Spotlight On: Senior Concept Designer, Sue Dani

We’re very proud of our books here at Oxford Australia, and we’re even more proud of the hard work that goes into creating the perfect textbook or digital product. There are a lot of different people involved in getting a book from conception to consumer; today in Spotlight On we introduce you to Sue Dani, a Senior Concept Designer in our Creative Services division.

Name: Sue Dani
Title: Senior Concept Designer*
When did you start at Oxford: mid-2007
Sum up your job in 3 words: conceptual aesthetic problem-solving

What are your day-to-day tasks?
My day-to-day tasks range from creating cover and text designs to meeting briefs (essentially problem-solving – which includes researching subjects, trends, internet, artists, image libraries, visiting galleries and book shops, reading blogs, books, magazines zines etc) through to critiquing and giving/receiving constructive feedback on freelancer and colleagues’ as well as my own designs; working on design layouts (including taking in text corrections and amending/creating technical and other artwork);  liaising with production, permissions, publishers, editors and freelancers and collaborating/brainstorming with, and supporting my colleagues!

What product or project are you most proud of working on?
Working on the Big Ideas Series with the creative Malaysia OUP design team 18 months ago in Kuala Lumpur was a real standout, and I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to work with them to craft their concept designs.  It was challenging to work in a different environment – not only differing systems and processes but also from a cultural perspective. I learnt a great deal during my time there, made many new friends and found it a very rewarding experience.

What is your favourite thing about working in publishing?
My favourite thing about working in publishing is that I feel I am making a difference to children’s lives by making learning interesting and easier – maybe by making maths that little more engaging or making a product easier to navigate, I’m encouraging one child to feel less intimidated and more confident than I did when I was in school!

What advice would you give to someone interested in a role like yours?
A large proportion of my role revolves around conceptual problem-solving.  It’s important to have a strong aesthetic but, it’s just as important, if not more so, to have solid problem-solving skills. In this role you need to be able to work through a problem to present relevant alternatives and it is critical to have a large pool of knowledge, experiences etc. to draw upon for your ideas. My advice to someone interested in this type of role would be to learn as much as they can about everything. From current affairs to connecting and learning from others within/outside your industry – don’t be a static learner but, keep exploring and don’t be afraid to take a risk!

What are you reading right now?
I’m a science fiction tragic – Excession, Ian M. Banks!

*Since completing this post, Sue has become the Design Manager of the Creative Services division.

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