Frilly Lizards’ Thoughts


Inspiration & Feedback on Art & Design. Please participate, share your views on any works of art or design; the artists and designers work you admire that give you inspiration in which ever form or discipline. Thanks you for taking time to read this. I’m interested to hear everyone’s opinion please share yours.

Creative Futures Week 2009

Creative Futures Week was held at the North Wales School of Art & Design on the 9th-12th Feb. The weeks events are organised for the benefit of the students, professionals working within the industry deliver presentations, engage in informal chats, conduct workshops and deliver advice the week I feel is fantastic opportunity gain an invaluable insight into the realism of the industry we are hoping to enter.

Monday 9th
I decided to en-role in three sessions and it just so happened that all three were being delivered by Paul Rand-Creative Director / JP Creative

Background information: Paul’s life in design and advertising started off in Wrexham Art college, after the college upgraded to a University, he changed his CV to say educated at Yale University!   He was the first student from Wrexham college to get a job direct into a top 3 UK advertising agency in London. This encouraged a lot others to try, a year later the college used his mailer to advertise the course the following year which he was very proud of.  Paul; has worked for several leading agencies such as CDP, ABM, Publicis, Meerkat and for the last two and a half years Creative Director at JPCreative a London design and communications agency.  He has won awards for press, poster, radio and digital which has not effected his ego too much.

10:00 Making Applications and Interview Skills – Advice on making applications and tactics to get through the door!  What will impress employers at interview?

11:30 Getting a Job in Design and Advertising Sector – What do Creative Directors look for in employees?  Insight in getting employed in the Design and Advertising industries.

13:30 Portfolio Surgery (Design Communication) – Portfolio feedback and advice.

Paul highlighted many areas and raised many questions you should be asking yourself before applying for a position:

  • Know the agency – do your homework on the agency.
  • Do they fit me – do they suit your needs and professional aspirations.
  • Do I fit them – am I what they are looking for.
  • Do an additional piece of work for one of their existing clients to put in your portfolio.
  • Stand out.
  • Sell yourself.
  • Don’t be frightened to go to the top.
  • Keep reinventing your designs, keep fresh.
  • A physical mailer can be helpful.
  • Personalise letters to prospective employees and personalise C.V’s to each applications.
  • Get as much experience as possible and network.
  • Get a digital portfolio in addition to your traditional portfolio.
  • Think impact.
  • Quality and presentation are paramount.
  • Organisational skills need to be strong.
  • Attention to detail is everything (mistakes can be extremely costly).
  • From being hired you would be expected to be upto full speed of the company within six months max.
  • As a Graphic Designer you would be expected to be completely proficient in Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator.

During the interview should you be fortunate enough to get to this stage you would be asked:

  • What your strengths and weaknesses are?
  • How do you cope under pressure?
  • How do you work during quiet periods?
  • When leaving the interview the the interviewer if you want the position.

    The interview should always be followed up with a thank you letter.

    During the afternoon portfolio session Paul looked at some portfolio’s and my initial thought was that he would either be too soft on us as students and not give realistic feedback or that he would as I was expecting slate our presentation skills as upto date we haven’t really had the opportunity to finish a portfolio piece. I was pleasantly surprised and thought his feedback on the whole was honest to the point and his comments were fair. Paul was encouraging and supportive he was approachable and gave some constructive advice. Paul reviewed a piece of work of mine and was very complimentary I hope to approach him in the future for some feedback and was very grateful for the advice I received, thank you.

    Tuesday 10th
    I decided to en-role in the 1st morning session delivered by Neil Edwards-Director /Mako

    Neil’s Background: Neil graduated in 1996 from Cumbria College of Art & Design.  Designer for mako since 1997. Comic artist. Director at mako since 2006


    I really enjoyed Neil’s session, the session was more comic based rather than graphic design orientated but I found Neil to be completely honest about his experiences, he described how he had always wanted to be a graphic comic illustrator but explained how difficult this area is to enter so whilst trying to achieve his goal the took a position as a graphic designer to ease the financial pressures. Neil gave some extremely constructive useful advice, he told us never to give up and follow your dreams. One of the best aspects of this session was that you could feel his love for his work in his delivery, he was so passionate about his work and I feel this is evident within  his art. Neil offered advice on the best places to purchase papers, inks, getting you work seen in the right places, the finance side of things whether that be keeping a float whilst trying to break into the industry, how much you will earn on early commissions and in general all aspects of the industry. He outlined that you should not be scared to approach people/companies, if you have issues with the deadline or delivery of material tell the client early and always keep communication open. He advised us to show our work to many people and get feedback, not to be afraid to use screen grabs from movies and television as reference.

    Neil continued to explain the time aspects involved in creating a spread (4-5 hrs a day, create a page a day), he explained the inking techniques and various options available and reinforced the issue that people employ you for your style never change this to suit a publication. When discussing graphic design he talked about at times you will encounter briefs which don’t necessarily get you excited, but there is always an area where you can get creative no matter what it is.

    I really enjoyed this talk Neil’s honesty and the support he offered was much appreciated he was extremly approachable and I know if we would like him to reveiw a portfolio time allowing I’m sure he would oblige.

    Tuesday 10th
    The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) – The benefits of professional membership

    The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) is the professional body for designers.  With over 3000 members in 34 countries, it is the world’s largest chartered body of professional designers and is unique in representing designers in all disciplines.  Find out what the chairman of this organisation has to say about a career in design.

    I was really intrested in this session but due to unforeseen circumstances the session had to be cancelled at last minuite, I am assured that this session will be reseheduled.

    But since this date I have seen and intresting article posted on explaining that the CSD has put a hold on new membership applications:

    CSD puts a hold on new membership applications until 1st July due to unprecedented demand

    A recent surge in membership applications has meant that the Society has put a freeze on accepting any more membership applications until 1 July 2007. Rather than disappoint those applying online, the Society has decided to only accept membership enquiries once the current list of applicants have been assessed for membership.

    CSD Chief Executive Frank Peters MCSD said “I am not exactly sure what has created this unprecedented increase in applications; we are conscious that we have been heavily promoting the benefits of membership to designers through our own PR communications, Minerva Speaks (eNewsletter) and the website; but there also seems to be a growing desire within the industry for professional recognition.

    CSD has of course championed this for many decades and recently extended a rigorous accreditation criteria to design consultancies, but I suspect that the demands placed upon the sector by clients means that designers need to demonstrate their design professionalism as well as their creative abilities in the portfolio”.

    Mr Peters added, “The requirement for PI cover is being cited more and more as a reason for joining as well as access to training for design business best practice. It is also possible that the generous discounts given for training and CPD modules within the DA Diploma and the offsetting of membership costs towards DA Accreditation fees may also have a lot to do with this increasing demand.

    Whatever it is, we have had to react urgently and as a result have put a hold on any new applications until 1st July in order that we can process the many applicants who have applied.

    There is no point in denying that this has taken us by surprise; but it is a pleasant surprise that means we are now in the process of appointing further staff to assist with the increased demand.’

    The demand for designers wanting to get MCSD after their name is testament to the value of the affix which indicates to clients a recognised degree of professionalism. This is why we are constantly reminding and encouraging members to make full use of the affix on every occasion. When asked what it means you can then explain how professional you are”.

    The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)
    Founded in 1930, CSD is the professional body for designers.

    It is the world’s largest chartered body of professional designers and is unique in representing designers in all disciplines.

    CSD is governed by Royal Charter and as such its members are obliged to practice to the highest professional standards. The Society is also a registered charity and adheres to best practice as a membership organisation.

    Membership is only awarded to qualified designers who must also prove their professional capability during an admission assessment. The Society exists to promote concern for the sound principles of design in all areas in which design considerations apply, to further design practice and encourage the study of design techniques for the benefit of the community.

    In so doing, it seeks to secure and promote a professional body of designers and regulate and control their practice for the benefit of industry and the public.

    With members in 34 countries around the world, CSD offers a truly diverse and inclusive base of professional designers, each committed to operating to the highest professional standards in whichever field or country they practice.


    Tuesday 10th
    Afternoon session delivered by Gareth Lawn-Graphic Designer / View Creative

    Starting out after graduating in Graphic Design. An insight into how Gareth got his job and what he’s found out in first 6 months. Gareth studied National Diploma in Graphic Design at Yale and started degree studies at NEWI in Graphic Design in 2005.  Graduated with First in 2008.  Worked as a freelance designer throughout studies.

    Gareth delivered a very informal session, mainly just talking very honestly about his transition from student to professional he mentioned how important in was to submit entries into D&AD and YCN to get your work noticed. He also outlined the importance of joining CSD. Gareth gave some helpful advice:

    • Get lots of people within the industry to look at your portfolio.
    • Know your portfolio inside out.
    • Send out a mailer that’s how he got his position.

    Once in the position:

    • Talk to fellow colleagues.
    • Always remember names.
    • Spell check, spell check, spell check.
    • Archive things correctly.
    • Check, check, check.
    • Get to know everyone.
    • Be friendly.
    • Get involved.

    Gareth explained that when networking in social situations if you are engaged in conversations in excess of three minutes hand the person your business card. He also explained how inportant it was to keep upto date with what is happening within the design world. One way of keeping ontop of this is through design blogs, this is a practice I conduct on a regular basis as it happens and many of these blogs can be found within the links toolbar and RSS feeds, but thanks Gareth for bringing my attention to a few I was previously unaware of.


    One Response

    1. JingYi Yuan says:

      Here is an interesting link about the culture, communication, creative! Have a look! You will like it : )

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