Staff stories - Kevin - Scottish Government Jobs

Staff stories – Kevin

Tell us a bit about you?

I have 2 young children who keep me on my toes! When I do have free time I like to draw, design prints, meet with friends, play board games, read, play guitar (badly) or do a bit of cycling or running.


Did you study after leaving school?

Yes. I studied Art and Design at Edinburgh College (or Telford College as it was then known) which led on to a place studying Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art. I have also done additional studying through workplace development plans and I think that is really important to work for an employer who will support your professional development.


What and where was your first significant job?

Although I had various hospitality jobs to support myself while studying, I would say that my first significant job was working as a freelance illustrator for The National Theatre of Scotland. It was one of my first freelance design jobs following graduation and it was a really important step in my career having the opportunity to collaborate with a more experienced designer.


When did you join the Scottish Government and what was the role?

I joined the Scottish Government in late 2021 as a Graphic Designer.


Tell us about your current role at SG?

My current role is as the Lead Graphic Designer in the Digital Transformation Division, which is part of the Scottish Government Digital Directorate. I am responsible for the visual direction of the Digital Scotland Design System which is applied to our flagship Scottish Government sites.

Alongside the other User Centred Design leads in the Digital directorate I collaborate with the Head of Design in order to improve how digital services are created and developed across the public sector.

It is a really exciting time to be working in the Digital directorate having the opportunity to contribute to a programme of digital transformation based on a strong foundation of user centred design principles.


What first attracted you to working at government or in the public sector?

What attracted me to working in the public sector is the ability to make a positive impact on people’s lives through design work. Most public sector design is related to campaigns or programmes which aim to help or benefit the user in some rather than just sell them something and that can be very rewarding.

I wanted to work at Scottish Government as I had been upskilling in user centred design practice and really wanted to utilise these new skills within a multi-disciplinary digital design team.


What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me will include a lot of collaboration with the wider design system or digital transformation team, in particular with our Senior Interaction Designer. This can take the form of Microsoft Teams chats, collaborative design or feedback sessions in the online whiteboard tool mural or through regular meet ups with our front end developers. We are beginning to have more face to face whiteboard sessions in the office which is really great to get to see colleagues and collaborate in person.

At the moment I work mostly in Figma to design and refine components, interfaces  and patterns for the Digital Scotland Design System. I also create detailed handover documents in Figma in order to pass over designs for development. I use the Adobe Creative Suite to create more in-depth raster or vector graphics and also to carry out design jobs for print. I still get the opportunity to break out the pencils when we are exploring low fidelity wireframes or creating Illustrations where required.

Whenever possible I try to help with any user research that is taking place in order to improve my own UCD practice by understanding how we can make our designs more accessible and inclusive.


What do you like most about your current job?

Collaborating with our multi-disciplinary team. I am always learning from the other professions in our team which helps me to continue my own development.


What is your working pattern?

I work full time, mostly from home at the moment but with occasional days in the office.


What do you think is the best thing about working at Scottish Government?

The opportunity to work with like-minded people to have a positive impact on the lives of the people of Scotland.


Have you used any employee benefits whilst working at Scottish Government?

I use flexible-working to help organise school and nursery pick-ups and drop-offs.


What has been your career highlight so far?

Launching and maintaining the Digital Scotland Design System Kit for Figma which is a resource we had had a lot of requests for. I think it something that will continue to evolve and really help designers to create accessible, more consistent digital services.


What career advice would you give your younger self?

Good objectives and workplace development plans are invaluable to help you progress in your career. Try to gauge from job descriptions or questions at interviews whether the team or organisation you want to work with is truly committed to your development by providing training access and support.