University Blog 5: Seeking Wisdom from a Geoff

In today’s session, we were given an insightful lecture by the head of Hill Langdell which is a design company which holds a broad range of specialisms such as illustration, graphic design, product design and the list goes on. This ideal of being multi-disciplinary is what grounded Geoff’s lecture along with real time working advice into his own personal journey within the creative industry.

The discussion was light and rich with professional content while carrying that witty introversion, which seems to be a common trait in creatives today. Yet Geoff talked about using your introverted nature to take risks, as previous mentioned in the fourth blog post you have to network and create sustainable contacts while this seems straightforward Geoff proceeds to informs us that we have little control towards our career. While we need to take an unconventional approach to manage this haphazard fate that seems to be our creative career and that ultimately you shouldn’t:

  • Fear Failure.
  • Worry about money.

I would have to agree in his insight, as the research that I’ve shown previously would suggest that if you can manage the balance of working and living while maintain contacts and motivation you shouldn’t have to worry as it will become natural process to you. Or you basically don’t have time to worry as I’ve said before, and using this chaos to fuel your ideas and processes. When work takes a turn, due to economic, world climate or the clients’ needs you have to adapt and be flexible.

 (Insert Darwinism here)untitled-1

This ideal of not fearing failure, to me is a steady progression. As we are taught to just create material not fearing if it’s not perfect in a sketchbook yet somehow it’s hard not to make everything perfect or complete. This is partially to a fear of being seen as inept at drawing or lacking precision, yet now I see more of a growing or experimental process to get to that refined outcome.

That sense of failure is present in my attempts to get work, when I applied for an internship at Games workshop in their Nottingham headquarters as a designer. Here I tried something new, trialled 3D software to build a quick portfolio of my work. I didn’t get the job, but it did make me think about presentation and how I showcased my work. That by maybe showcasing too much experimental processes to impress it lacked any refinement. Even the letter I sent would be considered and essay due to my over excitement of the opportunity. So really Geoff is right, you grow and adapt from failures to succeed in the long run no matter the situation.

He also mentioned the fact that you have to recreate yourself in the eye of the public to become an authentic brand. This is both being seen as a visually professional service while maintain a high standard of human contact and reliability. Just creating outcomes that suit the briefs but breaking deadlines or not communicating with client ultimately makes you a one-time service. You need that combination of elements to have clients returning and thus a steady income will turn out in a sense.

All of this talk about providing an authentic service and be flexible makes it quite clear that you really have to remove yourself from a particular label such as illustrator and literally embody a creative person. Be it an illustrator, graphic designer, animator, product designer, story boarder or website creator; you learn an mass amount of all of these skills from university which you can apply into your professional practice. This broaden skills or traits present you as hybrid or jack of trades for the creative industry. This hybrid can animate, draw, layout typography, create visual solutions, storyboard,  direct, print and compose layouts, time manage, handle pressure, meet deadlines, present ideas, and finally communicate. All of this from just university studies and independent practice puts your as visual problem solver with skills so broaden and in demand that you have a higher chance of getting commissions or a salary paid job due to this adaptability and growth you provide.

Personally I would have to mention that my own transferable skills to add to my visual hybrid brand would be:

  • Time management
  • Independent worker
  • Cooperation
  • Analyst/researcher from both visual studies and history studies.
  • Observation skills be it analytical or drawing.
  • Adobe Suite proficient
  • Photography
  • Print/ Paints
  • Collage
  • Gif creation
  • Storyboarding

This also means that this hybrid brand is multi-disciplinary with equal chance against those who focus solely on one practice. Using the example when I attempted to join Games workshop as a trainee, I could also put myself in contention with the other opportunities they provide such as Publications illustrator and Paint & Packaging design manager. Although the likelihood of getting those jobs is low,, its about trying and build up that portfolio for this hybrid brand, they can always say no so whats the harm with putting yourself out there.

For next Time, the plan will be to discuss an upcoming trip as well as attempt to contact other professionals to gain their insight.


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