bit obsessed with learning about periods and realised how much information we don’t know about them. I’ve recently turned this new subject speciality into a project (in the works and coming soon!) aiming to get more people talking about periods.

There are so many important issues and voices that need to be heard in the world. Find your subject, use your experience, and get people talking about it.

3. Look outside of the design world for inspiration.
I’m noticing the more things are happening online, the more work is starting to look the same.

Look outside for inspiration, go to a gallery, look around your local area, meet new people from different walks of life. Anything that’s not on a screen.

4. You do know your shit.
I’ve definitely had varying degrees of Imposter Syndrome since being a designer.

When I was a student, I won D&AD New Blood yellow and black pencil and it took that for me to realise that I’m good at what I do. I ended up applying for jobs I wouldn’t have applied to otherwise.

9 years on, every time someone gives me positive feedback, I save it in a draft email to myself, to remind myself that I am capable.

5. Being vulnerable is a strength.
I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve at work and will talk about if something is challenging and say it how it is. I try and talk about my failures openly.

I truly believe that if more of us do this at work, more people will feel confident enough to fail and go further without fear at work. And it will open up our industry to more people.

What’s your take on the importance of role models?

I think having people to support you in this industry feels more important than people to look up to. My friends and colleagues who have encouraged me and validated me over the years have been the most impactful part of my career progression.

If you’re inspired by the stories and wisdom shared in our ‘Women In Design’ series and would like to contribute your own experiences, we’d love to hear from you. Creatives at all levels, please email Olivia and your story could be the next we feature.

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