Meet the Team: Eleanor, Graphic Design

Eleanor, Graphic Designer, began at Towners six years ago after university. She hadn’t worked in graphic design before, but with enthusiasm found she quickly got the hang of things.

Beginning in an industry typically associated with tradition, Eleanor discovered that her role at Towners was anything but ordinary. "No two days are the same," she noted. Eleanor's primary responsibility involves designing service sheets, a task that goes beyond aesthetics. "I find something out from families about their loved one, something personal to add like a hobby or a favourite sport. We even incorporate family handwriting into the sheets," she explained.

Eleanor's involvement with design doesn't end with service sheets. She dives into creating photo and tribute boards or collages based on the families' wishes. "Around 85% of funerals have a sheet, and when its busy we can handle up to 10 a week.”

Meeting with families is a crucial part of Eleanor's process. "I chat with them about what they want, and then I base the first draft off of that. If they want changes, we make changes. Some families prefer a more traditional approach, like a favourite flower, while others seek a unique touch," Eleanor explained. One of the most rewarding aspects of her job is working with old photos. "They sometimes give over a few photos, especially the old ones. It's my favourite part of the job – seeing those high-quality black and white images and learning about the family's history."

Despite the misconception that graphic design has to be confined to the desk, Eleanor engages in a considerable amount of front-of-house work. "I'm on the on-call rota, not in the description, but it's nice to go out and meet the families. You get a sense of what they're like, and then it's a sense of what their loved one was like." Eleanor is on the rota every six weeks."

Designing for a thousand funerals a year might seem like a daunting task, but for Eleanor, it's an opportunity to create something unique for each family. "Design can take a while. There's a back-and-forth with families to pinpoint what they want. My favourite part of the role is to meet people and get away from the desk, talk to them about what they like."

Reflecting on memorable projects, Eleanor shared stories of service sheets that broke tradition. "One was like a comic book or newspaper – a Spider-Man service sheet, completely personalized. When I first started, I had no design experience, so I followed an old template. But now, everything is much more customised to the individual and their wishes."

As she looks to the future, Eleanor remains focused on growth. "I want to improve on my current skills," she said, speaking about the videography she does for some services, and how it has been a great opportunity to expand her skills. “I started doing this regularly due to COVID, as part of a service when there was no attendance. Now, it's become a part of the job."


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