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Q&A  •  17 April 2024

 

A day in the life of Senior Designer, Olivia Mead

Learn what a day in the life of a senior designer at Penguin Random House looks like.

How long have you worked at Penguin Random House (PRH)?   

Four years – I started in March 2020, about three weeks before we went into lockdown. Which was an interesting time to start a new job! My role has changed a lot during that time, which has allowed me to keep learning and growing as a designer.   

What does a typical day in the life of a designer in the digital team look like?

Every day is different for the digital marketing team! But my time is mostly split between the studio and my desk. It always includes some form of photography – styling and shooting all the different books on our adult list, sometimes author headshots, or grabbing someone in the team to be a hand model and hold a book. Most days you’ll find me getting creative in the studio, rummaging through our ever-growing prop library of furniture, cushions, coloured paper, fabric, and teacups. Then it's back to the desk to get in the editing zone. 

My role involves creating photographic assets for all titles on our monthly adult list, plus DK, and sometimes audiobook titles. As well as collaborating with the rest of the Marketing and Publicity team to produce our seasonal campaign creative.

I work with our digital marketing executive, Joel, to design our weekly Penguin Newsletter (you should sign up 😉). It's great to be involved in the process of digital marketing, from in-depth planning to quick assets that highlight trending books. 

On the more exciting days, it's planning and styling shoots for our seasonal campaigns. Below are some behind-the-scenes pics of our Mother's Day photoshoot using fresh flowers, alongside a fun shot of our Autumn book club list using leaves (gathered from the garden).

You may also recognise my face/dance moves from our Penguin TikTok. As a lover of all things art/dance/music, I am an easy target when somebody needs to be convinced to star in the Toks. It usually involves learning *complex* choreography and giving the performance of a lifetime, all in about a fifteen-minute timeframe. 

What has been your favourite campaign?

It's very hard to pick, but I have to say our Fresh Voices campaign for debut authors has been a lot of fun. I worked with the team to design a super bright, fresh, and elevated look and feel, to represent all our exciting new voices. Which has featured some truly stunning cover designs. 

What's the most memorable campaign you've worked on? 

Memorable times pulling together an ambitious Christmas campaign in 2023, with a tight turnaround. It involved frantically ordering props for our Christmas lunch table-themed shoot, with some shipping delays and a lot of work setting up and styling. We had a lot of fun though, and the final product turned out pretty nice.

What do you love about your role? 

I really love the active side of my role. Being up and about, getting creative with shooting & styling, nerding out with our photography and video gear. The best part of the process is collaborating with all the amazing creatives in the Marketing and Publicity team. We have a lot of fun, and I think it shows in our work. 

What is your focus for this year? 

Now that we have our new Penguin studio space all set up, my focus for the year is utilising it to the fullest. I'm excited to keep pushing the limits with our creative campaigns and photographic and video content. We put a lot of work into setting up the studio, and the pay-off was finally using our fancy new equipment to take digital team glamour shots. 

What are you reading at the moment? 

I’m late to this party, but I am currently reading Wifedom. It is brilliant and infuriating.  

What is your favourite book? 

Of all time, I couldn't say. From recently Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, due in large part to the sweet holographic cover. 

What is your best PRH memory?

Again, I can’t just pick one. But my fave memories have been meeting our authors, and helping with shooting portraits and filming video content. As a comedy lover, a highlight was our food photography shoot with Nat's What I Reckon, (who kept us laughing and eating the most delicious food all day). As well as Rhys Nicholson (it was extremely difficult to hold in the giggles whilst filming Rhys). 

Featured Titles

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Stylish and open-hearted, this is a very different kind of love story, elevated and energised by being set in the world of creativity and video gaming
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Wifedom

A blazing, genre-bending masterpiece from one of the most inventive writers of our time.

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