Introducing Tim Powell - Senior Designer at Rockstar Energy Drinks and PLATF9RM Hove's favourite Aussie!
So Tim, you're a Graphic Designer, was the dream always to be a designer at a company like Rockstar or did you just really fancy a lifetime of free energy drinks?
Yeah, I guess it wasn't Rockstar specifically but companies like Rockstar for sure, like skate, surf, street-wear brands or record labels that sort of thing. As for the free energy drinks, it started off as quite a commodity, but I don't really drink it anymore - it tastes great, but it's just too much for me these days man - or I'm just too old.
What does being the Senior Designer of Rockstar Energy Drinks entail?
It's quite a lot actually, I work directly with the Rockstar creative director, Rockstar distribution companies, their marketing and production teams, brand partners, that sort of thing. I look after the creative design for most of Rockstar's international markets, from packaging to new product design, key visuals and concept design, new product launching and promotional campaigns, advertising and point of sale then quality assuring proofing and production runs. I also work a lot in 3D designing our pack shots for concept development and advertising material.
Matt - So, do you have people that work under your management?
Tim - Yes and no. I don't have any Rockstar staff I manage, like junior designers, but I do have to work with and manage people within our distribution and production teams.
As an illustrator myself, you are quite an inspiration as a graphic designer working for such a prestigious company - how did you get into working for Rockstar?
Thanks man, that's very kind of you to say. I suppose it was always the dream. I never wanted to have that office job, I wanted to be a creative, and have a job with a lot of variety where I get to work with a lot of different mediums - design, layout, photography etc. I loved to draw and play sport as a kid, which got me interested in sport, surf and skateboarding brands. This then lead into being interested in the art itself. So, I studied art history and photography at school, I actually ended up being pretty good at it, so the natural direction for me was to study Graphic Design at university.
As well as design, I minored in drawing, photography, and multimedia subjects like web design and 2 and 3D animation. This – at least so I thought, was going to set me up to kick off my career as a kick ass designer in a sick creative studio, record label, skate brand or magazine – however reality had other ideas.
Matt - Did you move to England straight after finishing university?
Tim - It was about 5 years after finishing university that I came to live over here. I did work experience here for a month when I was 20, but I didn't actually move here until I was 28, which was when I started at Rockstar. But yeah before that it was tough, I was freelancing while working in bars and retail for surfing/skating brands that sort of stuff. What I took for granted while studying was work experience. I did as most students do, I kicked back and enjoyed the uni life - while in hindsight in terms of a career, the best thing to do while studying is to still have fun, because they can be some of your best years! However, getting as much work experience as possible, even getting a job in the industry you're studying I think is very important and take it seriously - experience is everything.
But with regards to how I got into Rockstar, when I moved to England I freelanced for a few months, which was fun, but I was lucky and got work with a marketing company (through some friends) that housed a small Rockstar team who I ended up working next to. From there it all just kind of happened (not quite as easily as that - but that's the gist).
Tim Tam (best said in an Aussie accent!) is what our Kerry has nicknamed you (after the Australian biscuit!) How long ago did you move over to the UK, and are we making you feel at home in your new space within PLATF9RM?
Well I moved here where I was 28, so it will be 10 years in July - so yeah... getting old mate!
Matt - You definitely don't look 38, mind my cliché comment, but your style is very 'Rockstar'!
Tim - Well that's because I dress like a man-child.
Matt - Man-child, I love it - well I still aim to wear shorts every day when I'm old and grey (which you definitely aren't yet, don't worry!). But with regards to PLATF9RM , how are you finding it?
Tim - I love the space, it's open, very nicely designed and full of busy, friendly and inspiring members and staff - like yourself and Kerry (Care Bear), it makes it a very easy place to come to work. I have worked from home for a long time now, so it's nice to have somewhere to come to work and have a laugh.
Whilst it's often been said that Australia is like England but with sun, there are bound to be some cultural differences - what do you miss most about the Motherland?
Wow, I don't know about that!
Matt - I admit, it was a very broad statement…
Tim - What do I miss the most about the motherland - I think you mean God's country! I think it would be the nice golden sandy beaches and the long, hot sunny summers, where I can go the pub and blow the froth off an ice-cold beer and stay out late in just board shorts, trucker singlet and flip flops (thongs), without the need to take a jumper with me.
Matt - So, our stone covered beaches aren't good enough for you ey?
Tim - Well I can't say that you guys don't have nice beaches, but they are mostly down south, I know Cornwall has amazing beaches. Brighton does have a great beach, albeit with pebbles. There is a lot more to England though, in some ways it has a more relaxed lifestyle, a great history, some great cities and festivals and I have made some great friends here.
You've mentioned to me before that you occasionally embrace your aussie stereotype and go surfing - working for a company such as Rockstar has extreme sports ever appealed to you?
I was never much of a surfer, though all my mates on the coast are. I will learn to surf though - one day! I grew up in the country and was more of a skateboarder (well I at least tried to be) which worked well with Rockstar and has led to me designing a few skateboards. But yeah, most sports that you see through Rockstar I would love to be able to do. I’ve always been pretty into snowboarding, but only started riding when I moved to the UK. I still try to do it whenever I get the chance.
I've noticed you enjoy the odd IPA at our Free Friday Beers incentive, have you managed to make it along to any of our PLATF9RM socials yet?I went to the one back in November which was a lot of fun, however I missed the Christmas one as I was back in Australia and I was busy when the January one came around.
Matt - Are you excited for our next social at the end of this month, which is a Singstar Social?
Tim - I hadn’t heard about this one yet but yeah that sounds interesting, I’ll definitely be there! We need to have one here at the Hove Town Hall site.
Matt - Keep your eyes peeled for March my friend, a Hove social is coming our way…
What have you previously done in your career? Any highs or lows worth a mention?Highs and lows happen all the time at least for me, but I am pretty sure for it's the same for everyone. Career wise, as a low most significantly would be the struggle after finishing Uni and struggling to get that first foot in the door. The major high would be the outcome of this low. Battling through, having not given up, managing my own clients, doing the type of work I wanted to. The positive reactions to my work, and eventually getting my foot in the door. From this getting the experience I wanted, using that experience and moving to the UK and eventually getting a job with the type of company I had been targeting for so long when I was younger.
Where is the most exotic place you have the luxury to travel to over the past 9 years of working for Rockstar?
No-where too fancy to be fair, mainly Germany. I’ve been to Berlin a fair few times for Rockstar and it’s a pretty cool city, a lot going on there.
Matt - Is Rockstar pretty big over in Germany?
Tim - Yeah, it’s pretty big in Germany, it’s one of our biggest markets outside of the US. Yeah, they love it there. But I suppose for exotic, a few years ago I went Avoriaz which is a Ski resort in France. There was a Rockstar sponsored music festival happening that we went along to which was pretty great, and we also got to snowboard for four days which is always fun.
Matt - That definitely sounds like a winner! Well I think we are all done, thanks Tim Tam.
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