lizzie Â unwin
Introduction In the previous assignment I had discovered that when it comes to learning, I am an ‘activist’. Activists learn less when:
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The last point is often something I struggle with and is why I have tackled this assignment from a different angle than what was expected of us. As a kinesthetic learner, and foremost a designer, I feel the need for inspiration in order for creativity to flow and learning to occur. Writing endless words and finishing with a plain black and white document doesn’t appeal to me. I have used my creativity to challenge the way that I learn from this exercise. As the saying goes “rules are made to be broken.” Before undertaking this task I hadn’t really thought about my future career plans. I hid behind the lyrics in Baz Luhrmanns ‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’: “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.”
I still believe in this but now I feel a have a general direction in which I can feel lost.
Where am I now?
2013 NEWCASTLE Was my home Away from home
Years old WENT TO COURT (OOPS)
ONLY FELL OVER
ONCE SKIING IN AUSTRIA
Completed a masters degree in
MDI (Multidisciplinary design innovation)
144 blog posts And counting (uglyducklingdesign.tumblr)
lizzie unwin The brand
Where do I want to be?
2019 London Is where I CALL HOME (FOR NOW)
Years old Working At Company
Was finally house trained
Engaged to (Insert name above)
Dream job I have been thinking about my dream job for a while and I still can’t quite put my finger on it. I now know that I want to work in the graphic design industry. It has not been until this year that I knew this was the direction I wanted to follow. I have seen my skills within the projects being the visual communication aspects, from creating booklets and posters to accompany our concepts to doing the layout for the actual presentations. Ideally I would like to go back to the furniture design side one day, however I think that I will need experience in other fields to become a more rounded designer. As of yet, I still don’t class myself as a designer...I’m not sure I ever will. The number of jobs within the graphic field is vast. Research has led me to a few which appeal to me. The primary role I can see myself doing, which plays to my strengths, would be that of a visual communicator. It is a similar role to what I have been doing in previous projects, however I think that the gap between doing it to a university standard and that of a professional standard is vast. For the purpose of this exercise I have pin pointed one of the companies that I researched and chosen it as my ‘dream job’. I also chose it as it is based in London. Within the UK London is the centre for design. I feel it will be essential to work here in order to experience the design world at it’s best. This doesn’t however rule out other companies within the UK or even across the globe. Alongside my dream job, is my dream to continue travelling and experience the world.
Company Company is a design consultancy based in London. “Working with a broad range of clients from individuals to institutions, we develop visual identity, publication design, art direction, editorial and digital projects. Our objective is to deliver well-crafted, thoughtful and direct design solutions. Brutal simplicity with a conceptual approach is at the heart of everything we do.”
Their objective is similar to my own design ethos; that of simplicity and thought. It is a company that I would like to work for as they produce beautiful pieces of graphic design and it is something that I myself would like to be associated with. I think that it is important to be recognised in your field for your work. Company have also worked with numerous clients, ranging from Abbey Road Studios to The Global Canopy Programme. I think that working for them would provide me with variety. This refers back to the way that I learn. I often get bored with monotony and so by each brief being completely different from one to the next, it will favour my personality and working habit. Before I would feel comfortable in applying for a full time job here, I will need to build upon and gain a few more skills. I wouldn’t like to go into a job where I felt I was unsure of what I was doing, but more importantly, what was expected of me.
What will I need?
Further Graphic knowledge
Experience In the field
Improve Teamwork Skills
How will I get there?
Graphics My knowledge of graphic design has been, up until now, self-taught. In my undergraduate degree I noticed the benefits that it could provide in order to communicate an idea across to others. Keeping up to date on design blogs (see appendix) and saving images which appeal to me, has inspired the majority of my work. As Picasso says “good artists copy, great artist steal.” In order to follow my career path of being involved in visual communication, I want to have formal teaching of the principles of graphic design and other aspects that I may not already know. I already have skills in this area, however building upon them will be key to my development. During the last two semesters I have been using my graphic knowledge and skills to communicate ideas to clients within our various projects. The range has spread from posters, to booklets and even videos. I feel that communication is one of my strong points and I am keen to develop it further. During projects I have asked for feedback from other team members, however the greatest and most rewarding was received from one of the clients we had been working with. “We were excited with how well it was thought through and executed. It is the kind of intelligently thought through and innovative marketing idea associated with popular ‘Silicon Valley Start Up Companies’.”
This has reinforced my passion and drive to learn more and become more of an expert in the field.
shillington Â college
shillington college To gain a greater knowledge of graphics and all that is associated I am going to study on a three month course in New York. Shillington college is an International graphics school, which colleges in the UK, America and Australia. My attention was first drawn to it by a fellow student. After further research into the course itself and the graduates that it produces, I felt it was the right fit for me. I attended one of the open days that the London college had put on. My initial worries about the course was that it was open to absolutely anyone, even those with no previous experience in graphics. As I have knowledge of some of the software that they teach, I thought that I may not find it as challenging as some others. After speaking to one of the tutors at length, I was reassured that despite knowing some of the software, I may have gotten into bad habits which would need changing. It was also said that we would work to our abilities, meaning that despite knowing more than perhaps some others would, we would all tackle the briefs in different ways and learn from each other. This is similar to what I experience now doing the MDI course, working alongside others from different disciplines and picking up on their working habits and often learning from them. The decision to study in New York, instead of the UK, was taken because I still want to explore the world. It may also open up new and exciting avenues in which my career can follow. For me, exploration is key and that is essentially what I am doing with this assignment.
Experience The only experience I have had in the field of design was with Plant & Moss, a product and furniture design company. Even though here I was involved in the packaging design, with my final graphics being used on their products, I still feel I need more practice in the field. In order for me to gain a respectable job in the graphic field I believe that experience within a firm will be a necessity. With the job market the way it is, experience is valuable to prospective employers. The wider range of working environments I can experience, the more I feel I will be able to contribute varied and creative ideas. I did some research into the graduate career prospects through The Design Council website and they summarised with the following: “Unfortunately, there are more students leaving design education than there are jobs to receive them. This means that in addition to qualifications, a designer’s industry experience, skill set and creative ability will be very influential in securing a job or client work.”
After seeing this it has further reinforced my need and want for internships and work experience. I have been looking at smaller companies as I feel I will be able to learn more from them as well as being able to give more input. I also want to start of with smaller firms as I believe that is where I finally see myself getting a job within. I thrive off the studio environment, working in smaller teams. By going to places where this is an everyday occurrence for them will benefit me greatly.
Magpie Magpie is a London based company that “produce homewares and gifts, all with a distinctive British edge.” I started to research this company after buying some of their products. I was attracted to their designs as they are similar to the ‘Birds Of A Feather’ card series, which I myself design and produce. After studying 3D:Product and Furniture design as my undergraduate degree, I am still interested in that field, however, now I feel that instead of personally making the products and being a ‘designer/maker’, combining graphic and product design would be more suited to my skill set. After an hour or so of looking at their website and finding out more about the people that worked there, I could really see myself fitting in to the company. This to me is extremely important. I have always believed that you should only work in a place that you enjoy going to and that is usually down to the others that work there. I think that from this company I would be able to learn about the commercial side of things; how to get a product to market and how graphics can be applied to physical,three dimensional products, rather than just a screen or booklet. The best bit about this company is that they donate 15% of all sales to the Cat Protection charity. I love cats. This is another reason why I think I would get on with the others in the company!
OPEN PLAY Open Play are a design studio, specialising in graphics. They believe that “a grounding in fresh ambition, wild ideas and the importance of language, is essential to the studio's practice.” The company first came to my attention after seeing and admiring their work (see previous page) on a design blog. Looking further into their portfolio into getting an internship or simply a few weeks experience with them. Open Plays’ work spans from branding to packaging and even cake making. I think that by working with them I would be able to build upon my imagination and creativity. I am used to a fairly mechanical and technical way of working, however spending time with people who come from more of an arts background would benefit me greatly. After finishing the MDI course I will be looking to gain either an internship or simply a few weeks experience with Open Play. To me, gaining a variety of experience is key, even a variety of locations is important. Edinburgh is a place where, more recently, I have been thinking of working. It has a creative buzz about it, as well as being a beautiful city. Other than Open Play there are a few other branding agencies and design consultancies in which I could see my self working. To me it is very important in which city/town I will end up working. For me, being able to work within the Open Play studio would enable me to get closer to my ‘dream job’.
Cover letter Dear Freddy and Noah, I am a recent Masters graduate from Northumbria University. Despite studying furniture design at undergrad and then multidisciplinary design after, graphics is where my passion lies. Throughout those four years, I used graphics to communicate the idea and ethos behind my designs. I have seen my skills go from strength to strength, however I feel that I still need more experience in the ‘big bad world’. I first came across your company after seeing and (in no way do I mean to sound like a suck-up) admiring the packaging you designed for Pipcorn. With further research through the website, your ethos of ambition and creativity struck a chord with me. I was looking as to whether you provided internships, or perhaps even just a couple of weeks experience? I would love to come and work with you guys, not only to see how you both as graphic designers work, but also how the studio functions. I think that I could learn a lot from you both but also input to projects with a differed and welcome viewpoint. Attached is my CV. If you would like to know more about any of my projects, just ask or have a look at my website (uglyducklingdesign.net). Yours Sincerely, Lizzie Unwin
GROUP WORK Within many design agencies, working well within a team is vital. Learning to work alongside others that have differing learning styles will be key to ensure that the team I work within can achieve its full potential. Over the past semester I have been aiming to improve my teamwork skills. Since doing a undergraduate course that was all about individual work, coming to MDI and working purely within teams has been a huge learning curve for me. It has taken time to adjust and in some respects, I am still adjusting. I want to develop this skill as it is very unlikely that I will be working alone within a studio environment. Collaboration is the key to creating inspiring and creative results. It often takes the viewpoint of another to see the flaws in your idea and vice versa. One can never be absolute. I think that within MDI, it is the perfect place to build upon this due to the projects being group based, however, more importantly, the variety of people that are within those teams. With the disciplines ranging from design to business and engineering, differing viewpoints are in abundance. I don’t just want their viewpoints on ideas that I have, but also my performance within that team. This is vital as I won’t be able to continuously develop if I do not know where I need to improve.
THERE AIN’T NO ‘I’ IN TEAM
Feedback In order to improve my group work skills, I have asked members for feedback on my performance over the previous projects. The following was a quote that struck me: “Lizzie is a great team member when she is in, however it is often the case that she misses group meetings due to prior commitments. These are vital for us to go over things, but also because we value her input to the project.” (Oliver Johnston)
After this comment I looked at how I could move forward and address the problem. At the beginning of the semester I did find it hard to juggle university work, with holding down a part-time job. After receiving this feedback I spoke to my manager at work to discuss how I could reduce the hours of university that I miss. Not only did I have to manage my time but I had to manage my manager at work and my tutors. Pleasing one often led to disappointing the other. I now feel that I have found a healthy balance of the two and already I can feel my presence and performance within the team improving. I want to continue on with this path as the benefits aren’t just affecting me now but they will do in the future. Before I saw teamwork on the sports field, however, now I know that it is a lot harder than all aiming for the same goal. We are essentially doing that, however within MDI we all go about doing it in different and often conflicting ways. Managing these conflicts and building ideas together is the real meaning of teamwork.
So what next?
Years old Travelled the East coast of
AFRICA Read a book Every month
New York Was my home For three months
Still B G N L D R E K S O F A B A T T
At boggle (The odyssey was my favourite)
Conclusion The three goals I have set myself have been put in place as I believe that without gaining them I do not feel that I will be able to follow the career I am looking to pursue. All of them lead to the development of myself as a designer, however as I mentioned previously, I do not yet see myself as a designer. Perhaps by achieving these three goals, it will change that view of mine. I believe entirely that these goals can be easily achieved. As this is a passion of mine, I am willing to go above and beyond to get to the final destination, which is my ‘dream job’. I may know the area in which it is in, however not the exact job. Over time this may perhaps change, opportunities may arise which lead me in a different direction. By going to New York, I may be able to network through Shillington College and who knows, in six years time, I may call New York home, instead of London. The main thing on which I wish to reflect upon is this assignment itself. By challenging the way that it is assessed, I have learnt a lot about the way I work best and how to harness that to my benefit. Through the use of graphics I hope to have illustrated my future plans and demonstrated part of my skill set. I am a firm believer that pictures and actions speak louder than words. Referring back to the introduction, I mentioned that activists have trouble in sticking to the rules. This has been clearly evident throughout this assignment, however if I had stuck to the rules I don’t think I would have learnt as much through this process. I think that it is important to take this assignment with a light-hearted approach. My future career is a serious thing, however I am merely at the start of it.
design blogs The Inspiration Grid Design Milk Feel Desain NotCot 123 Inspiration Design You Trust This Is Paper DeFringe Leibal New Grids This Isnâ€™t Happiness Co.Design Just to name a few...