We are delighted to announce the latest addition to our design team, Mat Finch.
He joins Spring bringing with him years of experience in design, illustration, UX and UI, gained by working on projects on both sides of the Atlantic. Want to know more? His story is below:
Growing up in Crewe, I was your typical geeky 90s kid, Always playing video games and reading Spider-man comics. I can still remember my first Spider-man comic. I picked it up while on a holiday in Spain when I was about 6 or 7. I still have that comic to this day and is the most significant influence in me becoming a graphic designer and artist. I’m still in awe of the images held within those pages – they inspired me to take up drawing and drawing is what I did. Every opportunity I had you would find me drawing, my favourite characters from popular culture at the time like Sonic the Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim and of course Spider-man.
Video games were an equal part of my childhood. Not only for the hours of fun they provided for my brother and I but also the fantastic artwork, sprawling landscape and the escapism into an unimaginable world. They helped inspire me further into heading for a career as a computer games designer. However, for a short period, I did want to be a chef, which was odd as I’d hardly cooked a thing in my life leading up to that point.
I later studied graphic design at college, which introduced me to the world of art and design and how diverse it indeed is. I’ve never been quite the same since. Like many designers, I don’t think I’ve been able to visit a restaurant since without judging the design of the menu. From here I went on to study Computer Games Design at the University of Huddersfield. I was able to apply so much of what I had learned within graphic design to create some fantastic content and bring a very design-oriented outlook to the game’s design. However, it was always the user experience of games that fascinated me the most. How to lead a player through a level with subtle uses of level layout, gameplay and colour theory, and how this was different for everyone depending on their playing style.
After Uni, like many students, I moved back home to Crewe where there wasn’t much of a games industry but I did manage to land a job as a junior designer, which reintroduced me to the diversity of graphic design that I’d discovered at College. I had stumbled into a forgotten passion. For a junior role I was given a lot of responsibility, designing email campaigns, website elements and product brochures and marketing material. I learnt a lot but soon felt I needed a change of scenery and after staying with friends in ‘a fine city’ called Norwich, I knew it was where I wanted to be and start out on a new adventure.
I eventually made the move to Norwich and have loved every minute of being here. I’m now in my fourth year of living in this beautiful city with my wonderful girlfriend Holly, who I have to admit is the driving force behind me opening up so many new horizons. Whereas when I was younger I couldn’t cook to save my life, I now can’t get enough of it. Even if I do end up making an absolute mess of my kitchen while I’m doing it. Bread, however, is my life and is the one thing I probably make the most of. Mainly a good pizza dough for some homemade pizza making. Once you’ve tasted homemade there’s no going back to store-bought pizza.
I’ve even found a way of merging my love of design and food by helping Holly and her mother Val to launch Fine Norfolk Provender, a producer of homemade jams and chutneys. With my graphic design experience, we’ve been able to create a fantastic brand for a delicious product and can usually be found at various food markets in Norfolk through the year. We were even at the Royal Norfolk Show this year where we received some fantastic feedback from our customers as well as many other local businesses, which was a massive buzz for us all.
It’s only due to my continued work as a designer over the past four more years that this has been possible. First at Fun-Stickers, a producer of kid’s stickers, and then for Epos Now, a software company that provides Point of Sale systems for retail and hospitality businesses. I was again lucky to work in a role that was varied and diverse and allowed me to work for a brand that stretched across the Atlantic. Being the sole designer for such a large company also gave me the opportunity to develop the brand and help it transition from being a start-up to a business that is seen to be a grown up and professional company. Working for Epos Now also introduced me to the world of web design and in particular UX and UI design. Similar to games design, I love knowing what makes people tick. Knowing for instance that for every second a website doesn’t load the number of visitors drop exponentially. This offers an exciting design and engineering challenge before anyone has even seen the website. It’s this challenge that is driving the new focus of my work as a designer.
I’m very excited to be working at Spring where I can bring my extensive experience to the equally varied projects that they work on on a daily basis. I also look forward to being able to develop further as a designer and in the world of web design, UX and UI to help build amazing digital experiences and products for our clients. As I get settled in I’m already learning a lot from the team and excited to see where my future with Spring takes me.