What’s your name?
My name is Joshua Rousen (pronounced like house-n). You can call me Josh.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at Community Housing Cymru as the Brand and Design Creative. Basically, my role consists of making our internal and external comms look great and ensuring that they are accessible and engaging. This includes graphic design for digital and print, photography and videography, animation, our staging/set design for conferences, and editorial design. I also take steps to protect our brand and am working on improving the user experience (UX) across our various communication channels. In short, I make things look pretty and try to make them work well for users.
Why did you choose a career in housing?
As with many, I sort of fell into this role. I had started my career as a junior designer in a full-service design agency, working my way up over the years to be the lead designer and project manager. During all those projects, the ones that involved supporting and helping people and communities were by far my favourite ones to work on. When another designer I know from the sector notified me about this role opening up, I jumped at the chance to get in to such an impactful sector. I know my particular role isn’t something that is directly involved with tenants or communities, but it’s what I’m good at and I wanted to assist in the best way I know how.
What is the most important thing you have learned since starting your career in housing?
Just how varied the experience is – no matter the role. Every day is different. The challenges are exciting and the opportunities that I’m faced with are amazing, and I see that in my colleagues in all areas. It’s really fun as a result.
Where would you be working, if not in housing?
I’d gravitate towards doing design in another socially-minded sector or organisation, until I was comfortable with starting my own design studio focussing on supporting sectors like ours. That, or teaching design at university level.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Aside from working with lovely folks at CHC and passionate people across the sector? It has to be the variety of things I work on. One moment, I’m designing a new brand for a campaign, the next I’m problem-solving how to best execute an easy-to-understand infographic containing complex information, then filming and editing video content for social media, and then running a UX workshop to define our direction for digital content. My worst nightmare is doing monotonous projects, so I love the breadth of the work I get to do.
What motivates you?
Tough question! I’d say a combination of desire for continuous improvement (for myself and CHC), making things that look great and perform well, and helping people support others as best as possible.
How do you relax after work?
Not too dissimilar to what I do in work! My passion is in design, so a good chunk of my relaxation time is spent learning or working on personal projects. My other great passions are videogames and digital painting – so either way, you’ll find me starting at screens. Otherwise, I enjoy tending my houseplants, going for long, aimless walks, or quietly sitting in a café sipping espresso and people-watching.
What’s your greatest achievement?
Outside of work, probably founding and running two successful gaming communities for many years and meeting my partner through that. My gaming community won a few tournaments in semi-pro circuits too, which was nice. In work, it’d be being part of such a wonderful (award-winning) team! 🙂
Your most embarrassing moment?
After a long, long gaming session, I once went to Tesco to buy Christmas gifts. I walked up to a staff member as asked in all seriousness “where does the Bailey’s spawn?”. I immediately realised gaming terminology had slipped in there, so I turned around and left, never to return.
What was your last holiday destination and what did you think of it?
The short break I had we went to Swansea and up to Dan yr Ogof caves, which was nice and relaxing. Spent a lot of time along the beach and up in the countryside which is ideal as a long weekend away from the hustle-and-bustle. The last big holiday was (regrettably) a while back, but we went to the Philippines for a month. A fascinating country of very fluid, mixed cultures. Really beautiful place with great food, but a proper nightmare to travel around!