After spending a short amount of time in London we managed to fit a lot in to the three days there. We visited a design conference called ‘4 designers’, a branding agency ‘moving brands’, met some graduate designers and the design museum. This trip was a really fun few days but also was very informative and inspiring.
The design conference was definitely the highlight of the trip. 4 designers was founded by Patrick Baglee in 1999 who opened the talk by saying a little bit about the history of the conference, an insight on the designers and the importance of design. The 4 designers were; Matthew Shannon, Joanna Davies, Matthew Baxter and Brian & James Webb.
- Matthew Shannon is a Group Executive Creative Director Group Content Director at Brash Brands. He began by telling us all the different countries he had been this year already and how his job role allows him to travel all around the world. He spoke about how you shouldn’t get wrapped up in one place and by experiencing the world it can give you wider influences and an outlook on life. Some of the places he has worked is Atelier Works, Adison Group, Metadesign, Getty Images etc. Shannon focused on the importance of your ideas and process within a project. He showed us a diagram of a triangle with the biggest part of the diagram ‘think’, the middle part ‘re think’ and the smallest part of the triangle ‘do’. This suggests that thinking is the most important part of a project. You need to get your process right before the beginning of the brief to ensure you will be able to answer the rest as you can. Shannon gave advise that you should always be agile, this means that keeping up with trends as they can change so quickly. Also you never know how technology is going to improve and you need to be willing to adapt to these changes. He spoke about how he worked for BP when the oil spill happened, the company was being attacked and had such bad publicity at that time. As a graphic communicator he had to look at it from a different angle and communicate to the public the good that the workers of BP were trying to do after the oil spill and how they were trying to make a difference. This reinforces his advice on you have to be agile and willing as you never know what will happen. Ambition is a key factor ‘to effect change you have to make change’.
- Joanna Davies is an entrepreneure and CEO of ZAK agency that engages with under 30s. They are a creative agency that helps to transform brands and creates platforms for global clients. They have a small studio which is audience focused, one of their most well known clients is New Balance. She is not from a design background although as a creative person she definitely gave some good advice on how to succeed in the industry. One of the pieces of advice that really stuck with me is finding your inner rockstar from your portfolio and who you are as a designer to what you wear etc. This will help you be rememberable, unique and true to who you are. Have street smart and understand how to communicate with your client and audience so you can talk about your work whilst feeling confident with what you have created. Davies also touched upon ambition and agility, how you need to be able to turn things around and think in an agile way to keep onto of trends. As a designer you need to be brave; speak up and challenge the status quo but at the same time you need to be grounded; no one wanted to work with a diva. When going for a job in the industry, the most aspect is researching. You need to find your perfect partner and check out who your being interviewed by, if they want you to work for them you need to be happy and want to work for them. As an entreprenur Davies advised as a gradate not to jump straight into starting up your own business or freelance; that by working for a company it can provide you with more knowledge and experience. Know whether you want to work for an agency or clients and what opportunities that company can provide you, whether they offer training and who they work for. Finally, once you’ve got it, keep it. Constantly make an impression in the job.
- Matt Baxter is a Creative Director as Baxter&Bailey based in Brighton, he has previously worked at Blast, Tricket&Webb and 3 Deep in Australia. “Anyone can be an expert if they have spent more than 10,000 hours doing it” not only just this show how long he has been in the industry but all how much hard work it take it become an expert. This also reinforces that talent and skill are small parts to it but practice is key! Baxter gave us advice and then went on the contradicting those exact points.
- Know where you’re going – Don’t know where you’re going
- Say yes to everything – Say no to somethings
- Fake it till you make it – Keep faking it
- Go places – Stay local
- Don’t do free work – Sometimes do free work
After his first set of advice when he moved on to saying that he was going to contradict all those pieces advice I thought how pointless the advice was. Although when he then began to contradict them it really shows that different advice can be so important to you at seperate stages in your life and career. He then moved on to giving us further advice that was more straight forward; always read the words, spell check, spell check again, be nice and keep in touch. Baxter got in touch with people who he had work with and for to video further advice for us.
- Blast – Show your commitment to a company, over deliver, hard work and a good attitude goes a long way
- Lynn Tricket – Never talk yourself down, always try something new
- Brett Phillips 3 Deep – You go where you look, you need to surround yourself, you need to research and you need to know where you want to go
- Heidi Lightfoot Together Design – Don’t ever worry about not having an answer, ask a million questions.
He gave some good advice about portfolios as well. The simplicity of a concept and idea is really important and it needs to come across well. Sometimes you are not there to explain your work so it needs to communicate these ideas well.
- Brian & James Webb are a farther and son Brian founded Trickett&Webb in 1977 and founded Webb&Webb in 2003. As they were the last designers to speak most of there advice and point had already been covered, although these were by far the most entertaining to listen to. A lot of there talk consisted of talking about some of there work that they have previously done for example; designing stamps for the royal mail, covers from the Harry Potter sequel, work for the V&A an for the Tate etc. Some advice that they had for us is to protect your identity as you should always be credited for your ideas and work. Another piece of advice is get used to change as technology and materials develop and you as a designer need to be able to change with it. Enter every competition possible as not only is this experience, but also a way that you will be able to meet contacts and become recognised. Always look for answers – but avoid the obvious.
Over all I found everyone one of these designers inspiring and really motivated me to way to keep learning and getting better every day. I feel like all of the pieces of advice that the designers gave me will help improve me as a Graphic Communicator and help me get to where I want to be in my career. By hearing from professionals it makes it feel more really that design can help change and improve the world. Even though lots of the advice is repeated I think that this makes me understand how important the advice is. I definitely will carry on taking every opportunity to listen and engage with professionals.
Moving Brands is a design agency, they have 3 studios located in London, San Fransisco and Zurich. I was really excited to visit their studio as we were able to experience their work space and what the team is like. Jed Carter gave us a tour of the studio, it was nice the see the amount of people that work in the studio, on the tour we spoke to a 3D designer, this was interesting to see the range of different practitioners in the design agency. Seeing this collaboration in the design agency shows how important and unique the field project in our course is, as this is a way that we could potentially be working in the future. We then got given a short presentation of some the work that moving brands creates and advice they would give us which was very helpful like the 4 designers, and afterlife talks that I have attended.
The Parcel Yard at Kings Cross Talk With Graduates
On the Monday evening we went to The Parcel Yard at King Cross to talk to some graduate designers. I really liked meeting some of these designers as they went to CSAD as now they work in London. It’s interesting to see that from the same course how one girl that I spoke to is now working in a fashion company and another two boys I spoke to both work in design agency. This shows that Graphic Communication is so broad and there are lots of different areas that you can go into. I spoke to two boys about how I feel quite worried that I’m not sure what area of Graphic Communication I want to go into. Although after speaking to them I feel a lot happier now as they both said that neither of them knew what area they wanted to go into at this point in first year. They also said that it can be an advantage as you become more open and willing to try anything to find the right path for you. Another piece of advice that they gave is to keep doing personal projects as this can really help improved your portfolio. They suggested to work as hard as you can if you get an internship, as both of their internships kept them on as junior designers. It was also interesting to hear how the course has changed since they studied at CSAD.
A few of us visited the design museum which I really enjoyed. I loved the exciting and vibrant feel in the museum. The bold and lively nature of all the work really engaged me. It was interesting seeing some worked that I have looked into in the past online such as the work by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert road signs and Shepard Fairey’s work etc and seeing it in real life. I liked the feel of the museum as a whole, I thought that the museum as a whole and the layout of all the work really took you on a journey through the place. Because of time we weren’t able to visit the exhibition although I would definitely be interesting in going back and visiting some of the exhibitions that they put on there.