Productivity

Chantelle’s way

Starting off my industry experience, I really couldn’t have hoped for a better time here at The Way Design.

For the past two weeks I have been so lucky to have been involved with such exciting projects. It has been so refreshing to work on live briefs and in-house work, not to mention how useful it has been to see how briefs are tackled in the studio! My lettering and illustration skills have been put to good use too; drawing headings for ‘The Way Findings’ newsletter – this was really enjoyable and allowed me to draw in different styles of hand-lettering.

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In amongst all the beautiful weather in Bristol last week, one rainy, grey day led me and Becky to a yummy lunch time at ‘Pieminister’, just what was needed. A lovely sunny day this week meant we were able to go on a little trip to Westonbirt, which was really beautiful! I’ve never been before so it was an exciting site visit to see a work in progress project for the team.

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I have learnt so much from India, Becky and Howard and can’t thank them enough for having me join their team for the past couple of weeks. It’s a daunting prospect coming out of university but it was quashed by such an enjoyable and incredible experience!

Thank you lots and lots!!

So much to Do

The Do Lectures, Wales, 2016.

In July I was fortunate enough to be one of the attendees at the Do Lectures in Wales. It’s a cross between a small festival, a networking event, a series of lectures, workshops and a professional and personal development course.

We camped in bell tents, ate glorious local food, enjoyed inspiring talks, great live music and discussed everything under the sun with new friends by the camp fire long into the nights.

 

great Speakers

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I won’t go through every wonderful talk, you’ll be able to see them all online in the near future, but here are some of my speaker highlights:

  • Kicking things off on Thursday was Mr Bingo with his eclectic, impassioned talk, ‘29 Things I’ve Learnt’ covering how he makes a living out of vulgar drawings, rap videos and charging people for insults.
  • Later on, Daniela Papi-Thornton spoke about ‘Tackling Heropreneurship’. A tantalising insight into social businesses and entrepreneurs working towards social change, the pitfalls and psychology of impact and effective change. I wrote pages and pages of notes on that one so I’m still processing it!

Friday went by in a blur of phenomenal speakers, which included:

  • Michael Burne of Carbon Law Partners talking about how the legal system is broken and how his company is going about changing it.
  • Severine Von Tsarner-Fleming of Agrarian Trust, a fascinating woman with a passion for communal farming and bringing commoning and community back to the next generation of farmers in the States.
  • Will and Guy from the British Pilgrimage Trust. Two blokes who are single-handedly trying to resurrect the art of pilgrimage in the UK (Will having unsuccessfully tried to make a living previously as a travelling minstrel) and brought their unique ‘double-act’ to Do. Speaking about their four-day pilgrimage to the sea from the source of the River Teifi, via the Do Lectures for the weekend, the people they met, things they learnt and history they discovered along the way.
  • Stephen Russell, the Barefoot Doctor, blew everyone away with his positivity, Taoist approach and loving confidence. Ending with ‘Essentially, everyone just wants to be loved. Even bigots.’

Saturday continued with excellent speakers, starting with:

  • Chris Sheldrick of What3Words, the universal addressing system giving a viable address to every three square metres on the planet using just three words. A phenomenal mapping system changing the way businesses work, improving the lives of nomads, how emergency services access people in crowds, helping people find their friends and driving social and economic development in countries all around the world.
  • Heather Le Fevre, author of Brain Surfing, whose talk and separate workshop on reciprocal generosity I attended, is a global-based American strategist. The take-away lesson learnt from her talk was that ‘Everything we need to know is in other people. You just need to ask.’ And to always bear in mind the Ratio of Help; Offer 2: Ask 1.
  • Holley Murchison of Oratory Glory followed. An astounding person and inspiring soul who spoke about owning your voice, leading with love and leaving your mark.
    I attended her workshop before the talk which was ‘The Art of Making a Great Introduction’. So now, rather than asking what people do when I meet them, I’ll ask what they’re passionate about. It’s a much more interesting conversation to have with someone new!

 

new opportunities and adventures

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One of the best parts of Do was having the opportunity to meet and discuss with the speakers and other attendees over dinner and evening drinks. I used this opportunity to have a more in depth chat with Will of British Pilgrimage Trust as well as Michael of Carbon Law Partners and others. There are certainly lots of people whom I plan to stay in touch with and may hopefully work with in the future.

On the final morning at 7am, I was fortunate to join Will and Guy and a small group of Doers for the last leg of their pilgrimage to the coast. It was an enjoyable couple of hours; singing an old folk song to a yew tree, pausing for thought at a ruined abbey, discovering hidden wells and the meaning of Mount Joy. We questioned a blessing stone, sampled samphire on the beach and paddled in the waves at the end of our journey. There is so much hidden heritage on Britain’s public footpaths and byways and I’d love to do it again sometime, some place new.

I met many amazing people at Do Lectures and have since been in touch with a handful of them, particularly the Bristol cohort of which there were quite a few! I left feeling inspired, enriched and with a very, very long To Do List. One of which was to write this blog post. So at least that’s one thing finally done!

Copper load of this!

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A large part of our work goes unseen. You wouldn’t think it of a design agency. This is because some of our larger projects are often Round 1 or Round 2 bids for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), so it’s all very hush hush until we hear the outcome and can share the news.

Last year, we were involved with such a Round 2 bid to secure funding for the restoration and interpretation of the Coniston Copper Mines and Penny Rigg area in the Lake District National Park.

Following a successful tender, we worked alongside Lisa at Minerva Heritage, the chosen interpretation consultant, to help support the development of the interpretation plan for the site in order to submit the Round 2 proposals.

Well we’re thrilled to finally announce that the hard work paid off and the project has now secured Round 3 funding which covers implementation. This is great news for the site and all the volunteers involved as it means the somewhat crumbling archaeology can be saved and visits to the site promoted, further enriching the tourist offer and increasing knowledge of the area and its history.

We developed the site brand, creating a guidelines document to help steer the look and feel as it goes through implementation, as well as promotional event materials and visuals for digital elements.

A key part of the plan was visualising the site interpretation which needed to withstand harsh winters and summers, grazing livestock and rock falls! So we chose low-lying interpretation which could be built up and enforced using the local materials to hand.

See more of our work for this project on our portfolio page. Or you can find out about the project bid here. There is currently a call for volunteers from all backgrounds and experiences, so if you’re local and want to get involved, get in touch via archvol@lakedistrict.gov.uk.

 

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How to get a graduate design job without losing your soul

e’ve all bWeen there: fresh from university, sense of achievement from a brilliant degree show, you’re talented and want to change the world. Your friends move all over the country and seem to land their perfect first job with ease. You’ve sent out countless prospective emails. It’s three months later and you’re working in a bar part-time because you still need to survive. Shy of a couple of two week placements over summer, you’ve not yet got a proper design job. What’s going wrong?

I thought it would be useful at this time of year to give you some dos and don’ts. This mainly applies to design graduates and although we’re talking graphic design, it can work with fashion, photography, architecture… all kinds of creative backgrounds.

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Your approach:

  • Be good, really good. Talent is a start but I’m interested in what you do with it.
  • Be positive and friendly.
  • Be interesting and interested.
  • Be curious. Keep working in your spare time. Keep creative. Keep practicing. Explore ideas. I love to see a sketchbook and doodles.
  • Get offline! You may be a millennial but most of the industry isn’t. Networking is your friend and you can even enjoy it. Join things, talk face-to-face with people, be nice, be memorable.
  • Join a club or organisation: ISTD, CSD, People of Print, Museums Association, local sports clubs… anything! In Bristol, join Bristol Media and go to events. Around the rest of the country there are all sorts of creative networks and organisations for all kinds of businesses, whatever your specialism. Get to know people in the industry this way and you might find out they’re looking for someone before they even advertise it.
  • Don’t ask, don’t get. Ask questions. All the time. If they’re not advertising, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no job going.
  • If there’s a skill you’re missing that would help you stand out, learn it. Learning doesn’t stop when you leave university. If grammar’s your weakness, learn to improve. Can’t draw like you used to? Practice and practice. If you need to learn a new piece of software, do an online course in it. Don’t know how to artwork for print? Learn! Set yourself challenges like #100daysproject. Agencies love to see people self-improve and want to learn more.

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First contact:

  • Know who you’re talking to. I get countless emails starting ‘Dear Sir’. They immediately get deleted. Even if I was a sir, they’re not personal and would still get deleted. It doesn’t take five minutes to find the name of the person you’re emailing.
  • You can still have personality. Show it in your cover email/letter.
  • Tailor your CV, covering letter and portfolio. Do not send more than three projects to potential employers. They don’t want your whole portfolio in an unsolicited email. Pick your most relevant projects for that agency and in your covering letter say why you’ve chosen them and link similarities to the company’s own client work if possible. They want to know you’ll fit in. Make sure you use the right person’s name, the right company name and the correct job title. Double check! (I’ve had emails addressed to me that mention another company’s team and clients in the body.)
  • List what you can do: concepts, artwork, coding etc. Don’t say ‘I know 100% of InDesign’. No you don’t, no one does. There’s a current trend in CVs with infographics showing how well people can use software packages by percentage. It annoys me. How can you possibly know how much you know?
  • No typos! Get someone else to read through everything before you send it. (Out of over 100 applications we had for our designer position last year, 80 were immediately binned for having errors in either the cover email or CV. It’s a very quick and easy way to filter applications.) Alright, you’re probably not a copywriter but if you’re accurate, it shows agencies that work won’t have to be done twice.
  • Everyone likes movies and socialising! I’m far more interested in your qualification in cat herding than hearing you like to go to the pub. But I do still like to read what people’s interests are so keep them in. You won’t be judged professionally on it but it can make you stand out more.
  • Be persistent but don’t stalk or piss people off. Follow up on your email with another email a week later. If still no reply after a couple of days, feel free to call the person. If they don’t want to talk to you, fine, but they probably just had other things on their mind and got sidetracked. It might be the start of a very good conversation.

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Interview:

  • Customise your portfolio. If you’re applying for a junior web designer position but your portfolio is mainly corporate identity, don’t panic. If you’ve got a couple of weeks’ notice, or even a week, that’s plenty of time to work your magic and do an entire project or two to boost your folio. This is how I landed my first job.*
  • Use your experience. If you’ve had a placement, show the work you did there. Of course you need to ask their permission and be honest about your part in it but as long as you don’t put it online they should be ok with it in your folio.
  • Show your best, most relevant work. Not ALL your work. This is very important and shows your editing skills as well.
  • The core idea is more important than polished visuals. I’d rather see a sketch with a powerful idea than a worked up graphic with no real purpose.
  • Show your commercial and most recent work. It’s far more relevant to a potential employer than a second year group project. As the saying goes, ‘you’re only as good as your last project’, whether that’s through paid work or off your own back.
  • Be confident, not cocky. If you’re not a confident person, pretend. It has the same effect.
  • Be on time.
  • Be professional. Dress like you want the job. I’m not saying wear a full suit but jeans and a t-shirt might be a bit too informal.
  • Be passionate.
  • Tell them what you can bring. They want to know you’ll get on with everyone and also bring value to their offer. Sell the benefits of projects you’ve done and how they helped the end user. Everyone likes results.
  • Follow up the next day with an email thanking them and asking for feedback. It’s the least they can do.

 

If you do all these things – or at least most of them – and apply to the right places for you, you’ll get there in the end. You will. You’re just at the start of your journey. Let us know how you get on @thewaydesign.

I wish you the very best of luck and enjoy the degree show!


 

*Side story: after three months of fruitless job hunting following my graduation, I managed to get an interview for a small agency in Nottingham. Knowing that this was specifically for print/corporate design and that I’d spent my entire third year on ‘new media’ as it was called then – designing DVD menus and film credits (despite my adamant refusal to live and work anywhere near London) – my portfolio was chronically lacking in appropriate work. I picked out two competition briefs from the YCN book and set to working my creative magic. The day before my interview, I reprinted my folio with the two completed additional projects and left out all my digital work. I got the job. The reason they gave was that my portfolio showed more relevant print experience than any of the other interviewees.

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Recommended Agency Status

We’re chuffed to bits to have just achieved Recommended Agency Status. Only possible thanks to our wonderful clients who’ve said some lovely things about us.

The Recommended Agency Register is a database of design and advertising agencies whose clients have recommended them above the benchmark required. And it’s a pretty high benchmark too! Clients use the database to find agencies they can trust and agencies use it to stand out and attract new clients.

Thank you again to all our clients who’ve helped get us here.

The Way North

From January, our Yorkshire contingent (Rebecca) will be taking up residence at the Media Centre in Huddersfield. You’ll be able to write to her at The Way Design, 7 Northumberland Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 1RL. She’d love it if you sent her a real life letter!

If you’re asking yourself “Who is this Rebecca and what can she do for me?” then check out her details here or email rebecca@thewaydesign.co.uk

 

(Image: Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright Warren Slingsby and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.)