Jack Duffell, My Career

I have always been drawn to the more creative side, since early in my school career. I gained 10 GSCEs, skipping straight to A level fine art, allowing me to take an additional A level in Graphic Art. I was fortunate to have some great teachers who really helped me develop my hands-on skills. I soon discovered a passion for creating something from nothing, which still feeds my drive to create every day.

I studied Furniture and Product Design (Ba) at Nottingham Trent University and was fortunate to get some great experience during my placement year with a local design firm. I learnt a lot during my university years, but none more so than during my placement year. Seeing how products are created every day really gave me a real life feel for what was ahead in my career.

 

After passing my exams, I spent a year as a Design Engineer with a small local firm specialising in metal and glass staircases. It was tough and the hours were long, but it taught me how important being precise and meticulous is, even in a creative environment. I was then able to work as a Design and Development Manager for a company who specialised in the fit out and security of mobile phone shops. This role taught me to handle the pressure that comes with fast paced projects with national scale customers.

After around 3 years of being out of university, I really wanted to get back to my passion of furniture design and was able to get a role with Whitemeadow as a designer (more on a junior level). I was shocked at the speed of projects and how much creative input was available. When I joined, the upholstered bed range on offer was still small as the company had only just started manufacturing them a year or two prior. Now we offer over 100 bed ranges, plus accessories, and have become well known as a high-quality manufacturer in the market.

 

Over my time with Whitemeadow, my responsibilities have increased, and I have been given a small team to work with and manage to help bring new and exciting designs to life. I have spent time in customer facing meetings and been given free reign to put my design stamp onto products that end up in customers’ homes every day. On top of my usual workload, I have been entrusted to create a large amount of the visual content for the company, drawing on my passion for photography, to help create high quality imagery to send to customers as well as internal communication videos.

I would not say there is much of a “typical day” as a Designer at Whitemeadow, due to the pace and scale of projects that we work on. However, you can be assured that a typical week involves a lot of market research, concept sketching, 3d CAD frame drawing and interaction with production to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. The varied work from day to day makes it a very rewarding career.

The advice I would give for someone looking to get into any creative role, is to focus on presentational skill and being able to successfully convey your idea to your customer/audience. Whilst having a strong creative flair is important, I would say that showing you have a strong grasp of the details of your product and how you intend it to be manufactured is of higher value to a company.