4 Designers Conference
After an introduction to the day from Patrick Baglee about the day ahead we heard from Matthew Shannon who works at Brash Brands in many different locations including London, Sydney and Dubai. The most important message Matthew was communicating was the idea of the ‘think, re-think, do’ model in which he suggests the hardest but most important part of any project is research (think). Research in terms of the project brief, audience and context. Secondly he suggests to go down every route, explore all possibilities and exhaust them (rethink). Finally, the practical work (do) this, Matthew says, comes easy if the thinking and rethinking has been done properly.
He said to be successful you must be;
Agile – you never know what is going to happen. Be quick and ready for change.
Adaptable – similarly to above you have to be able to adapt your way of working if the situation changes, know how to be able to change the message you are communicating. Also to be able to adapt to new trends.
Affect – know the social responsibility you hold as a communicator, what affect doe your work creates.
Alternate – alternate the way you communicate something, not everything will work the same way everywhere (different countries use social media in different ways for example).
Matthew Shannon’s talk was focused on knowing the content and context of the brief extremely well so the practical work comes easily. Another thing he said that stuck with me was the importance of going and experiencing things – he used the example of the Skoda rebrand – he visited the factories and was a part of that world for a while to be able to better understand the context and content.
Joanna Davies – creator of Zak agency
Joanna’s talk was focused more on the business/agency side of the industry not so much the actual creative design. She provided a valuable insight to the way things work within an agency. She gave tips on things to consider when going for interviews;
- Find your own personal brand, what makes you different? Not only in your work but how you look, talk and the sort of experience in work and life you have had
- Find your perfect partner, who do you want to work with? What type of work do you want to be involved in.
- Meet the team – research before applying for jobs, ask to meet the team on interviews to see how they work with each other and what kind of studio atmosphere it is.
- Does the company offer opportunities to advance your career or for other experiences?
- Do they offer training?
These were some of the most important things raised during a question session at the end of the morning;
- Make work you are proud of and of the best quality you can make it so during crits and pitches you have faith in it.
- Sometimes not every partnership is a success
- Remove the emotional ties you have to the work so when its criticised it’s not a personal thing. And when it comes to criticism it is only ever a useful thing, it is good to challenge your own and your peers work to make it better.
- Find the right tools for the job, not always computer but also not always paper and pen.
- Immerse yourself in the world of the brief – get to know everything.
Matt Baxter – Baxter & Bailey
Talk from Matt who creates work mainly for charity and not for profit organisations and for culture and arts organisations. He gave us 5 pieces of advice he thinks will be useful to us now as designers just starting out;
- You don’t have to know where you’re going – allow opportunities to come up and take them when you can.
- You don’t have to say yes to everything – especially not free work. BUT do competitions and take opportunities.
- Fake it till you make it, then carry on faking it. Say yes to things you haven’t done before – you can only learn by trying new things.
- You don’t have to go places to be successful, if staying local works for you then it works. You don’t have to be in London to be successful.
- Don’t do free placements because it says something about that company that they aren’t paying you for your time, ideas and skills. But if you can, financially and have the time to, do work that your passionate about or the cause strikes you e.g. small charities with small or no budget come to you asking for work why not do it if you can.
Tips from other professionals –
Read the words. Spell check. Spell check again. Never talk yourself down. Try something new because you will probably succeed. Show commitment. Don’t worry about not having the answer.