Emily Crook tells us how internships and a Graphic Design Communication degree landed her a job as a creative at ASOS.

How would you describe your role, and a typical day as a creative at ASOS?

I conceptualise and deliver visual campaigns (stills and video) for use across the ASOS homepage on desktop and mobile, the app, social channels, emails and OOH. I work with colleagues from the production, fashion, and marketing teams, to ensure that the content we create showcases the best product that ASOS has to offer, is messaged in the most relevant and engaging way, and reaches our audience at the optimum time.

A typical day in my role could include research and gathering of references for an upcoming shoot or campaign, and various meetings to sign off ideas and production e.g. casting, set design, etc. 

If I’m not preparing for a shoot, I will be on set working with a photographer/videographer to bring my ideas to life. Post-shooting, my time is mostly spent going through image selects, and designing/working with the visuals I have created for their final output.

"ASOS definitely takes creative risks more than many of its competitors, and celebrates diversity in a way that a lot of other brands are yet to achieve"

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Co-direction for ASOS's Peak 2017 Campaign

Following your degree in Graphic Design Communication, why did you decide to go into art working for a brand?

Coming out of university I had pictured myself going into agency work, and didn’t consider working in-house until chatting to a Chelsea graduate at my degree show. All of ASOS’s creative campaigns are produced in-house, so the creative team does function similarly to that of an agency. 

This really appealed to me — a lot of brands outsource when creating big campaigns, but I have been able to get stuck in to some really challenging projects in my time here. I don’t feel restricted working for one brand, as ASOS definitely takes creative risks more than many of its competitors, and celebrates diversity in a way that a lot of other brands are yet to achieve. 

Although unique to ASOS and always fitting to the brand, every project is completely different to the next. We collaborate with exciting brands, champion upcoming talent, and work with a variety of photographers to bring every idea to life in the best way possible.

What skills are essential to your job?

Conceptual and visualisation skills are essential to my role, and an ability to communicate effectively. ASOS is a large, fast-paced company with a lot of people involved in each project, so it’s important to be able to deliver ideas concisely and efficiently. A desire to be collaborative and respectful is also necessary in order to get the best out of a brief. 

An eye for layout is also very important — whether designing a magazine advertorial or figuring out the best crop for an image on the homepage. And in terms of technical ability, a strong knowledge of the Adobe Suite is essential, particularly Photoshop.

"Internships are invaluable. I can safely say that without that experience I would have found the uni-to-work transition a lot more difficult"

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Art Direction for ASOS's Summer 2017 campaign.

How did your degree inform your journey, or impact the way you work you do today? 

My final year at uni really informed my next steps — my FMP involved art direction and production of a definitive identity, website, lookbook and promotional materials for a streetwear label. I produced and directed a photoshoot as part of it with next to no budget, which was very challenging but I really enjoyed it. 

I don’t think I realised at the time how valuable the whole experience would be! We were also really lucky to have the opportunity to work on live briefs from creative agencies, and hear from guest lecturers who were professionals in their field. One of the best things about my course was how well it prepared us for industry — I was raring to go when I finished.

Before joining ASOS as a Junior Designer, you interned at both Illustrated People and Elle Magazine. What do you perceive the value of internships to be?

Internships are invaluable. I can safely say that my experience at both Illustrated People and Elle Magazine helped to shape the beginning of my career, and without that experience I would have found the uni-to-work transition a lot more difficult. 

I was able to gain real insight into the creative industry and met some great people who really mentored me, so leaving uni wasn’t a shock to my system. Being able to add to my CV was crucial at the time; I’m not sure I would have got the job at ASOS if I hadn’t interned. It also goes without saying that it was a great feeling to see my Illustrated People t-shirt design in Topshop, and my name printed in a magazine for the first time! I don’t think there is a better way to to have spent the uni holidays.

"It is much better to create a compelling piece of work that you’re proud of and passionate about than to create something mediocre and uninspiring just because everybody will like it"

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Art Direction for ASOS x Hello Kitty collaboration

What is the most valuable professional advice you have been offered?

The most important professional advice would probably be to remember that the line of work we are in is totally subjective. The ability to form our own opinions is a great part of the industry we’re in, but people are often quick to criticise, which can be damaging for a young creative. 

Remember that it is much better to create a compelling piece of work that you’re proud of and passionate about, which might not necessarily resonate with everyone, than to create something mediocre and uninspiring just because everybody will like it.

Who, or what inspires you most?

I am heavily influenced by music. There are so many amazing visuals coming from the music scene — album artwork, music videos at all levels of production, and gig posters, just to name a few. It fascinates me how much of an effect music can have on fashion, art, film, even influencing entire youth subcultures. As a kid I wanted to design album covers, which must have had some influence on my subsequent career path!
 
Also, it goes without saying that social media is more important than ever before. In my industry, models are being scouted through Instagram, and young aspiring photographers are getting their break through the content they are self-publishing. I actually wrote my dissertation on this topic at uni, and it has become more and more relevant as my career has progressed. Whilst at ASOS I have been lucky enough to work closely with companies such as Snapchat and Facebook; I have learned a lot about the importance of brand presence on social media, and the content that we create for social is ever-changing to adapt to our audience.
 
My older sister Lauren also inspires me, she is a doctor and she helps put things in perspective when I’ve had a bad day. 

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Design of ASOS Brand story posters
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Art direction for ASOS’s Holiday Hub
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Art Direction of ASOS's Summer 2016 Activewear campaign.

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