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So we made it all the way down to Glasgow and back in one piece (mostly because of my awesome driving skills). Ross gave us a fantastic interview! He was very open and honest, whilst also being completely down-to-earth.
I’m not going to reveal all the details, but it is certainly going to make a great presentation (well, depending on us actually presenting of course…)
Lots of work to do to get all our notes/recordings into the right format! Off to work!
So I have slighty neglected my blog in terms of writing about our group research.
Here’s a quick update:
We gave Helen Rush, from Agency Rush, a call to find out if an interview with her would be possible. Unfortunately Helen was only going to be able to do a phone interview with us and even at that it would not be until the actual day of our presentation.
We had to think on our feet, fast. We compiled our list of agencies we had all been looking at and gathered all the contact numbers.
Our first call was to a design agency called Bulletproof ID. We spoke to a pleasant chap who advised us to email Ross from Bulletproof. True to form we did just that and amazingly Ross got back to us that afternoon! Turns out that Ross Carmichael is actually the company’s director and he was more than willing to let us come through for a little chat. Perfect!
We arranged the date and time to go down to Glasgow and then we each took a section of the business to research. We had already done quite a lot of desk research and I had been looking at the trends that are current within the design industry, and also social media networking.
Our desk research, along with our in-depth research into the company, allowed us to compile our list of questions and we were ready to go and find out first hand how Bulletproof is managed!
We had a brief but informative visit from Iain Lauder, who is the Creative Director of Redpath Design. Iain had prepared a very honest lecture on the 10 things that he reckoned we should be keeping in mind at all times:
1) Get faster. Think you work fast at art school? Try working to a deadline of 2 days instead of 2 weeks.
2) Be curious. All the time – it’s our curiousity in things that will keep our ideas fresh.
3) Don’t apologise. You have to believe in yourself before you can expect anyone else to!
4) Be flexible. Always.
5) Be a sponge. You’re not stealing ideas, but you can be inspired and recreate some of the things you love about other works you love. It’s always good to try new things.
6) If you don’t know, don’t pretend. If you are being briefed on a new project and don’t understand something – just ask! It’s better to find out there and then than going spending time later trying to figure it out!
7) Check the brief again and again. Even if you think that what you are doing is prefect, check the brief again,just incase.
8) Always have more than one idea. If you show 5 ideas and 1 is picked (that you didn’t neccesarily liked) or you show 1 idea (that you love, but the client hates) you’re always going to be in a better position.
9) Be organised. This is crucial. Kick that procrastination habit now.
10) Don’t give up.
Iain also spoke about tendering. He advised us that you cannot rely on your reputation to get work. You must always be prepared with new ideas and strategies. Stay creative! At the same time you should keep up with your research constantly – make sure you know about all the trends that are happening (and not just in your own discipline!) And please, always give yourself enough time – ahh the importance of being organised!
The second part to our lecture was on how to make successful presentations. Mike Press advised us that if we followed everything he was about to tell us we would make excellent presentations when the time came… (Will be holding you to that Mike!)
I am not going to bore you with all the ins and outs of ‘how to present’, but some of the key things that were mentioned were;
Preparation – preparewell in advance, have a clear structure, keep to short sentences, try to speak naturally and rehearse (again and again – yay!)
How Much Material – watch your speed when talking (people average around 150 words/min) and make every word count!
Important Elements – the concept is key, sort who will talk about what, how will you introduce your presentation? Most audiences are more likely to be alert at the very beginning so make sure you catch their attention then!
How to Rehearse – do it at least 10 times and whenever you can, use notes only as a reference and try recording yourself to listen to for mistakes etc.
Try to remember you are telling a story here! Talk as if you are having a conversation with your audience. Nobody wants to listen to someone speaking monotone the whole …. way…. through ….
Okay. Now let’s see if I will remember all this come the 24th of February
The second part to Mike Press’ ‘Making Design Work’ was very insightful. We looked at our future as design graduates. Where we will not simply leave university and apply to work in big creative design agencies (well not all of us) because these jobs are becoming less and less predictable. Our future will be shaped by ourselves. We will be looking to create our own job opportunities and our futures’ will be invested in ourselves.
Mike spoke about the importance of being a T-shaped practitioner, where your Interpersonal skills are complimented by your Knowledge skills. He emphasized the importance of having a multi-disciplinary way of working to ensure a successful future in a not so certain future.
It was at this point I realised how glad I was that – way back in June 2011 – I had decided to take this module. It is becoming increasingly important to have good background knowledge in business – you will be the one responsible for getting your own ideas/enterprises off the ground and any extra help we have now is only going to be invaluable!
This also tied in nicely with some of the questions we are looking to asking our chosen entrepreneur when the time comes…
The very lovely Emma Walker came in yesterday to talk with us about ‘Audience Development’. In our previous lecture we had spoken about marketing ourselves and Emma’s talk helped us hear first hand how someone had done just that.
What was also interesting was Emma’s focus on the importance of branding yourself – making sure you give yourself a title and are not afraid to use it. Whilst branding yourself, it is important to think about who your audience are. Who is your network? How do you speak with them?
I came away from the lecture feeling very motivated and with a purpose. Also with the confidence to declare that I am an illustrator/designer and I am about to do something with that!
As a group we managed to decide on one of our briefly researched enterprises to take further. We decided that the most interesting and challenging company to research was Agency Rush based in London. We want to interview Helen Rush the company’s founder specifically.
We have each taken as aspect of what we want to research about the company and will meet again next week to discuss our findings. I have also suggested that we get in touch with the company to find out about the possibilty of an interview.
So here we all are, sitting in Lecture Theatre 3 at the Dalhousie Building in Dundee, waiting in anticipation to find out about the future of designers. Where will we end up? I’m studying Illustration – by the time I leave I will be ready to apply to work at some design agency in-house right? Wrong. Well maybe I could but it doesn’t really work this way anymore does it?
Mike Press admitted that he (along with our individual specialism tutors) is trying to prepare us for jobs that don’t necessarily exist yet. As the economy is failing and we face the worst recession in recorded history, there doesn’t seem much hope for soon-to-be-graduates.
What if instead of recruiting an expensive agent to sell your work, you could market yourself?
What if we were our own boss?
What if we were our own brand?
In the last 10-15 years we have seen a significant rise in the digital economy. YouTube launched 6 years ago, Facebook 7 years ago and Twitter only 5 years ago. Yet all of these networking sites have had a significant impact on how we live our daily lifes. We receive news quicker, we have a larger availabilty of contacts and we have many more opportunities. It only makes sense that a business just starting up would take full advantage of what these sites have to offer.
I am off now to sort out my Facebook fan page… Oh and my Twitter account… And my website!… And of course my blog
This week we also had guest speaker Lindsey Gardiner in to talk with us about her own business. Lindsey spoke about her ventures and passion for all things quirky (mostly her gorgeous dogs!).
The focus was on how she found and built on her USP (Unique Selling Point). If you love to work a certain way, have a distinctive style and don’t give up too easily then just go for it! A business will go nowhere if there is no USP. It will be difficult to convince buyers/clients/agents about your work if you have no real confidence in what you are selling them.
With over 2,000,000 copies of her books sold worldwide I think she knows what she’s talking about…