Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
I’m Cameron Porter (Cam), a 26-year-old Junior Digital Designer at Fiora.
What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?
I could be designing anything from buttons to brochures or logos to landing pages, generally preceded by a coffee.
What’s great about what you do?
My favourite thing about this job is the variety. Being able to move from designing websites to something like a brochure allows me to flex different areas of my creative brain and stay engaged with my work.
What are the toughest parts of your job?
I think when you’re just starting out, dealing with the vulnerability that comes [when] you submit your work can be hard. It can feel like you’re putting yourself out there for criticism, but ultimately, you learn that this is what pushes your work into places you never considered.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
I’d say seeing a logo that I’ve created in the flesh for the first time. Even if it’s on something relatively mundane, it makes everything feel even more real. Being able to surpass the expectations people had of me once I joined has also been a great feeling and validating for my creative journey.
What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
Confidence, by far. Imposter syndrome is cruel beast, and as someone who isn’t formally trained in anything that I’m doing, I’ve encountered it a fair few times. Sometimes it helps to remind myself that I’m in the position I’m in thanks to hard work and not dumb luck. Only sometimes, though.
What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
This is my first time being in a creative role. I actually studied Architecture and Planning at university, so my career path to this point has been a little unorthodox. After graduating in 2019, my architecture job search wasn’t immediately fruitful, so I got a bar job to make ends meet while I carried on looking. Not too long after that, COVID happened, and I eventually found myself in the same place 2 years later. Trying to figure out what you want to do with your life while working 18 hour shifts every Saturday is pretty hard, and I’d fallen a little out of love and practice with architecture. So, I quit my job and did some soul searching. In my mind I was always going to do something creative; I’ve always been doing small creative things on the side, so it made sense. I was interested in pursuing a career in graphic design, even before architecture, so I went for it. I believed in my ability, to an extent, but I didn’t have the kind of portfolio that showcased what I felt capable of. I set myself branding challenges, taught myself new tools, and entered competitions to help me develop a small body of work. After that, I found myself having interviews for roles far above the level I’d originally imagined, like an interview for a role at GoDaddy. Despite my inexperience, it was beginning to feel like someone might be willing to take a risk on me, and that’s exactly what led me to Fiora.
How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?
Despite not being directly related to what I’m doing, my architecture degree has definitely helped me get to this point. I’d like to think it’s given me strong design fundamentals, like conceptual thinking and collaborative practice. It also helps me with UX work, since I’m used to considering the effect design can have on users. Although, now I’ve replaced construction materials for contrast ratios.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
I remember going to a university open day around that age and being told by the head of the graphic design course that I should consider doing a foundation degree instead. Looking back now, they were spot on. I had no related qualification from school, so I would need to take another step to prove myself. Instead, I let it hurt my confidence, and I went down a different career path entirely. I guess if I could speak to myself in that moment again, I'd say to not be so sensitive to things like that, as it wasn’t an evaluation of my ability, but more the reality of what I had to show.
I’d also tell myself not to let things like that get in the way of something you really want to do. Thinking about this again now, I can see a strong parallel with how I managed to get into the position I’m currently in. I still had no directly related qualifications or body of work, and I knew that it wasn’t enough to get me where I wanted to be. This time though, I was proactive, determined, and mindful enough to stay focused on my goal and went about trying to correct my weak points instead.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?
Go for it. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I don’t necessarily believe in manifestation, but I’d like to think that my journey is some proof that hard work and willpower can pay off. And if you’re not successful to start with, don’t let that stop you; use that as motivation to improve and progress.
Where can people find you and your work online?