My Design Experience
ModRed Design is the creation of myself, Scott Bowen, a Freelance Designer based in Swansea, South Wales, UK. This article gives you a little background information on my career experiences & education.
I am fortunate to have worked all over the UK with several companies, big & small, from which I have gained a large amount of technical knowledge & some niche skills. This is why I can offer a range of professional services in a very efficient, flexible manner.
What I do now
Web Designer / Graphic Designer at ModRed Design, Swansea
I have been providing freelance design services via ModRed Design since 2010 – designing websites, logos, calendars, flyers, posters, brochures etc.
Most of my work is local & gained by word of mouth – or natural visitors to my website, but I have worked for clients all over the UK & further afield – in the USA, Germany & France for example. To visualise exactly what I do, the best way is to look at my graphic design portfolio.
Web Developer for Glitter Body Art, Bridgend
Glitter Body Art produce temporary tattoo stencils & accessories, selling their products through their online store: www.temporarytattoostore.co.uk
I designed, built & maintain their website. I create all product photography (sometimes with traditional photography, sometimes digitally created). I also design all of their tattoo stencils & marketing material (such as posters, flyers & exhibition banners).
Web Developer / Designer for Cosmeditech
I currently work for Cosmeditech on a freelance basis, where I created all visual identity / branding / logos, corporate literature, promotional items, software UI graphics & websites.
I also produce all marketing material – including printed & digital / online graphics & email marketing.
Artworker for Blackbox AV, Port Talbot
BlackBox AV produce audio signs & software, mainly for museums or nature reserves. I have worked with them for a number of years, designing some of their signs. This involves large format printing design – they usually give me a simple design brief, along with a sign template… I then create a design & supply them with a print-ready PDF.
In this work situation, my experience in large format printing is very useful… as I know when I provide a PDF it will print 100% accurately. After witnessing the compatibility issues with certain RIP software or printing equipment, I always ensure that I produce artwork that is absolutely fool-proof – no matter how large the artwork is.
My Career Experiences
Web Designer at Chromogenex, Llanelli
Chromogenex produce laser equipment for the medical / aesthetics / bio-tech industry, with operations all over the world. I produced all of their websites, along with many of their customers websites – which was a major part of their marketing support plan.
I also created & maintained all of their PPC campaigns, email marketing material, exhibition graphics & printed marketing material – such as magazine adverts.
Artworker at Funky Pigeon, Bristol: 2008 – 2009
Funky Pigeon are an e-commerce company who sell personalised products via their website. My official title was Artworker, but as a part of a small design team, I took on lots of responsibilities. I was basically the technical guy.
My main duties were to design & prepare products – greeting cards, calendars & posters – using Adobe Creative Suite & Direct Smile. The products were designed using Photoshop or Illustrator, then the personalisation bit was implemented using Direct Smile.
The finished product would then be imported into InDesign to produce a print-ready PDF for digital printing – this was done automatically using synchronised templates, which were compiled ‘on the fly’ using XML files. When a customer personalised a card on the website, their design would be output as a high-res JPG, which would then be used to populate a synchronised InDesign template – along with other elements – to create a print-ready PDF.
I also built & oversaw the print production process – creating hot-folders which took live orders from the website & imposed the PDF files for digital printing. During my time there I also gained certificates to operate HP Indigo printers 5000 & 5500, so I could take over production if necessary.
As I had a bit of web design experience, I took on other responsibilities like building the HTML email newsletters, and building the front-end content of the website. I worked with the .NET programmer to ensure my HTML was compatible & SEO friendly.
Pre-Press Technician at The Evening Post, Swansea: 2002 – 2007
This was my first real job, and one of my fondest career experiences. My job was initially a Pre-Press Technician, or Page Production Operative – which basically meant I prepared newspapers for print.
We used various methods to create newspaper pages – using Quark Express, Acrobat or specialist editing software to create PDF files, which would then be printed onto CMYK negatives for the press.
We would ordinarily have a list of publications to print each day, with a flexible schedule. It was also my job to keep tabs on each publication & advise the Press of which job would likely to be ready next.
After about three years I was moved to the planning dept., which obviously involves planning each publication. This basically entailed calculating the size of a newspaper taking into account the booked advertising space. We would devise a plan which satisfied the advertisers & the editorial team, ensuring the Press were capable of printing the colour requirements. We would then place each advert onto the specific page & let Editorial fill in the gaps. If there was ever any space unfilled, we would place a generic advert in the empty space.
The job required a broad knowledge of desktop publishing & basic computer / networking / printing knowledge – because if a problem arose, it would be up to me to isolate the problem & fix it ASAP, to ensure every newspaper met it’s deadline. It was a high pressure job, but I loved it!
Web Designer at Team Tours Direct, Swansea: 2013
Team Tours Direct provide sporting holidays & organised tournaments via their website. I worked with them on a part-time basis for around six months to re-build a number of their websites.
They had previously outsourced the web design / management to an overseas company, but decided to bring it in-house so to give them more control over their content. I re-built their websites using WordPress, so they are now able to log-in & easily update information.
Artworker at TMT Digital Print, Swansea: 2010
TMT Digital Print provide large format printing services. My job was to prepare artwork for digital printing using Adobe Creative Suite.
Using a variety of printing / copying equipment – including a large format plotter, A0 copiers & laminating / finishing equipment – this job gave me a great understanding of how to produce artwork for large format printing.
Artworker at Inky Little Fingers, Gloucester: 2009 – 2010
Inky Little Fingers are a commercial printing company based in Gloucester, they acquire all orders through their website. My job was to prepare all customers artwork for print – along with the odd custom design request.
The set-up was very professional, with state of the art printing & finishing equipment. They used various digital printers for small jobs – including Konika Minoilta & Kodak digital presses – along with a brand new Litho press for larger print runs. They also had every finishing machine imaginable, for cutting, binding, folding & stapling products. 90% of my job was to prepare the artwork for printing, but I was trained to use every bit of equipment, so I could take over production if necessary. This gave me a better understanding of why they had such strict proofing rules – & dramatically improved my Artworking skills.
They had perhaps the strictest quality checks I have ever witnessed. Using professional pre-press proofing software (PitStop Pro), they would analyse the resolution, colour profiles & dimensions / bleed areas of each job – ensuring every print job was absolutely perfect before sending the artwork to print (reducing any customer complaints).
Seeing this kind of attention to detail has given me an appreciation of good practice. Because if you do it right first time, you avoid any come-back!
Pre-Press Operative at Skanem, Cardiff: 2007 – 2008
Skanem are a large printing company who produce labels & stickers for many large, well-known companies. They use various flat-bed, rotary & digital presses to print the labels. It was my job to prepare artwork for press which involved splitting a design up into Pantone colours.
This job gave me a great insight into flat-bed / screen printing & how to produce artwork for this printing process.
HND Design Technology: 2000
Main areas covered…
- Multimedia authoring – Director (Shockwave), Flash & Icon Author.
- 3D Studio Max – modelling complex shapes, texture application & animation.
- Internet technology – Cysco Systems, HTML, ASP, SQL & web design.
- Audio – digitization, quantisation, acoustics, sound studio operation & professional recording.
- Video – compression codecs, camera operation, cutting & editing video clips using Premier.
- Computer technology – studying memory, CPUs, motherboards, graphics cards & monitors.
- Product design – product solutions, ergonomics & working with materials.
BTEC Graphic Design & Illustration: 1998
Main areas covered…
- Design process – brain storming, story boards, printing technology & typography.
- Design software – Photoshop, Illustrator & Quark Express using Mac & PC.
- Photography – taking and developing black & white photographs.
- Technical illustration – isometric, perspective, orthographic & planometric.
- Art & Design – life drawing, clay modelling, painting & art history.