After the Design Museum we headed over to advertising company M&C Saatchi. While we were there we got to look at a graduate graphic design portfolio of a recent employee. There was some good tips here on how best we should design our portfolio, there should be a strong grid structure and we should tackle it the same as we would a design project. You should have various example of work which will, in turn, boost your employability (it's a good selling point to be able to do both online and print design). It was very handy to see a portfolio of someone working in London at the stage it was when he graduated and landed the job as this is the stage we'll be at very soon!
Next stop was Ziggurat Brands, a packaging design studio. While we were here we got to see the process of developing a brand - Red Sky Crisps
How ideas are generated there wasn't so much different to how we work at college however it is at a much faster pace and more ideas are produced, which is something I need to work on. While we were there we got some helpful tips:
- Don't obsess over one idea style, show variety as you can never tell what the client wants
- Use references against rough ideas so the style of illustration/photography comes through more
- Moodboards!!! Help to narrow down ideas and gives them themes
- Normally present 6-10 ideas to a client, then refine them from the clients feedback and show how they can adapt to a range
- Make sure the final design reflects the brands ethos
- Don't forget about the consumer, find out what they want!
Hawaii is a design company that specialises in various areas of design including brand identity, art direction, interior design, exhibition design and illustration. Paul McAnelly (the face behind Hawaii) is very down to earth and like all of our visits gave us some great advice. Paul took an unusual route into graphic design by studying for a HND in Advertising and worked in that area for a bit before he decided to take his own route and set up Hawaii.
- His main advice for us was to get as many disciplines under your belt as possible, this was advice we heard alot throughout the trip and know your programs back to front!
- Do at least 2 directions before presenting to the client
- You get a better contrast when using 2 pantone swatches rather then black and white
- When designing logos it helps to have one element that can be used differently (animated etc.)
- Smaller paying jobs tend to drag on a bit more and be more of a pain, but it pays
- Small companies like Hawaii get jobs by word of mouth so all the little smaller paying jobs might lead to something better
- Think of how a logo will work on screen before print as this is the way things will eventually go
- Make sure your portfolio is presented well and use good stock, with a short description
- Don't be too negative about your own work, although this can be hard as no-one is the biggest fan of their own work
- Think out of the box and BE REMEMBERED!
Popular was our last visit of the week and has quite a similar set up to Hawaii as Peter Chadwick runs Popular single handedly. Peter's first point when talking to us was that you don't have to come to London to work in design, as other cities are establishing themselves in design, ie. Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow. I think this point is very valid as alot of people think that you have to go to London to make a name for yourself and that isn't the case anymore with emails and the internet it is alot easier to keep in contact with clients no matter where you are. Peter mainly works within the music industry as an art director for record covers, however he has recently branched out a bit and has worked on some editorial design which this is something he would like to do alot more of. Peter previously built up a studio called Zip Design to a team of 10 however he walked away and set up Popular as he felt he wasn't designing anymore. He works with alot of freelancers to create his artwork as this is more cost effective then hiring a team of staff that can work in various areas. He made a point of telling us that it is very important that you love where you work and what you do! And it is important to keep doing personal work, he is now working on a book called "Music to my eyes" which he is hoping to get published, so keep an eye out for it in the near future. Although Peter loves his own space he told us that it would be ideal to work as a pair, that way you can bounce ideas off each other and sometimes you can go a whole day on your own without seeing anyone so having someone else wouldn't make it as isolated. He also told us that although it is great doing work for your friends, don't be afraid to approach money and charge as once you start doing work for free or cheaper, where do you stop and you have to make a living out of what you do. You need to be confident using a Mac and all the programs you need (illustrator, indesign, photoshop etc.) When presenting say what your inspiration was and give details of your idea. Clients want to see a final piece before you have been given a job. Make yourself familiar with the grid system! And clients always like it if there is something behind the idea such as an art movement, and always plan for a series, even if they only ask for one.
Well that was our trip to London. All the advice we were given was very helpful and I will be taking all of it on board when creating my portfolio and applying for jobs.