Screenmedia stories

Sara Kinnear

Graduating in 2007 from the University of Strathclyde, Sara originally joined us as Producer, and has since risen to become a Company Director

When you graduated what were you looking for in your first role?

When I graduated I went travelling for just over a year. By the time I came back I was full of enthusiasm and mainly looking for a challenging and exciting role to sink my teeth into. I remember coming out of the interview at Screenmedia and thinking ‘wow, what a lovely bunch of talented folk - I really want this’ and luckily the next day I was offered the position.

What were your first impressions of Screenmedia?

Back in 2009 when I started at Screenmedia there were just eight people in the team but I would say the talent, passion and quality standard was extraordinary for the industry. Every client we worked with was bowled over by the sheer level of effort and passion that went into every project we delivered. It was also clear, even in those early days, that proven innovation, continual R&D and a genuine interest in great design and outstanding technology were in our DNA.

What do you do at Screenmedia?

Officially my role in the studio is UX & Strategy Director so I am largely focused on the early parts of our projects, directing the solutions we deliver for clients alongside our strategy and planning team through detailed research and solutions planning. As a company director, I am also involved day to day in our general operations, project direction and consultative sale. A varied role really.

What was the first project you worked on and what did you learn?

The very first project I worked on at Screenmedia was an animation and web project for the BBC alongside Kenny, the MD. I didn’t realise at the time but it was a great one to start with, I was supporting in pretty much all areas – project management, client management and creative production. A few weeks into the project I found myself storyboarding animations for the BBC alongside Brian, our in house illustrator, and to get the chance to inform the detail of a creative solution like that, so early on in my agency career, was not only unique but incredibly exhilarating.

What’s a typical day at Screenmedia like for you?

I usually start my day at 8 with a coffee and a company meeting of some kind in Sales, Marketing or Ops. Then I usually clear my inbox and tidy up my to-do list before catching up with the projects I am involved with in the studio at various stand ups. After lunch I’ll usually settle down for some quiet/focused time on client work, a proposal or a planning output of some kind. Before the end of the day I usually catch up with our production team on any tensions or issues that need discussed.I tend to head off sharp to collect my daughter and spend some time with her before bed. In the evenings I typically catch up on my reading by surfing our internal knowledge network on Yammer and check in on sites like behance and dribble to see how design trends are changing.!

What is the most recent project you worked on and how did you contribute?

I’m currently working on a lovely project with one of clients designing the user experience for a new vending machine proposition. It’s the first type of project we’ve done of this nature and it’s been amazing to get the chance to bring our skillsets and insights into an entirely new screen context. I have been leading the solution design (information architecture, user flow and wireframes) with the client and working closely with our design and animation team to bring the whole thing to life. After 6 years at Screenmedia it’s a great feeling to still be learning and to get the chance to work alongside other specialisms in product design and product marketing is amazing

What advice would you give to graduates applying for a career at Screenmedia?

I would say be open to trying new things. At Screenmedia we’re really keen to let people have a go at something; it’s the best way to learn. If someone can do something to 50% the first time, 75% the second and 100% the third time then it’s a win-win. But unless you are willing to try and ask for help on the parts you cant fulfil you won’t ever pick up new skills or make an impact in new areas.

"Over the past 6 years I’ve grown with the company through various roles and can honestly say the opportunities at Screenmedia are endless.”

What kinds of training have you experienced at Screenmedia?

There isn’t really a limit to the training you receive at Screenmedia. We encourage graduates to be interested in everything and to ask as many questions as possible as it’s the quickest way to learn. At various points in my career I was able to append myself to various projects and challenges and I was welcomed in by the team; that made a huge difference to my development. The mentorship you experience this way is invaluable and where official training or accreditation is possible it is encouraged.

What development in the tech industry are you most looking forward to/excited about?

There are so many, it’s difficult to say any one in particular. At the moment we are all really captivated by how great design and technology can solve real challenges in health, education, transport and energy. I’m excited at the prospect of making an impact in the coming years in these areas with connected products and the internet of things.

What are you reading right now?

‘The achievement of habit’ by Bernard Roth, it’s a book about applying the principles of design thinking to everyday life.

What’s your favourite thing about working here?

Personally, my favourite thing about working at Screenmedia is the people and the atmosphere. We really are a unique bunch; focused, professional, serious but very human centred, empathetic and fun. There’s a great sense of mutual respect across the team which is largely attributed to our very flat management style. We are great at rallying round and working side by side to deliver something awesome, whether that’s for a client or for ourselves.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned here?

Many things, but as a graduate I’d say the most significant thing I learnt that made an impact on my development was ‘Treat everyone as if they are your client’. That includes your colleagues. If you pretend that everyone is responsible for paying your wages you are a better communicator, better colleague, better team player and you achieve better results.

Talk to the team that can support your next project.

Scott Sutherland

Principal UX Designer

Derek Bowers

Design Director