• Emily Osborne

01_Skill Set Introduction

I find it funny to think, how when I was 16 completing online quizzes and personality tests that I scoffed at the thought. “I know who I am and what I like.” I don’t require a computer to tell me what I’m good at.

How funny.

As I sit here, about to graduate after 5 years of university. With 17 tabs open under various titles like “What career should I do?” and “What are creative job titles?”. I don’t know what future career understanding 16-year-old me had, but I’d love to have it back. I don’t imagine it too unusual to finish an undergraduate degree and still not know what you want to do. But I really thought I had it all planned out.

I guess I find it difficult because I thrive on having a plan and planning. But if these past 18 months have shown us anything; it’s that you can’t plan for much these days. We are nothing if we are not adaptable and we can only hope to succeed if we can ebb and flow with the tides of industry and economy. Oh, as well as climate change.

So instead, I began with a list:

A big learning curve for me this year was understanding the difference between having an eye for design and having an eye for detail. And then the difference between a great designer and is interested in design.

If I have noticed anything over that past year of learning, it is that when all other distractions are removed; in-person collaboration, creative discussion, ‘pint-breaks’, those 10 minutes before a meeting when you have to make small talk. The creative brainstorming, joking, and fantastical planning. Well, when that was all removed, and I was left to complete the work in isolation, well whilst I threw myself into research, planning, and behaviour understanding, the part that felt like the most work was as soon as I finally began to design.


You see at this point; I already think I have it already planned out in my head and so the arduous activity of then having to actually design it seems fruitless. I feel like a fraud for even writing this.

Well, I’m interested in design, the practice, the ethics, the purpose, and the power it can evoke. I am not however a great designer. I lack patience, an eye for detail, and to be honest I believe only the best designers are completely immersed in their practice. They are completely obsessed with every aspect and this is what makes their work great. If you’re not obsessed with the craft you’re making, then what’s the point? You’re only making more clutter for the sake of it.

This is not me…

However, I am obsessed with ideas and solving problems. I constantly scan my world for potential problems which I can turn into solutions. I am endlessly curious about why things are the way they are and if they could be any different for a better result. I love noticing the irregularities in everyday life, the humour in human nature, the beautiful insights into human kindness and grief. I am constantly trying to make sense of things.

I enjoy structure, organisation, and planning. My favourite parts of a project involve research and hunting for insights. I’m process orientated and driven. Ambitious and enthusiastic. I thrive on collaboration and creative conversation.

I like to have time to quietly research and break down the brief and problem by myself, but I also crave those creative processes that involve a team and bringing a range of ideas, perspectives, and disciplines into the project. I really align with the belief that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Instead, you must actually find the best person for the job.

I hope to continue to explore what I enjoy and don’t enjoy. Aligning these with what I’m good at and finding where I can bring value to either a project or a business. In the ever-progressing world, we find ourselves in, I believe it’s important, once you’ve found your feet in the industry to find a way to make yourself irreplaceable. We have enough designers, directors, makers, and planners. And so technology will take a lot of those jobs. So, what makes me different? What makes me special? – I need to bring something to the table that a company didn’t even know they needed.

Paul Smith Foundation - Advice on Making An Impression

Overall, I never want to take myself or my job too seriously. It’s a real pleasure to even make a living from doing what I enjoy and when it’s as fun as simply being creative, then what’s the point of stressing. See below for an accurate Venn diagram for my interests and personality.