Graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook wrote a series of tweets advising graduates on some do's and don'ts on the path to employment. Though it feels a bit like eavesdropping on a conversation not meant for your ears, a lot of the advice is relevant to any young designer, graduate or not. I've collected all the tweets bellow for ease.
ok here we go with the grahic design student degree show related tweets:— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
1. your portfolio should make it clear the direction you want to go in, if it doesn’t it won't attract the work you want— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
2. presentation is really important. if your work looks tatty then it reflects badly on you— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
3. your whole folio is a design project. make sure work is big enough to be seen properly & you pay attention to captions etc— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
4. if you are british, basic spelling mistakes can mean instant rejection. if you are not a native english speaker its ok.— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
5.there aren't that many jobs out there, so don’t expect magic offers. big picture is you need to be happy with what you are doing— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
6.don’t get too distracted from what you want to do, think carefully if you are going to take a job which is not as creative as it should be— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
7. if your show is not in london then you will get far less professionals visiting, so vital you visit and show your work in the capital— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
8. when you contact people & they don’t reply, be persistent. there are various reasons they don’t answer & you could be just unlucky— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
9. it could also be that they are just not into your work. try not to hold a grudge, there might be a time in the future when they are— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
10. your lack of experience is a good thing. means you will can produce something very different, will try harder and you are ahem…cheap!— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
11. design is a service industry, you need to work & deal with people. that means your personality is as important as your work— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
12. at you show don’t hang around your work like a spider waiting for a fly to get caught in your web, be unobtrusive— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
think before you turn down a placement when you are looking for a job, it can be the best chance to show you are indispensable— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
14. on opening night, get drunk AFTER the show has closed. don’t group around the work drinking beer, it looks crap— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
when you contact a design company. say why they are good for you. don’t just tell them what you are good at— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
16. finally, never ever ever have your show opening on the same night as an england football match!… more tips tomorrow— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 16, 2012
And then some more from today:
so… tweeting a few more things based on degree shows / jobinterviews / getting work now:— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
don't send your cv & folio to 50 companies. pick 5 you know & like, address someone there personally & say why you are applying there— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
It doesn't matter what grade you got for your degree. no employer cares whether you got a 1st or a 2:1, it's about your work & personality— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
don't get caught in a job you don't want. 5 yrs will quickly go by & you won't have energy to get back into area you really want to work in— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
got an interview? have everything ready to go before you get to to it. waiting 10 mins for your computer to start up, show a lack of prep— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
before your interview try summarising each project in a single tweet. it makes you concise & understand what is the essence of it— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
practice what you are going to say & try to get rid of 'it's like, it's kind of' you will sound much more clear & dare i say it… intelligent— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
wearing an 'interview suit' can be a really bad idea. its an informal profession, so no need & it can make you look a bit too straight— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
if you show you have passion & direction, you will stand out. in my experience many design students have this problem most of their degree— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
design your email folio to for short attentions spans: one small file, easy to navigate, short explanation ofwork, clear what you want— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
be overly negative & people will agree you are bad. be over confident people will think you are arrogant. get the balance right— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
take risks with a job/workNOW. it's going to be much more difficult when you have a mortgage, family and are used to a certain lifestyle— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
in not enough to do good work, people have see it & most wont come to your degree show, so you have to get out and about— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
try & relax in an interview.people want to know that you have a good personality, so being serious is not always necessary— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
that’s it for today. if you have any specific design job related questions, tweet me today & i will answer them in the evening tomorrow— jonathan barnbrook (@barnbrook) June 17, 2012
Short, sharp and clear advice. About as good as it gets. I will expand this if he continues to post.
Mat Barnes and Eddie Blake are the founding members of Critical Architecture Network (CAN), a London based studio that seems to be altering the definition of architecture. My experience of architectural design is limited to the 'My Dream Home' folder that sits patiently on my desktop, so when I got the opportunity to spend a workshop day with them this week, I jumped at the chance. I and a few other Kingston students headed over to KK Outlet in Hoxton (a beautiful shop/ gallery/ workspace) where we met the creative duo as well as designer and tutor Freddie Yauner and were introduced to our 1-day brief. Our task was to tackle issues surrounding our dismal economy and to quickly make them visual and accessible.
After choosing an issue we had to turn to Google to find 3 symbolic images that would represent it. This was an odd and challenging way to begin a project, but forced you to instantly convey your idea in a visual way. Once we had chosen our images we experimented with different forms of translation such a mirroring, spiralling and scaling to create new and unexpected patterns. The patterns had to then be made 3D to create a 'monument' to our chosen issue that could be placed in the concourse at Liverpool Street Station. We made paper models, architectural plans (though my technical drawing skills seemed pretty rusty...) and composite images to demonstrate what the monument would look like and presented them at the end of the day.
In our group we wanted to acknowledge that we're in a global economic crisis, and saw Greece as the most profound example of our failing nations. We created an inverted pyramid made from their old banknotes, the Drachma that people would have to walk down into and then out again to continue their journey.
The most interesting part for me, was considering new sensory elements that I don't normally deal with in graphic design such as temperature, sound, height and light. Another great point raised by Freddie, is that: what you want the audience or user to feel, should be at the forefront of your mind when designing. While this sounds obvious, there have definitely been times where I've subconsciously let a design be dictated by a colour or typeface I 'fancy' using. If you set out saying "this piece of work should make someone feel angry" then that clarity will manifest itself in your work through your design choices.
It was truly a fantastic experience, not only working with such talented designers, but also to learn from what interdisciplinary collaboration can teach.
Believe it or not I do have interests outside of zines, despite the fact that my blog seems to be made up of nothing else. But this zine fair was our zine fair and so had to be talked about! It started out as a uni project to create a fanzine based around the theme 'dinosaur' or 'elements' but evolved into the best thing I've done at uni. Imagine if Argos sold zines and also happened to have 200+ balloons floating around and you get a pretty good idea of what our fair was about.
I'm going to do a flickthrough of my own zine and the others I bought just as soon as I get my video stuff sorted. But I just want to say it was a massive success and we raised a lot of money for our end of year show. Yay!
Yesterday I made a trip to West Harrow to visit the Debut fair put on by Usurp Zines. When I arrived, it felt like I had stepped off the street into someone's living room, there was defiantly a homely vibe which was weird and wonderful. I met some exciting illustrators and designers and perhaps most importantly, spend some money on some loot.
I bought a great zine from Sophia Niazi which really made me Laugh. In particular I loved the tribute poem to the headscarf.
I also met the guys from The Gym who have brilliantly branded their studio space and are producing some snazzy work. I picked up a collection of their poster which look awesome.
Fingers crossed Usurp Zines will happen again as I thought it was fab. There's also talk of a monthly zine making club which is one to look out for! I've got to pull my finger out and finish off my own zine next week... Get ready for that.
This week I had the fantastic luck of bagging a ticket to see advertising legend and founding member of BBH, Sir John Hegarty talk at The Typographic circle. While I'm reluctant to reduce the man to a collection of one-liners I wanted to share some of his wisdom.
"Get a philosophy - mine is irreverence". Alarm bells always ring when I feel like I'm taking something and simply presenting it with no opinion or point of view, having a philosophy (and I've still not developed mine) will help you to know what personal angle is and when the project allows, it should shine though.
"Most creative people have 10 years" "chasing the money is one of the surest ways to reduce this" "never chase the money, chase the opportunity"
"If you work in design, don't live in design" a piece of advice that I know is true but still struggle to abide by. The best design solves problems and there are no problems when you only look at other design solutions.
Leading on from the previous point, "Reference life! Stay constantly connected to the world. Cynicism is the death of creativity"
"Good work is 80% idea and 80% execution [pause] that's 160%...but it's how you should be working"
Kingston is full of shit. Literally. On the way into uni I often find myself scanning the pavement rather than soaking up my surroundings. Thank god that the local primary school contains kiddie crusaders that are fighting to keep our streets clean. Sadly the laminator sucked, probably due to cuts in the schools budget. Maybe that could be the subject of their next campaign.
Yesterday I had good fortune of attending the Publish and be Damned zine fair at the ICA and was completely blown away by what I saw.
Packed into a hot room at the back of the building was an oasis of independent publishing. There was a great buzz in the room as punters wondered around, rifling through peoples creations. The zines themselves covered a wide variety of topics from art & design to poetry and literature and all had their own distinct visual style. Here are just a few things I picked up on the day...
I grabbed all the issues of FUN that I could and although it's a difficult zine to describe, I will say that I quickly stopped reading it on the train home for fear of judgment over its provocative content. Both outrageous and hilarious, I totally recommend you buy these babies.
20x20 Magazine is described as "a square platform for writings, visuals and cross-bred projects" and uses gorgeous combinations of text and image. You can check it out here.
Here are a few other bits and pieces I picked up on the day. The cartoon bomb is actually a colour swatch for London-based print company Ditto Press which I thought was ingenious. And yes the little zine at the front is featuring a cheeky little piece from David Shrigley.
Being a bit of an internet junkie and a sucker for all things digital I was totally inspired by the people in that little room and shall be following the zine scene closely from now on. You might even see a little publication by me soon. Watch this space!