Tom Hoare is a Senior Service Designer at Engine Service Design and is based in London. He graduated from BA (Hons) Visual Communications in 2014 and during his time at university he was elected as Student Union President.

We caught up with Tom to find out what he did after leaving university and his experience of working as a Service Designer at Engine Service Design

I opted to continue my studies and completed a Masters in Interaction Design.  This in turn has led me into the field of Service Design where I’ve worked at a small consultancy for the last five years.  I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s largest organisations helping them to create great experiences for their customers, whilst they’re using different services. This might be buying a new product online, travelling on a train, shopping in a supermarket or moving through an airport. Ultimately, trying to make the things we do every day a little less terrible! It’s taken me all over the world and I’ve had the chance to meet all sorts of wonderful people.

Could you give us a description of a typical day?

Generally, a pretty mixed bag. A lot of thinking and writing on post it notes. The majority of my job is asking questions and convincing others that our point of view, is the right point of view.

In order to do that I might be… running a workshop with clients, conducting interviews with stakeholders, building a prototype to test, drawing or crafting concept illustrations, writing a narrative to tell the story of an experience or writing detailed technical requirements on how something should work. Alongside this is the general day-to-day admin that comes with a project. Keeping the client happy, sending emails and (at the moment – thanks COVID…) spending a lot of time on the phone.

What did you enjoy about your time on BA (Hons) Visual Communications, did the course help you in starting out professionally?

As someone who wasn’t totally convinced about what they wanted to do professionally, Viscom offered me the right support to try out new disciplines. I was actively encouraged to explore methods or areas of creativity that were above and beyond what was immediately on offer.

Through this, I entered professional life with a wide range of skills – covering everything from graphic design through to animation and film. Further to this, the course has a strong sense of purpose and an even stronger sense of community. To the point a number of us were so committed to the course we got VisCom tattoos. Talk about dedication. By remaining connected to my course mates in professional life, has created a network of friends and skills that I can draw upon should I need.

Do you have any tips or advice for current students or recent graduates wanting to work in your field?

The most important part of my job is understanding the challenges or needs of others. That’s potential users, but also clients too. I would recommend spending time getting really good at doing research – asking questions, observing behaviours etc. and then drawing out interesting insights that you can design against! All designers love questioning stuff, it’s just about formalising it into something you can work with.

Finally, are there any future ambitions or projects in the pipeline you can tell us about?

One day it would be swell to open up my own studio, but I feel that’s a little way off yet. Or dare I say it start teaching!