Today makes it exactly one year since I joined Cregital, a top-notch design agency in Lagos, Nigeria. I had spent the last 6 years of my life working in a manufacturing company and freelancing as a graphics designer. It wasn’t until I spent a year as a graphics designer with Cregital that I learned to really understand my trade.
The journey started with a Facebook message from Nneka who is the Project Manager. Nneka had seen a logo design I posted on a Facebook group called “Naija Graphics Designers”. “We are looking for a full time graphic designer and was wondering if this is a position you might be interested in?” the message read. I chuckled at first. At the time, I only knew how to use photoshop. There was no way I was qualified for this job, but I checked their Instagram and was pretty impressed. Against my better judgement, a trip to Lagos followed and I went in for an interview. I must have impressed someone because I was offered the gig within 12 hours of the interview. I started work on my birthday and now, here I am, wiser and even more humbled by the chance to make a difference by helping create a startup people love alongside an awesome team.
Work is about learning, and the best things in life are free!
I know a good number of leaders in the Nigerian creative industry, but I had never come across the name “Evans Akanno”. Knowing Evans is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I called him “Sir” on my first day of work, having come from the corporate world. Evans is never comfortable with that. Little did I know that I was not working as just an employee, but I was becoming a member of a loving family where learning is of utmost importance.
Photoshop was the only design software I was very comfortable with prior to joining Cregital. Today, I am great at using Illustrator, Indesign, Lightroom, Premier Pro, Keynote, Sketch, Google Web Designer and WordPress. I am presently learning to be proficient in writing CSS. Credits to Cregital.
Evans made every asset available — Mockups, books, magazines, templates, apps and fonts and unlimited internet. The usual Nigerian designer will hoard these things. Evans is a selfless man who wants everyone around him to grow. I never understood the “mystery” behind fonts. Evans can tell the name of a font just by looking at it. Working with Evans opened up my eyes and not only have I come to understand fonts better, I now have a better understanding of design.
Truly, love is the greatest
In this part of the world where hierarchy and subordination thrive, employees are more concerned about their job security, KPI, rank and financial benefits. Teamwork and growth are put aside. The result is a substandard product and poor service.
At Cregital, everyone is equal. Not only does teamwork form the core of our efforts, everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. Working alongside Rufus who is our developer, I have been able to understand more about website design, development and tech generally. The structure is simple, the culture is in the blood. Although I am always a happy person, there hasn’t been a time I felt bad in the office. Happiness captivates you once you are part of the team, and wherever there is joy, success is bound to follow. This is the little secret every startup should know.
During the Christmas season, we visited Tarkwa Bay, the experience was phenomenal. Ever since, the bond keeps getting tighter.
I lost my dad in November, and as the only son, it was a blow. I have a mum and 3 sisters, but Cregital is like an extended family. I was given enough time to bury my dad and was supported morally and financially by Cregital. This is one thing that will always form the core of my memories. I will forever remain grateful. Truly, love is the greatest.
Apple is the way!
4 months into working at Cregital, I bought a Macbook Pro. Buying a Macbook is the best decision I have made in my career as a graphics designer. It was like magic. My design sense, process and speed changed. At Cregital, we are so fond of Apple like we are their ambassadors. You dare not come to our office with a windows computer without us making a gest of you but at the same time encouraging you to jump ship. Apple is the way! Every designer who wants to move fast should endeavor to have a Macbook Pro Retina.
Don’t be afraid to try new things.
This last one isn’t as much about design or work as it is about life in general. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Take chances. Make mistakes. If you see an opportunity, don’t be afraid. Just give it a try.
So what’s in store?
Thankfully, i have been able to work on projects for Google, Etisalat, GTBank, Planned Parenthood, MNET to mention but a few. If my first year was a mountain to climb, my second will be Everest. I learned so much about myself, where I stand on design and the type of company I want to help Cregital become.
So here’s to another year! Another year of beautiful things at Cregital, and another year of making sure we give back to the world that which God has blessed us with.