Hello, I’m Laura. I joined Unboxed as a content designer in November 2021. Although Unboxed have worked with content designers before (including me, as a freelancer), I’m the first ‘in-house’ content designer so I’m looking forward to exploring how this design discipline can add to the already brilliant Unboxed design team.

Like many people at Unboxed, I found my way to my current role via a variety of other experiences. I spent 10 years working in the charity and social enterprise sector, mainly in project management and operations. I worked with fascinating, dedicated people across a sector which often has to pivot and innovate in order to get things done with minimum resources. I didn’t have the design terminology at the time, but I was learning about the importance of understanding users in order to meet their needs in the most efficient and helpful way possible.

One of my favourite challenges was to design and deliver an incubator for young social entrepreneurs. I worked with a community design agency and learnt a lot about how an agile approach could help us build the project around young people as both we and they better understood what they needed to get their businesses off the ground.

I’ve always written as part of my job - tenders, value propositions, marketing material, web content, training workshops, programme guidance and information (it’s the nature of working in small charities - you have to do a bit of everything). I also enjoy creative writing, mostly attempts at the next big Netflix drama series. It made sense for me to focus on writing when I left employment to become a freelancer. Almost immediately, I got involved with a design-led digital health start up, and I started to learn more about design methodology. I realised that applying design and agile principles to writing made for better content and set about teaching myself more. I soon discovered that ‘content design’ was a thing and I was part of a growing community of people who were learning from each other and shaping an expanding discipline.

I was really excited to join Unboxed. I’m now part of a very talented, interesting and interested bunch of people. The culture here is open, supportive and collaborative and I feel able to ask for help or challenge whenever I need it. We tell our clients which individuals are going to work on a project - but the reality is that when you get Unboxed, you get everyone, as we all draw on each other’s experience, all of the time.

In my spare time, I’m also involved in a start up using tech to enable a circular economy for plastic waste in the global south. I help out when I can and learn a lot from our chief tech officer (who built the platform) and our managing director. He lives and works in Mozambique and identified a way to use basic Android technology to improve the lot of people who make a living from sorting and collecting plastic waste.

I also love to drag my kids up Highland mountains or go for a freezing swim in the beautiful west coast of Scotland. I live in the south west of England now but come from a small village in the Scottish central belt. After a few years in London, we wanted to bring our kids up in the countryside (with the added bonus of a west country accent). I miss the theatre, art and urban heritage in London but we’re never far from a National Trust day out around here!

Written by Laura Smith