We’re hiring!

Midweight designer, north Bristol
Permanent, full time (37.5 hours per week)
£22-25k DOE

At The Way we specialise in design, brand and interpretation for people and places. We’re fairly new as a business, but have an enviable international client list including national parks, heritage sites and global charities.

We work on brand and interpretation strategy and planning, wayfinding systems and exhibitions, mapping and illustration, marketing campaigns and brand communications in all media.

We’re looking for a self-motivated, thoughtful, all-round designer to join us at our studio in north Bristol. You should have a few years’ experience working in-house or agency side in a fast-paced studio, where you’ve gained proven experience in running projects end-to-end. Being both creative conceptually and able to develop and artwork your projects, you should have the confidence to take briefs and present to clients from concept stage through to managing delivery.

Experience and/or some knowledge of working in heritage interpretation, the public sector and museums and charities is a big plus. As is a love of the great outdoors, up to a point!

Must have:
• A few years’ experience
• A great portfolio showing your creativity and breadth of project experience
• Conceptual thinker and problem solver
• High standards of execution and artwork
• Expert Abobe CC skills
• Excellent communication skills
• Responsibility for own projects and good time management

Good to have:
• Illustration skills – freehand and Mac
• Interpretation design
• 3D experience (exhibition or signage)
• Digital experience
• Content creation – interest in keeping up-to-date with the sector, copywriting for social media, website and email
• Print process knowledge

Benefits:
• 22 days’ holiday plus birthday and Christmas week off
• National Trust or English Heritage membership
• Flexible working hours
• CPD plus talks, conferences and courses
• Pension scheme on completion of probation
• Stroking the studio dog

We’re looking for someone who will help our business grow and create great work while keeping up with the day-to-day work and having a bit of fun in the process. Download the job spec here.

If this sounds like you, email india@thewaydesign.co.uk telling us how you fulfill our role requirements, plus your salary expectations. Please attach your CV and a PDF of your three best pieces of work.

Deadline for applications: 5 May, 2017. **EXTENDED DEADLINE**

No agencies. No typos. Thanks

Ed goes walkabout in Bristol

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My name is Ed – I am an aspiring photographer from York and love going into town taking street photos and telling stories through my images. I am spending two weeks interning with The Way Design to experience the real world creative industry. I have really enjoyed my time here so far, despite being Betsy the office dog’s new favourite toy!

So there I was, standing on a busy Bristol street after disembarking my bus. It was a feeling that I could only describe as if I was Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon for the first time. Although, in reality it was only one small step off a bus it really felt like a giant leap. Suddenly I found myself alone in an alien city with nothing but my trusty camera bag and a tourist map with a highlighted route marked on. India had selected some places for me to visit and explore the city including local attractions.

Once I had worked out where I was, I aimed for the Christmas Steps. This seemed like it would be a simple task as it was so close to where I started. Little did I know that the distraction of a new place to photograph and confusion of road and building work would throw me off course so much! I suddenly found myself standing on the Harbourside looking over to the M Shed. I had no idea how I had managed to get there but decided to explore the next attraction on my list.

The M Shed was fantastic! It was lovely to learn a bit about the history of Bristol and see how it has changed over time. Around the M Shed there were some fantastic photo opportunities with some amazing riverside railway tracks and other industrial equipment.

Next, I visited Underfall Yard. I had a good look around the visitor centre where I learnt how they control the river and keep the industrial and residential properties safe. There is also a fantastic water taxi service that can take you across Bristol via the Avon so I decided to take advantage of it to get back to the city centre.

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After that I went to explore the streets more and really focus on getting some photos. After walking around aimlessly looking for some interesting subjects, I stumbled across a dark, grimy alley. Now dark alleyways are my usual stomping ground in York, however being in a new city I had no idea what I would find. I cautiously entered and was immediately blown away by the quality of the graffiti, or street art as I like to call it. The artwork ranged from a really detailed image of Charles Darwin to crudely painted images with powerful statements plastered all over them. I was really in awe of one piece of art which was an angry looking wolf, hand drawn with biro on a wooden panel. I saw it and instantly fell in love with the piece and had to get a photo that would do it justice. Moving further down the street I was suddenly greeted by the darker side of the alley. The floor suddenly became littered with needles and rubbish. It was at this point I realised I didn’t really want to hang around there too long!

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To finish my trip, I decided to visit the local camera shops and browse the range of brand new cameras. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I wanted ALL of it. But I was especially happy to try out the brand new D500 which I can only wish for.

After fantasising about future camera equipment, I finally decided it was time to head home and I made my way back to the bus.

You can check out more of my photos and find out more on my Flickr, Instagram and Facebook pages. #ExploringBristol

So much to Do

The Do Lectures, Wales, 2016.

In July I was fortunate enough to be one of the attendees at the Do Lectures in Wales. It’s a cross between a small festival, a networking event, a series of lectures, workshops and a professional and personal development course.

We camped in bell tents, ate glorious local food, enjoyed inspiring talks, great live music and discussed everything under the sun with new friends by the camp fire long into the nights.

 

great Speakers

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I won’t go through every wonderful talk, you’ll be able to see them all online in the near future, but here are some of my speaker highlights:

  • Kicking things off on Thursday was Mr Bingo with his eclectic, impassioned talk, ‘29 Things I’ve Learnt’ covering how he makes a living out of vulgar drawings, rap videos and charging people for insults.
  • Later on, Daniela Papi-Thornton spoke about ‘Tackling Heropreneurship’. A tantalising insight into social businesses and entrepreneurs working towards social change, the pitfalls and psychology of impact and effective change. I wrote pages and pages of notes on that one so I’m still processing it!

Friday went by in a blur of phenomenal speakers, which included:

  • Michael Burne of Carbon Law Partners talking about how the legal system is broken and how his company is going about changing it.
  • Severine Von Tsarner-Fleming of Agrarian Trust, a fascinating woman with a passion for communal farming and bringing commoning and community back to the next generation of farmers in the States.
  • Will and Guy from the British Pilgrimage Trust. Two blokes who are single-handedly trying to resurrect the art of pilgrimage in the UK (Will having unsuccessfully tried to make a living previously as a travelling minstrel) and brought their unique ‘double-act’ to Do. Speaking about their four-day pilgrimage to the sea from the source of the River Teifi, via the Do Lectures for the weekend, the people they met, things they learnt and history they discovered along the way.
  • Stephen Russell, the Barefoot Doctor, blew everyone away with his positivity, Taoist approach and loving confidence. Ending with ‘Essentially, everyone just wants to be loved. Even bigots.’

Saturday continued with excellent speakers, starting with:

  • Chris Sheldrick of What3Words, the universal addressing system giving a viable address to every three square metres on the planet using just three words. A phenomenal mapping system changing the way businesses work, improving the lives of nomads, how emergency services access people in crowds, helping people find their friends and driving social and economic development in countries all around the world.
  • Heather Le Fevre, author of Brain Surfing, whose talk and separate workshop on reciprocal generosity I attended, is a global-based American strategist. The take-away lesson learnt from her talk was that ‘Everything we need to know is in other people. You just need to ask.’ And to always bear in mind the Ratio of Help; Offer 2: Ask 1.
  • Holley Murchison of Oratory Glory followed. An astounding person and inspiring soul who spoke about owning your voice, leading with love and leaving your mark.
    I attended her workshop before the talk which was ‘The Art of Making a Great Introduction’. So now, rather than asking what people do when I meet them, I’ll ask what they’re passionate about. It’s a much more interesting conversation to have with someone new!

 

new opportunities and adventures

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One of the best parts of Do was having the opportunity to meet and discuss with the speakers and other attendees over dinner and evening drinks. I used this opportunity to have a more in depth chat with Will of British Pilgrimage Trust as well as Michael of Carbon Law Partners and others. There are certainly lots of people whom I plan to stay in touch with and may hopefully work with in the future.

On the final morning at 7am, I was fortunate to join Will and Guy and a small group of Doers for the last leg of their pilgrimage to the coast. It was an enjoyable couple of hours; singing an old folk song to a yew tree, pausing for thought at a ruined abbey, discovering hidden wells and the meaning of Mount Joy. We questioned a blessing stone, sampled samphire on the beach and paddled in the waves at the end of our journey. There is so much hidden heritage on Britain’s public footpaths and byways and I’d love to do it again sometime, some place new.

I met many amazing people at Do Lectures and have since been in touch with a handful of them, particularly the Bristol cohort of which there were quite a few! I left feeling inspired, enriched and with a very, very long To Do List. One of which was to write this blog post. So at least that’s one thing finally done!

Copper load of this!

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A large part of our work goes unseen. You wouldn’t think it of a design agency. This is because some of our larger projects are often Round 1 or Round 2 bids for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), so it’s all very hush hush until we hear the outcome and can share the news.

Last year, we were involved with such a Round 2 bid to secure funding for the restoration and interpretation of the Coniston Copper Mines and Penny Rigg area in the Lake District National Park.

Following a successful tender, we worked alongside Lisa at Minerva Heritage, the chosen interpretation consultant, to help support the development of the interpretation plan for the site in order to submit the Round 2 proposals.

Well we’re thrilled to finally announce that the hard work paid off and the project has now secured Round 3 funding which covers implementation. This is great news for the site and all the volunteers involved as it means the somewhat crumbling archaeology can be saved and visits to the site promoted, further enriching the tourist offer and increasing knowledge of the area and its history.

We developed the site brand, creating a guidelines document to help steer the look and feel as it goes through implementation, as well as promotional event materials and visuals for digital elements.

A key part of the plan was visualising the site interpretation which needed to withstand harsh winters and summers, grazing livestock and rock falls! So we chose low-lying interpretation which could be built up and enforced using the local materials to hand.

See more of our work for this project on our portfolio page. Or you can find out about the project bid here. There is currently a call for volunteers from all backgrounds and experiences, so if you’re local and want to get involved, get in touch via archvol@lakedistrict.gov.uk.

 

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How to get a graduate design job without losing your soul

e’ve all bWeen there: fresh from university, sense of achievement from a brilliant degree show, you’re talented and want to change the world. Your friends move all over the country and seem to land their perfect first job with ease. You’ve sent out countless prospective emails. It’s three months later and you’re working in a bar part-time because you still need to survive. Shy of a couple of two week placements over summer, you’ve not yet got a proper design job. What’s going wrong?

I thought it would be useful at this time of year to give you some dos and don’ts. This mainly applies to design graduates and although we’re talking graphic design, it can work with fashion, photography, architecture… all kinds of creative backgrounds.

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Your approach:

  • Be good, really good. Talent is a start but I’m interested in what you do with it.
  • Be positive and friendly.
  • Be interesting and interested.
  • Be curious. Keep working in your spare time. Keep creative. Keep practicing. Explore ideas. I love to see a sketchbook and doodles.
  • Get offline! You may be a millennial but most of the industry isn’t. Networking is your friend and you can even enjoy it. Join things, talk face-to-face with people, be nice, be memorable.
  • Join a club or organisation: ISTD, CSD, People of Print, Museums Association, local sports clubs… anything! In Bristol, join Bristol Media and go to events. Around the rest of the country there are all sorts of creative networks and organisations for all kinds of businesses, whatever your specialism. Get to know people in the industry this way and you might find out they’re looking for someone before they even advertise it.
  • Don’t ask, don’t get. Ask questions. All the time. If they’re not advertising, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no job going.
  • If there’s a skill you’re missing that would help you stand out, learn it. Learning doesn’t stop when you leave university. If grammar’s your weakness, learn to improve. Can’t draw like you used to? Practice and practice. If you need to learn a new piece of software, do an online course in it. Don’t know how to artwork for print? Learn! Set yourself challenges like #100daysproject. Agencies love to see people self-improve and want to learn more.

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First contact:

  • Know who you’re talking to. I get countless emails starting ‘Dear Sir’. They immediately get deleted. Even if I was a sir, they’re not personal and would still get deleted. It doesn’t take five minutes to find the name of the person you’re emailing.
  • You can still have personality. Show it in your cover email/letter.
  • Tailor your CV, covering letter and portfolio. Do not send more than three projects to potential employers. They don’t want your whole portfolio in an unsolicited email. Pick your most relevant projects for that agency and in your covering letter say why you’ve chosen them and link similarities to the company’s own client work if possible. They want to know you’ll fit in. Make sure you use the right person’s name, the right company name and the correct job title. Double check! (I’ve had emails addressed to me that mention another company’s team and clients in the body.)
  • List what you can do: concepts, artwork, coding etc. Don’t say ‘I know 100% of InDesign’. No you don’t, no one does. There’s a current trend in CVs with infographics showing how well people can use software packages by percentage. It annoys me. How can you possibly know how much you know?
  • No typos! Get someone else to read through everything before you send it. (Out of over 100 applications we had for our designer position last year, 80 were immediately binned for having errors in either the cover email or CV. It’s a very quick and easy way to filter applications.) Alright, you’re probably not a copywriter but if you’re accurate, it shows agencies that work won’t have to be done twice.
  • Everyone likes movies and socialising! I’m far more interested in your qualification in cat herding than hearing you like to go to the pub. But I do still like to read what people’s interests are so keep them in. You won’t be judged professionally on it but it can make you stand out more.
  • Be persistent but don’t stalk or piss people off. Follow up on your email with another email a week later. If still no reply after a couple of days, feel free to call the person. If they don’t want to talk to you, fine, but they probably just had other things on their mind and got sidetracked. It might be the start of a very good conversation.

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Interview:

  • Customise your portfolio. If you’re applying for a junior web designer position but your portfolio is mainly corporate identity, don’t panic. If you’ve got a couple of weeks’ notice, or even a week, that’s plenty of time to work your magic and do an entire project or two to boost your folio. This is how I landed my first job.*
  • Use your experience. If you’ve had a placement, show the work you did there. Of course you need to ask their permission and be honest about your part in it but as long as you don’t put it online they should be ok with it in your folio.
  • Show your best, most relevant work. Not ALL your work. This is very important and shows your editing skills as well.
  • The core idea is more important than polished visuals. I’d rather see a sketch with a powerful idea than a worked up graphic with no real purpose.
  • Show your commercial and most recent work. It’s far more relevant to a potential employer than a second year group project. As the saying goes, ‘you’re only as good as your last project’, whether that’s through paid work or off your own back.
  • Be confident, not cocky. If you’re not a confident person, pretend. It has the same effect.
  • Be on time.
  • Be professional. Dress like you want the job. I’m not saying wear a full suit but jeans and a t-shirt might be a bit too informal.
  • Be passionate.
  • Tell them what you can bring. They want to know you’ll get on with everyone and also bring value to their offer. Sell the benefits of projects you’ve done and how they helped the end user. Everyone likes results.
  • Follow up the next day with an email thanking them and asking for feedback. It’s the least they can do.

 

If you do all these things – or at least most of them – and apply to the right places for you, you’ll get there in the end. You will. You’re just at the start of your journey. Let us know how you get on @thewaydesign.

I wish you the very best of luck and enjoy the degree show!


 

*Side story: after three months of fruitless job hunting following my graduation, I managed to get an interview for a small agency in Nottingham. Knowing that this was specifically for print/corporate design and that I’d spent my entire third year on ‘new media’ as it was called then – designing DVD menus and film credits (despite my adamant refusal to live and work anywhere near London) – my portfolio was chronically lacking in appropriate work. I picked out two competition briefs from the YCN book and set to working my creative magic. The day before my interview, I reprinted my folio with the two completed additional projects and left out all my digital work. I got the job. The reason they gave was that my portfolio showed more relevant print experience than any of the other interviewees.

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Interpreting the Tree Team

The project

April saw the official launch of the final phase of the Westonbirt Project. The project started with the 2014 opening of the Welcome Building and new parking facilities, and finished with the building of new areas at Westonbirt – the STIHL Treetop Walkway and the Wolfson Tree Management Centre (comprising the mess room and machinery store). If you’ve not been to Westonbirt Arboretum, or haven’t been for a while, now may be a good time to discover it!

We thought it might be useful to share our experience and the process from concept through to completion…

 

The brief

We were tasked with creating an engaging, low-tech interpretation area for visitors to learn about the work of the Tree Team and to connect them further with trees through a deeper understanding of what it takes to care for a living collection.

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Concepts

Following a site meeting to discuss the project, the concept went through various phases of development, taking into consideration the stakeholders involved in the project. Here you can see how it developed from our earlier initial sketch through to the approved final design.

The team were keen to use the skills of a local artist from the start and so following concept approval we briefed in Jody Thomas to visualise the elements (bottom pic).

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Production

Working with Antomic Woodworking on the production and build; they measured, cut and base painted the elements, built the frame to hold it all together and designed, cut and built the interactives. The flat sheets (made from 18mm Tricoya) were then delivered to Jody’s studio for spraying.

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Build

On a freezing day in December, Antomic installed the project on site. The following day they installed the panels then we went along with Jody to meet Antomic and the Westonbirt team to spray the back and do the finishing touches.

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Finish

Part of the project also included design and production of a Hotspot sign in their house style to guide visitors from the main path through to the interpretation area.

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Following the build and finish, the interpretation area can now be viewed by visitors. It includes a toolbox which is changed regularly and allows people to see smaller items which the Tree Team use, as well as a blackboard which is updated monthly by the team so visitors can see them at work around the arboretum and will know what they’re up to and a ‘book’ which gives further details about the science behind their work.

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Launch

The official opening ceremony was held at the end of April when the walkway, mess room and machinery store were officially opened by Ellie Harrison of BBC’s Countryfile.

You can see a summary and finished photos of this project on our portfolio page.

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Top Five Tips on… Legibility in design

You want to make your content inclusive to as many audiences as possible, whether that’s in print or online. So here are our top five tips for making your designs legible, gleaned from years of experience plus guidance from RNIB and the Equality Act 2010:

 

Fonts

Type 1

There’s much discussion about whether serif or san serif are more legible. Choose what works for the situation, what the audience might be more comfortable with, and don’t make it too fussy. Some serifs are hard to read, as are some san serifs, it’s a personal choice often. Headings can use ‘display’ fonts which can be more tailored to the item you’re creating (period style, more character etc). You should generally ensure that blocks of copy use simple, clear fonts such as Frutiger, Helvetica, Cambria. The less flourish on them, the easier they are to read.

The general rule is that italics and scripts, although fine for highlighted text, are harder to read as blocks of copy, as are very light fonts since they can seem to disappear. Bold and heavy weights can be used for headings but are not suitable for body copy. Upper case can be very clear when used for pulled out points but avoid blocks of copy with it.

In terms of sizes, all the fonts in the image above are written in the same point size so you can see how much variation there can be. For good legibility you want to pick a well-balanced font where the ascenders and descenders aren’t too long (that’s the top of the ‘d’ and bottom of the ‘p’). For printed items, 9.5pt for body can be perfectly legible if you’ve chosen a well-balanced font. On an information panel, generally the smallest size you can use is 14pt.

 

Contrast and colours

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You want to ensure maximum contrast when using copy over colour or imagery. Here I’ve shown you the same size and weight font used across several background images and colours. When using on a coloured or shaded background, make sure to use a very light/dark coloured font over a very dark/light image or colour. When a word is put over a noisy image with lots of contrast in itself, such as trees or mountains as here, it makes it very difficult to understand.

Equally, tonally similar colours make it hard to pick out words (as grey and yellow shown here). Never use red/green, grey/red or complementary colours as text and background together. They appear to zing and are just really hard to read, whether or not your reader is colour blind!

 

 

 

Hierarchy

Type 3

All content needs a heading at a minimum, then body copy. Longer chunks of information (articles and such) are better broken up with subheads, bullets and pulled out quotes if suitable. This is called hierarchy of text as shown here: it starts short and big and filters down to body copy. Generally in print, short line lengths are easier to read, usually columns of up to ten words are fine. On panels, you want to keep the line lengths short, particularly for pull-outs as you don’t want people visibly moving their heads just to read the information! Hierarchy is important to consider both online, off line and in print.

 

 

Space

Type 4

Good use of space can actually make copy more legible (particularly for dense or small copy). You’ll see in the hierarchy example, extra spacing between blocks of text. It enables the design to breathe and makes it more visually appealing than solid blocks of text. In the spacing example you can see the same copy used with left aligned text, force justified and with tight kerning (the space between the letters). Version one is best practice for legibility, as you can see. It’s easy to follow, well spaced and clearer than the other two.

 

 

Numbers

Type 5

A last consideration for legible design which is particularly important to keep in mind for financial reports and statistics, is how the numerics appear. Some fonts have their numbers all sitting on the baseline, others break out of it as shown in the example. The latter can make it hard to follow lines within charts and spreadsheets unless shading or lines are used to separate them. If working on a number-heavy document, choose a font where there can be no ambiguity between numbers such as 3, 5 and 8 and 1 and 7, which can be commonly confused.


I hope this helps with your next project and has been an interesting read. If you’d like to talk further or have any questions about legibility in design, please do get in touch via our Facebook page. I could go on but I’ve tried to keep it brief!

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We’ve had some absolutely wonderful feedback that’s making us blush about the Westonbirt Guide:

“Having at last read the Guide and belatedly read the unduly and unnecessarily modest credits, I now know who was responsible for its production. And I hasten to thank and congratulate you all on ‘The Guide’. To my mind and eye, it is quite the best guide book I have ever read – in each and every aspect.

“From the first sight and handling of the cover style and throughout the concept to the smallest of the comprehensive details it is an exemplar and is worthy of much greater promotion…

“For such flair and concise and comprehensive knowledge to be demonstrated and communicated across such a wide range of expertise is a quite remarkable achievement. Congratulations to the whole team on your accomplishment.”

John Kendall, Trustee, Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum.

We worked closely with the copywriter and Arboretum Director on this lovely visitor guide. You can read all about the project here.

 

 

Recommended Agency Status

We’re chuffed to bits to have just achieved Recommended Agency Status. Only possible thanks to our wonderful clients who’ve said some lovely things about us.

The Recommended Agency Register is a database of design and advertising agencies whose clients have recommended them above the benchmark required. And it’s a pretty high benchmark too! Clients use the database to find agencies they can trust and agencies use it to stand out and attract new clients.

Thank you again to all our clients who’ve helped get us here.

We’re recruiting!

Creative, outdoorsy and want to live in the best city in Britain*?

We’re looking for an exceptional all-round graphic designer to join our small team, in a role that has the potential to become something amazing.

At The Way we specialise in engaging, useful design for print, brands and interpretation. We’re pretty new as a business, but have an enviable client list including national parks and forests… and we’re growing fast! We create everything from complete brands to magazines and newsletters, visitor guides, interpretation, signage and wayfinding systems, mapping and illustrations, marketing campaigns and reports.

In this new role, we’re looking for a self-motivated graphic designer to join us at our office in Bristol. You should have at least five years’ experience working in house or agency side in a fast-paced studio, where you’ve gained proven experience in running projects end-to-end. Being both creative and an accurate artworker, you should have the confidence to take briefs and present your ideas to clients, from concept stage through to delivery.

Experience working in interpretation, the public sector, museums and heritage – and a love of the great outdoors – is a big plus.

Must have:
• A great portfolio showing your creativity and breadth of project experience
• Expert Adobe CC skills
• Print process knowledge
• Conceptual thinking and scamping
• High standards of execution
• Excellent communication skills
• Design degree or equivalent
• A desire to get involved and push the business forward

We’re looking for someone who will help our business grow, winning pitches while keeping up with day-to-day work (and hopefully having a lot of fun too).

If this sounds like you, email hello@thewaydesign.co.uk telling us what you can bring to the business, plus your salary expectations. Please attach your CV and a PDF of your three best pieces of work.

Salary negotiable, dependent on experience. Benefits include 25 days’ annual holiday and CPD. Flexible working and reduced hours also considered.

Deadline for applications: 6 March, 2015.

Interviews will be held in Bristol city centre on 16 March. Only successful applicants will be contacted.

See the full ad here.

*It says so here

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