We caught up with Matt Searston, our in-house Affinity Designer product expert, to learn more about him and his role, and to get his top tips for using the app.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into graphic design.
So, I guess I first got into graphic design or just general image-making at a very early age. My parents always casually encouraged my sister and I to spend time drawing or painting when we were younger (she’s now an award-winning illustrator and printmaker, so I guess it paid off!), but I think because we were never forced or pressured into doing it, it definitely made it feel like it was our own choice to spend time doing it.
I think I first remember being particularly grabbed by graphic design when I saw the Gorillaz’s Clint Eastwood music video for the first time (around 2001). I’ve been a huge fan of Jamie Hewlett ever since but that was a really big turning point for me. I just remember really loving how everything was put together from the band’s logo to the CD packaging, and how all the animated elements in their videos were just so bold and stylish—it was something I connected with straight away and that really stuck with me. Plus, the music itself was pretty excellent so that definitely helped me get behind it without a doubt!
Ever since then, I guess I kept working on drawing and designing things and eventually went on to do a BTEC in Graphic Design, which I followed up with a BA in Graphic Design at uni.
How did you turn it into a career at Affinity?
While I was at uni, I was working in a music shop which I then went on to do full time when my degree finished. I was there for quite a few years after I graduated but I would keep working on my portfolio in the evenings and eventually ended up getting a few freelance design jobs here and there, which were all hugely valuable experiences, to be honest.
Spending all that time working on mostly self-initiated fun projects and freelance bits ended up giving me quite a lot of work towards a portfolio, so after a while, I very, very luckily found a Junior Designer job working at festivals, concerts and venues. I worked there for about three years overall. I had a really great time while I was there and met some amazing people, but after a while, I just felt like I wasn’t pushing myself enough and felt like I’d started to become a bit stagnant and predictable with what I was doing day-to-day.
Seemingly out of nowhere this incredible opportunity to work for Serif came up, and I totally jumped at the chance. It’s only been about a year and a half since I started here, but it’s already gone so fast—which is definitely a great sign!
What does your role as a product expert entail?
We generally cover quite a few areas, but the main thing we tend to focus on is the learning material and tutorials for our specific apps (Designer in my case). So a lot of the time we might be working on new designs or ways to show off certain tools and techniques,Continue reading