Featured Advice
What are your interests?



Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.

Industrial Designer

Industrial Designer

Leon Butler

How did you become interested in your career?

I’ve always been kind of stuck at a bridge between art and technology and wanted something that would encompass both. I loved drawing but I was also into building computers and so Industrial Design, which I studied as my undergrad, seemed like a great fit to allow me to do both in a creative way to solve problems. That led me towards other areas like animation and graphics, which once I was into the course I found more interesting than the engineering side, which I was never particularly good at, I was always more taken with the aesthetic and presentation of the product.

What has your career looked like so far?

When I graduated I ended in the housing market doing stuff like 3D modelling and rendering of houses that weren't built yet. We'd make a DVD of it and some graphics and they would sell them off the plans. It was a small start-up - which was cool. I always played in bands and we never had any money, so I designed the posters and EP covers myself, if someone was putting on a DJ night, I'd design the posters so I ended up doing a lot of fun stuff on the side.

I was starting to feel that I was getting a bit railroaded into just straight graphics, that I had lost the animation and media dimension, so I went back and did a Masters in Digital Media in the Huston Film School at NUIG.

They had a lab there, so I set up my own practice at the same time. It was nearly like a start-up incubator because I had access to a big computer and a lab 24 hours a day on campus. While studying, I was getting private work in and building  a small client base and making music videos, so it was really, really worthwhile. That's when I decided it's just me and my practice now, and set up Bold Visual Narrative.

The Masters flipped it for me and opened me up to the broader  range of work  that I do now, compared to just graphics at the start. Over the last few years I’ve gotten to work on projects in New York and Los Angeles which has been really big and valuable  and it’s kept growing from there.

Day in the Life: Describe your typical working day.

I work between Galway and Dublin so it depends where I wake up but typically I try to have some breakfast and then meditate for a couple of minutes. I like to leave some things I’ve been working on the day before on screen so after having distance, and the benefit of  fresh eyes, I can  see if there is something that jumps out or needs tweaking. I spend a lot of time in my notebook planning projects and crossing bits off the list as I go. I usually fire off the work that needs to go out and then make my way through any work that has come in.

I also lecture in Design in Dublin Institute of Technology so the days there are very different but I find it really helps with my own practice. The student’s work is very inspiring and talking with them about process and work informs my own process and I think forces me to follow that notebook before screen that I speak about in class.

If you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be?

Do the things that scare you because that’s the only way you can grow.


Design & Crafts Council of Ireland