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lizzie  unwin

Hi There!

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





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

Co Rex

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  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   ( 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.



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?

2014 23

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 Isn’t Happiness Co.Design Just to name a few...

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Lizzie Unwin: Career Plan  

An outline of my proposed future and how I aim to get there...