• I was invited to take part in a one minute design brief organised by Nick Entwistle & James Clancy, a creative team running the bank of creativity and who currently work at McCann Manchester.

    I am not going to lie, I wasted 20 seconds of my time google-ing a piece of brown bread for my poster, and it wasn’t until I’d looked at the others creative ideas, that it was more about scribbling an idea down rather than aiming to make it look pretty.  I did take my minute very seriously though and started the clock at ‘Brown Bread’, however I certainly could have been a little more creative than this I guess. Overall, lots of fun and an awesome idea. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see what briefs others get and what they come up with.
  • I am now officially a Brand Ambassador for Publicate, and I have also been lucky enough to be selected to have my design work and collections featured on the front sign up page underneath the ‘Creatives’ and ‘Students’ example of a collection to follow. 

    I mainly use Publicate for sharing and collecting creative inspiration, and research from others also in the creative industry.
    I think it is a brilliant way of organising and displaying all my creative work in a visual portfolio, and whether I am at home, work or in university I like to login and add found pieces or research to my collections which I can refer back to at a later time.

    I also like to be organised, so having separate collections helps me to organise my inspiration into categories, and more importantly share specific collections with other designers through social media, others on my course and clients. I find it is perfect for group projects and a great way to gather opinions and constructive feedback.
  • Yesterday myself, Alice and Alex all met up to get our plans out, and to offer as much as we could to each other. Alex, Founder and Director of Albatross Clothing had much to offer both me and Alice, who have been opening up our options, and have been considering an entrepreneurial career move.

    Things seem to be happening very fast at the moment. A few months back, I received an investment offer on a product I had created, however in terms of what I would receive in return were not fantastic, and I felt I could certainly get more out of this new product if I was to manage it myself. My intuition was right, and there are currently a few ideas on the table for expanding the idea much further. Alex has helped me get in touch with the right contacts, and a partner who will help keep the plan on track.

    This is going to be something I intend to do on the side from what I am currently doing, and additional future aims. I cannot help but find the whole idea very exciting now. I feel that I am currently at the perfect stage, and really do not have much to lose, so anything is undoubtedly worth a try.
  • I came across an article not long ago about graphic design graduates, within this it went on to discuss that winning a recognised competition could give out some great exposure, and something fresh and up to date for your portfolio.

    The vast majority of my freelance work so far has been quite corporate, client led or not really that interesting to discuss. This was what led me on my search to find some of the best graduate competitions to enter this year.

    I probably should have started my search September time as it seems most entry deadlines are for January time, and I do believe to go through the great effort of completing a brief, you should certainly enter it. Despite this, I did manage to find some that have late February or March deadlines, and each have reasonable entry fees…

    D&AD - Make Your Mark
    Deadline: 20th March 2013
    Fee: £12

    YCN Awards - Experian Animate 
    Deadline: 14th March 2013
    No entry fee

    Brand New Awards
    Deadline: 1st March 2013
    Fee: $30 view more fees here.

    RSA Design Awards
    Deadline: 22nd March 2013
    Fee: £35

    Chip Shop Awards 
    Deadline: 16th March 2013
    Fee: £49

    HOW Promotion Design Awards 2013
    Deadline: Early Bird 22nd Feb 2013 or 25th March 2013
    Fee: Early Bird Free or all entries after $40

    AOI International Illustration Awards 2013 
    Deadline: 28th Feb 2013
    Fee: £25 

    Many more can be found here: www.graphiccompetitions.com
  • I was sorting out my hard drive the other day and came across part of a project I had completed during my second year of university. I did not take this idea any further, I thought it would be nice to share what I captured, however. I come from Oswestry and I was lucky enough to get hold of an archive of old photographs which were captured of the town during the 1960s. My idea behind the theme Picturing Time was to photograph how my hometown looks today in contrast to how it looked over 50 years ago.




  • Last week I took part in a competitive interview project which was set to selected candidates who had made it through to this final stage of the process. The brief was to integrate these two used company brands together in order to create a template pack to give to an interviewee more knowledge on the company applied.  Below is a very small part of my completed project.

    There was a mix of us that took part in the final stage, including designers that have worked within the industry for more than 20 years with much greater experience; however I tried not to let this put me off.
    I received positive feedback on my presented project idea and portfolio of work, and although I was youngest and the most inexperienced, I was called back to be told the direct manager could see a great deal of potential and believed if we worked together I could develop and be at a required level, however he also noted that he could see some uncertaincy between myself and the role I was going for, and he questioned me if this is where I had seen myself in my creative career, as they are looking for longevity. After a considerable amount of consideration, unfortunately I decided this was not the right role for me, and we both agreed I would benefit more joining a creative house and develop my creative side being surrounded by a big team of design professionals.

    He suggested I stay away from small agencies and aim for the bigger and well established agencies in order to get the most out of my career, and offered much more great advice in order to get my foot in the door to make this possible.  I found our discussion motivating and it was a real eye-opener.
     I have learnt more in the past two weeks about my career direction than I have done for the past seven months following the completion of my degree. I guess this may because I finally feel happy and as though I am getting somewhere and improving my development. There was a few things holding me back and I let insecurities of leaving a position and being left completely without hold me back from doing what I really wanted to be doing. I learnt I am still young and I have so much more to go for than being in a position which I was at the time that does not really have much to offer me.

    It certainly is difficult landing the perfect graduate job, and I feel if I was not in the position I am right now with my freelance agency work and studies I would have no doubt accepted the position. I am probably not in a great position to offer any advice, however I would personally suggest to graduates in the same position as myself that to keep seeking and do not settle for somewhere you are not entirely happy to work. Question yourself and the reasons for taking on a design degree, and try not to turn down any freelance work whilst you are seeking.
    Secondly, nobody should ‘expect’ to work for free either. I have been reading into lots of advice given to graduates lately, and this seems to be the most common one to pop up. If you are going to take on an unpaid role for an agency however,  I would suggest to make sure it is one you have a great deal of desire to work for and want to gain experience with.

  • Rather than having a specific New Year’s resolution, I have decided to list a few things I wish to do this year. There is definitely so much I want to achieve.

    Be more positive
    The most important one, I need to more positive and believe in myself a little more. Things can be tough at times and it is hard to remember nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, and I do tend to kick myself a lot for this. 

    Organise my time more sufficiently 
    Three months into my Masters degree and I still have not found the ideal working balance between my course work, agency and freelance work.
    I want to get the very most out of my course and the only way this is going to be possible, is to devote some more time to it and organise my time more sufficiently.

    Take on a placement or Internship
    I have been thinking more lately about my career and I have been looking into Art Direction.
    I am currently working as a freelance designer for a few agencies in the North West and North Wales which means I can currently take up some of my time to do a placement or an internship.

    After Craig Oldham had visited my university to talk to us all, he inspired me to ‘only do what I want to do, and more importantly work only where I want to work’. I have so far started doing some research and looking around at some agencies in the North West and London. 

    Art Direction course
    In June, I wish to take up an Art Direction course, which is being held in London and organised by the D&AD. The course is going to be a single, intensive day of inspiration and enquiry, which is led by one of the most successful Art Directors in the UK (and the world). 

    I intend to re-do my website, and work on my branding, which I have been meaning to do for some time. I also wish to blog more about my work in progress and continue to improve and work on my design work, learning through others suggestions.
    I also need to continue keeping my LinkedIn and other forms of my design social media updated, however I am already pretty good at this…

    Enter for this year’s D&AD Awards
    I want something fresh for my portfolio and something I can be really proud of and talk about. I have not yet achieved this through recent agency or freelance work since graduating, as I have found the design work tends to be more client-led in this respect. ‘Make Your Mark’ is open to recent graduates and anyone under the age of 26. 

    Keep up to date with industry news
    I believe it is important to keep up to date with everything else that is going on in the industry and also to keep up to date with social trends and the news, however recently I have not allowed myself as much time as I would wish to take some time to read. I read Creative Review and have so far started to keep more up to date with Design Week, Design Observer, Brand Republic and The Guardian updates however I want to continue at this, and aim to read much more.

    Last, but certainly not least - Allow myself to take some time off
    I need to remember to take some time out from design work. I never used to believe this would be beneficial, and recently I have found myself working late most nights and feeling quite guilty for taking a day off. I have learnt it is good to take some time out now and again, and the only way of coming up with new and fresh ideas.