The Sputnik Designer Candidate Guide

1. Introducing Ourselves

This section provides further details for prospective designers at Sputnik to help you identify whether you have the skills we’re looking for.

We’ve provided some examples of work that reflects the skills we need and a guide on what we’d like to see in the portfolio samples you provide in support of your application. Please take the time to read this.

If you think we’re a good match, we’d love to hear from you. If you don’t have the skills we’re looking for, we wish you well in finding something more suitable.

2. About Sputnik

We are an “innovation and digital engineering agency”.

“Digital engineering” references the great code we produce, but that’s only half the story.

Half of our proposition is about frictionless, delightful, high performing user interface design.

We need our design team to be at the forefront of user experience, and bring creativity and uniqueness to every job.

We typically work with larger organisations, such as GoCompare, Fluent Money and Swinton Insurance.

Some designers have styles suitable for small business, nightclubs, or arts and crafts. We don’t use off-the-shelf WordPress themes, or design websites that look like they are. These are all very valuable in their own space, but aren’t so relevant to clients we serve.

We’re looking for a design style that is professional, corporate, creative and engaging.

3a. Responsive Websites

We are, of course, a design and build agency.
Great design across desktop, mobile … and everything in between is an absolute must.

Great design for us means;

  • Empathic, on brand, unique look and feel
  • Frictionless customer journey / UX
  • Picking the right UI elements for every use case, and styling them appropriately

Approaches that interest us

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the full rage of UI elements
  • Design consideration from smallest devices to large screens
  • Be able to produce an extensive, well presented and precise style library that shows how each UI element and every single interaction/state that it will undergo
  • 100% consistency across every single design: spacings / colours / position of elements must remain consistent across a project

Approaches that probably won’t interest us

  • Off the shelf / theme based designs
  • Designs which could be applied to another organisation just by swapping the logo and a few images
  • UI elements from 1998

3b. Dashboards / Portals

Approaches that interest us

  • Understanding of complex user journeys
  • Understanding of forms, validation, transitions, drawers, date pickers and the thousands of other digital elements
  • Hierarchy of information
  • Unique charts
  • Consideration for real content and edge cases

Approaches that probably won’t interest us

  • Basic deployment of pattern library / theme elements
  • Placeholders and pointless facts, figures and graphs

3c. Logos and Illustration

You might be surprised to see illustration and branding mentioned in a job description for a UX / UI role.

Empathy and creativity are key to our innovation work, encouraging us to think about new UI elements, micro-animations, nudges and such like.

It’s the small details in a journey, like bespoke icons and “ad panels” that make every project unique.

Approaches that interest us

  • Empathy with the target audience
  • Innovative, unique, clever or interesting
  • Demonstrates technical design skills
  • Creative scamps and messaging ideas
  • Cloudcity Logo

  • Ad Campaign

  • Hero Banner Concept

Approaches that probably won’t interest us

  • Simple typographic logo
  • Incoherent or garish visual style
  • Stock aesthetic

4. Responding to The Brief

As a designer at Sputnik, it’s going to be important that you can understand and respond to a brief.

It’s important that our clients are delighted by the way we communicate with them by understanding their requirements, and providing them with exactly what they need.

We’d like your application to demonstrate that you understand what we’re looking for, and be supported by specific projects from your portfolio.

Approaches that interest us

  • Ideally your portfolio would be provided in InVision or similar
  • Points us as specific portfolio pieces that demonstrate the experience we’re looking for, rather than a generic portfolio. It makes our life a little easier 😁

Approaches that probably won’t interest us

  • PDFs can be large in size, and don’t always do your artwork justice
  • Browsing your portfolio website can often be a mystery, we find ourselves clicking on one of your pieces of work, finding it doesn’t demonstrate what we’re looking for, clicking back, then picking another. After four items we’re losing interest. We’d like to get an idea of how you’d treat our clients – make it easy and delightful, and leave a great impression
  • Zip files and Dropbox – these are often massive files (we’ve received 300Mb files in the past)

Deliverables

As a guide, we’d like to see the following from your portfolio.

If you can only provide 85% of them, that’s probably fine, as long as they meet the standards defined earlier.

  • Three unique logos demonstrating creativity and artistic ability
  • We don’t do print, but seeing printed work can sometimes demonstrate creative talent that doesn’t reveal itself in digital work. Don’t worry if you haven’t got any, but it would be goods to see two examples of printed materials (brochures or company reports are perfect) demonstrating typography and creative use of brand devices, ideally with bespoke additions such as illustrations
  • Three responsive websites (desktop and mobile screens) demonstrating;
    • Micro-ui
    • Uniqueness and creativity
    • Thoughtful information architecture, user journeys and calls to action
    • Non-boxy / non-WordPress theme layouts
  • Two examples of complex dashboards or user journeys, such as customer portals, insurance journeys, airline bookings etc

Links to three creative and professional logos, demonstrating creativity and artistic ability

Links to two print pieces demonstrating typography and creative use of brand devices

Links to three bespoke, responsive websites or concepts demonstrating creative use of brand devices and understanding of modern UI elements

Links to two examples of complex dashboards or user journeys, such as customer portals, insurance journeys or airline bookings.