Welcome back to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Dean Davies is our latest guest on Industry Insider!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hey, I’m Dean Davies – from South Wales and I’ve been working in the Sports Industry as a Freelance Designer for the last 2 years. I also work as a Full Stack Web Developer for a company based in Brecon, Wales – where I have been there for the last 8 years.
Before that I was working in a Business Centre as a beginner Web Designer and Admin Assistant, providing support with Business Plans, Payroll and Reception.
What do you do in your current role?
Within my freelance role, I work with many franchises and companies within International Football, Overseas Sports and the Premier League.
I provide design and consultancy services for social branding and week to week bespoke content. I’m still at a point where I can let the work come to me through social and referrals, which is a nice thing to have!
Due to working full time as well, where I develop and maintain eCommerce Systems for my employer – it does mean I can only take on a certain amount of projects a month, but the balance for 90% of the time works out quite well.
What does a normal week look like for you?
I work a 9-5:30 shift during the day, whether it be at home or a trip to the office (which is about an hour away). But when I come home and after family time with the kids, it’s back to work at about 8 to start project planning for anything that I may have on for that week – usually when working with a club, there will be two nights a week where I will have matchday images to create for the next day.
I would also have to try organising any meetings/calls for around the evening times also, it’s tiring at the beginning but once the week is planned out and there’s no surprises – it can flow quite nicely.
I also try to fit a couple of hours a week in for some personal creativity time, just to keep creating without the added pressure of deadlines.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
3 years ago, I picked up on the trend of Football Edits on Twitter – and started playing around in Photoshop and posting online. It was just a hobby at this point. But as the Sports Design Industry began to grow, it was a mission to work freelance within this industry.
2 years after starting my edits, my Twitter account had grown in followers and I started getting commission work.
Now after working with the Football Association of Wales, Southampton Football Club, National Rugby League and many more – I feel like I’ve proved that you do not need a degree in Design to make it in this Industry.
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
Working for my National Team was a big moment for me and it would be hard to top that, although being able to collaborate with Swansea City Football Club is my ultimate goal, to work with my hometown club would be very rewarding.
If we come away from the business side of it, meeting and connecting with some amazing designers across social media, and in person, has made this whole journey more enjoyable.
What do you think is next for your industry?
I think using freelancers is certainly a route that a lot of clubs and companies are using now, and I hope it continues to grow. It gives designers who wouldn’t normally get the opportunities due to location, a chance to grow and gain experience of working in the Industry.
If anyone knows me from Twitter, I’m all about combining my day job skills and my design skills – automation and scripting is something to look out for in 2021 going into the future.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Putting out consistent work and gaining a style that people can attribute to you will catapult you into a category of designers that get recognised for the work they put out, that in itself will bring in opportunities. I’ve probably sent about 2 or 3 proposals of the last 2 years to attract some work, everything else has come through being recognised on Social Media for a design that I’ve posted.
Just create for you, and no one else. If you constantly put out work you enjoy, it’ll speak volumes about you as a designer.
Any social links you want to plug?
All my links are located here, drop a follow!