It’s been over a year since we said hello to Tom and welcomed him into the Cite studio team, and a lot has happened over the last 12 months. I sat down with Tom and asked a few questions about his first year with the team and how he adapted to joining just before we all transitioned into a full-time remote working environment.

Hey Tom, what do you do here at Cite?

I am Senior Designer which means I design concepts and fully realised visuals for interfaces, marketing, websites, brands and more. Or, as I’ve taken to saying on Zoom calls “I tread the line between making things look pretty and work great”

How does a typical day go for you at Cite?

It’s usually a good blend of meetings, workshops and good old-fashioned design time. A typical day would involve an early meeting to discuss a project with other members of the Cite team, followed by a few hours working on that project. If it’s a web or interface job, I’ll be pulling it together in Adobe XD. If it’s animation, I’ll be chipping away at it in After Effects. And if it’s image-based, I’ll usually be firing up Illustrator.

I’m very lucky that I get to tackle lots of different mediums and challenges in my role. It means every day is different from the last – which is very refreshing, especially when you’re stuck at home thanks to COVID-19!

You joined just before we all went into full time remote working, how has this been? 

It’s certainly not how I thought my first year would be but it’s been great! I was lucky enough to meet most people before we transitioned to WFH and I feel hugely grateful to have a job that can be done so well remotely. 

The team have adapted incredibly to working online and we manage to keep in touch with calls and messages. Despite us not being in the same room, we communicate a lot. I have weekly catch ups with the rest of my team and talk to most people at least once a week, which is lovely. You can feel that everyone is mindful of the strains of lockdown on their colleagues and it makes Cite feel like a really supportive, collaborative community, despite the remote nature of things.

All that said, I’m looking forward to getting back to the hustle and bustle of the office!

Sum up your first year in 3 words

Strange, welcoming, fulfilling

Any highlights of your first year?

I didn’t get much time in the office this year but I did manage to squeeze in a couple of payday lunches before lockdown. 

An hour out of the office having lunch and a chat with the whole team was brilliant and I’m looking forward to the next one whenever it will be!

Something about what you’ve learnt you’d like to share?

I’ve learned a lot of software skills but nobody wants to read about prototyping in Adobe XD so I’ll pick something more relatable! I’ve learned that you can still keep a strong team culture and great working relationships with a team who are working remotely. I know we’re not unique and there are thousands of other teams thriving all around the country but the smoothness and fluidity of our team on WFH has been remarkable!

Favourite project so far at Cite?

The Puzzel Neighbourhood is probably my favourite project from my first 12 months. It began as a graphic for a small(ish) part of Puzzel’s overall marketing and has grown into a holistic illustration style and a key component of their brand. It was one of the first projects I worked on way back in January 2020 and there hasn’t been a week since that I haven’t used, re-used, or expanded on it. It’s been a great example of how forethought and strong initial foundations can set you up for success beyond the scope of the original project.

What have you been up to whilst in lockdown?

Spending lots of time on the sofa! In the first lockdown I restored a drum kit and in the second lockdown I played XBOX and viewed a lot of houses. 

This time round, I’ve been packing up our house ready to (hopefully) move by the end of the month! It’s been stressful at times but having our lovely (and first) house to look forward to has been a boon in an otherwise dull year.

Any remote working tips?

I think it’s important to maintain a good work/life balance. When you work, eat, sleep and relax all in the same space, the temptation to be in work-mode all the time can be strong – especially when work is busy. Tidying your workspace and turning off your computer at the end of the day, just like you would in the office, helps you keep work separate and can stop you becoming burnt out.

Read our remote working tips and tricks.

Anything you’re looking forward to?

The first Friday drinks at the Rutland & Derby when we’re all safely back in the office! It’s been a tumultuous 12 months and I’m sure I owe a few colleagues a beer – any maybe I’m owed a couple too ;)

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