“From student to artist” with Michael Robinson

“Where are you now & where do you want to be?”

Such words that truly got me thinking. What am I actually wanting to achieve as a graphic designer, is it the field of graphic design that I still want with the crossovers into graphic illustration and print, or am I to stray away from the dream that I’ve had since beginning uni. As of right now I can simply say, I am working away, producing the style of graphics that is expected of me and being restricted in what it is that is I want to create. The desire to draw the unusual, and tackle projects with my own style seems to not be acceptable, so I am afraid I am not where I want to be. But can combat that with where I am hoping to be, come graduation later this year.  With the wanting to be screenprinting and producing gig posters, or become part of a studio’s team truly creating the inspirational.

The guest speaker Michael Robinson, in a matter of seconds had the room pondering themselves and exploring into their own creativity with a greater depth. Having gone through the same experience and now passing on what he knows and what he had to go through to get to where he is now. All of which proved to be of great value to us, and most of all myself, taking note of every gram of advice. What stuck with me most and still does is “The fear of beginning is bigger than the actuality of doing”. Changing my view now as a designer, knowing that everyone goes through the same process, but as soon as a task is to come my way I am to scribble anything and everything down that is simply in my head however little it may have towards relevance. It gets me over that beginning hurdle. And will now become a part of my process in future creativity ventures. Once over the whole stigma of being bogged down at the starting grid, consider every location that could become the home to your work, whether its a cafe, library or window of an empty shop, it’s an opportunity for your work to be seen. Taking such risks like Michael did, and asking, gets you places that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be. He asked for the most hardest to reach wall up three flights of stairs to feature as a home to his artwork, a truly impressive prospective when you think about it. And when finding a studio, managing to hook up and share a studio all off the back of asking, a motto of his that seems to get you far.

Through all of Michael’s endeavours and experiences, the one thing that he couldn’t avoid was doing the drab and the work that you morally never wanted to have to result in doing.  A prospect that we as designers want to stray away from and is a thought of mine that I don’t really want to result in doing, But still know that it could be something that I end up doing, especially if my desires and ambitions either don’t take off or aren’t fulfilled.


“Teaching as an option” with Ursula Byrne

“What’s it like to be on the teaching side, no longer the student”

I decided to head towards a talk that would be completely different and hopefully give unexpected information in an area that I know little about, thus deciding to sit in on “Teaching as an option”. Teaching has never really crossed my mind before, I’ve always thought of myself as either part of a team within a studio or freelance in screen print, so the talk opened up other avenues I hoped, if all else failed or that I perhaps had a chance within teaching but hadn’t really be made aware of what it requires. And straight off Ursula asked the question of how much do we enjoy our job or profession that we hope to go into? This at first sounded rather pointless to begin with, as I wouldn’t be doing a degree in graphics if I did not enjoy it. But it was more of how much enjoyment would you gain from your job say doing it still 5 years down the road. Which I can’t answer truthfully as I don’t know, but am adamant and confident in myself that I can still draw enjoyment as long as it’s what I want and can openly say that about what I create.

Having kick started us with such a question, Ursula soon exposed us to hat it is to be a teacher, what we require, what it entails and what to expect. All of which took us by surprise, with the level of time needed in one whole year while undertaking a PGCE, the GCSE level boundaries shifting upwards to a B grade and the whole what will be expected of us upon a single interview for a role. With the likes of…

Why you want to be a teacher?

Interest in children

Communication and Interpersonal skills

Sense of humour

Energy, Determination and Perseverance

Some of which were expected, and others taking you by surprise, but firming up of how you should be kept on your guard and don’t go into an interview expecting to just breeze straight through, because it won’t happen and you’ll soon come unstuck.

The idea of heading down the teaching path surprised me at how much I actually considered, especially with it being a whole new concept, but having walked away at the end and given thought, I was still set on my path. I intend to finish with my degree, create gig posters, screen print an produce graphics, the things that generally make me happy, teaching I can’t see completing me or keeping me satisfied for however long of a career.

“Design & Illustration in illustrated publishing” with Yasia Williams-Leedham

“Just apply and email thousands of junior design jobs, wherever you live, try and it will prevail for opportunities”

I told myself that I had to go to a talk that would be completely different to all other talks that I may target within the week, thus going for an illustration and publishing lecture. I wasn’t all that sure as of what to expect, until hearing the intro to the talk by Yasia. Talking of her simple journey beginning from my own Glyndwr, and progressing to the great heights of deputy art director of the publishing group Octopus. This opening was got me hooked, it showed just what you can achieve, and if you set your sights from a small uni you really can go far, with her hitting up London and finding the success she has with the creation of such an array of splendid books ranging from the likes of “TOWIE” to an Ice cream book.

The Icecreamists

After seeing such great examples of what can be achieved through determination and imagination, it soon was made clear how incredibly hard it is to get into at the moment in time. With such a demand in cook books for example, it’s seen that with all the books on the shelf with all the same sort of cover, it’s a mission standing out. That’s where Octopus comes in, with its aim of creating that unique piece, i.e. the ginger pig featuring strong neon colours, especially bled across the pages axis. Something of which is what the cook book industry lacks, the fact of how nothing pushes back the boundaries, almost creating the perfect opportunity for someone different to step in. Half of the actual job it seemed to me is getting the target audience to pick up your book, and this is where appearing visually different gets you noticed in the likes of WHSmiths and Waterstones. The other half is remaining on topic and desired I found. With the likes of E-books stepping up their game more and more as the years come and go. With the year of 2010 showing the start of their popularity and the following year then saw a 117% increase of sales, a ridiculous percentage that now worries many within the publishing industry. The only way these companies can survive is to embrace the change, thus adopting the way books are now produced. It just goes to show how publishers are evolving with the times and allowing themselves to survive.

The Spiritual Guide to Attracting Love

What I took away from this most of all is, to look for niches and expose them, as well as move with the times. Never stay put, follow the trends and how the future is evolving in time like the shift in the publishing industry towards E-books, saving me from extinction in my design.

“How not to be a designer!” with Robert Ball

“The most unusual jobs come from the most unlikely”


Those words spoken above I believe to be of great truth, with many creative’s and designers drilling into countless times that if you want to do something awesome and out there, it comes from the sort of jobs you’d normally avoid. And this was laid down by Robert Ball, showing just how much success he has achieved from doing such jobs, i.e. the Thristlington cubicle company, which straight off sounds like the most mundane job, which was turned into a great piece of brand, in an area most of all that you wouldn’t expect to see much design come from. It just goes to show how; you can take a plain and simple brief and turn it into a award winning concept. This got me thinking again about my morals and what it is that I want to stand for, do I want to do such jobs like the tobacco, sex or alcohol industry, all of which have jobs to do but it’s whether at the time I can say no to them. It seems to me that as a designer I have a conscientious decision to make through my career and an answer cannot be formed from today, it will come along the way of doing work and what I want out of life. Which Led on from what Robert did, and he opted to shutting the computer screen, get away from the machine, that’s when idea’s can truly come, do we as a design society now rely too much on computers and technology to give us an idea or make it for us. I say yes, and try my hardest to do the minimal on my laptop; I’m all about the process of screen print, which is all about hand contact and actually experiencing something other than looking at an illuminated screen 24/7.

Moving on, Robert touched upon a issue that is normally one that lies heavy upon my mind, getting stuck on a project and having no idea where to go with it “If you get stuck, always ask someone, in order to avoid the tunnel of panic”. Simple really, and sums up how easy it can be to overcome the block, but tends to be ignored. I myself have recently stepped up and put people around me to greater us, asking opinions and being generally more open to what they have to say and what their approach to my project may be. With the need for confidence and the attitude of going with a concept until you can no longer get anything from it, truly pushing it till it can give you no more. A prospect which I have been greatly missing and lacking within my own projects as of late, and most definitely need to develop, which Robert sort of highlighted and made me aware of.

What I shall take away from today apart from all other advice was the nugget of wisdom regarding CV’s, the sticky area that I am still avoiding to this day. With the blatant and hard fact that 90% of CV’s are never read, they are discarded, it’s the work that’s wanted and is often looked at first. If I am to go down the route of writing about myself, never put in how I’m interested in film or music etc that instantly gets turned down “The best hobby I ever heard was, Forklift Driving, so I gave the guy an interview, its different”. Don’t try and fit into what you think the employer wants to hear, and again that went for portfolios with the advice of the best piece of work to be positioned at the front, back and perhaps in the very centre, the not so good work just use to fill the middle, “almost a double sandwich portfolio”. An approach that I already kind of go for in my portfolio, it just needs bulking out with more of me and what I do differently to every other competitor.

“Painting over the cracks” with Professor Paul Haywood

We are very proud of the UK’s media industry, it is a powerful symbol of an open and free society, as well as important part of the economy”, Government policy

Welcomed to “Painting over the cracks” by the ever so enthusiastic and passionate Professor Paul Haywood, you instantly saw how much creativity means to one person after seeing him give his talk and all that he stands for. From the start we are simply told the hard facts, “This week is all about you and furthering yourself” so for once in your lives it’s okay to be self centred, it will never come around again, thus I made great use of what was laid before me. Haywood grew up with a love of art, whether it was painting or design, it’s all that he ever wanted, but after a while he soon came to realise that he wanted to ensure that others shared the same insight and with all his power he has brought about many investments for a more brighter and creative future with change, that will hopefully be a lasting legacy. Isn’t that what we’re all after at the end of the day, we want to be remembered for what we do, I myself would enjoy most of all hearing my name 10years from now being mentioned whether its within graphics or screen print. Seeing Haywood getting involved within numerous schemes that will influence many with what he does, taking the “show metal” and “guns to goods” campaigns, and finally removing guns in a clean up of the streets of Moss side. An area renowned for its gun and gang crime, things like this preserve a society, go down in history and eventually gets put back into the community somehow or other, whether it’s a safer street or a mural created from the recycled metal.

As he taught, we all have a cultural engagement, except we decide to ignore it, with the need to consult all the ethnicities within a community. Ranging from the classes, race or social status, we tend to ignore those that need it most, and they’re the people who normally have the most to offer in return for cooperation. This in turn got me thinking and actually looking upon what my morals as a designer are, a light has almost been shone upon the obvious, highlighting clearly that I don’t make such an engagement that he speaks of. So what I shall take away from this for a brighter future is, to apply what I know and do to my community, put something back into the society whence I came from and pool the resources that they have to offer. I can’t say what medium, action or what I intend to do, but as a designer I shall have to bring everyone together. Thus “Use what’s already there, and put it into something new”.

Still early in the creative week before me, and I am already questioning what it is that I want to stand for and what I can offer in the great scheme of things.





Opening Ceremony

“It’s time to reach out from your field and grab what you do so desire” Dr Stuart Cunningham

So once again it has come around to that time of the student calendar for us all to note, learn and take action of our futures. With Dr Stuart Cunningham kick-starting the festival of creative futures with his wrestling themed entrance showcasing what the university has to offer through media, filming and all the technology that is around to enable such acts, as well as carry a light yet funny tone with such an entrance.

The opening ceremony is to clearly welcome us to the chance of getting our careers off the ground and making use of what’s on offer while we still have the resources. With it being my final year many of the guests and information earnt will prove to come hard to find and receive. Having been to the previous year’s opening ceremonies and them all being similar, this one meant much more with graduation looming ever closer, with what I was being told finally sinking in. What struck me most was all the facts and figures circulating, with over 13% of creative media employees having vacancies for creative’s and being told how design is flourishing within the welsh nation, with such a high and desired demand for creative’s. Giving hope to me the humble designer of what it is that I shall do once the end is actually upon me and that I have options.

After taking all stats, figures and references on board I feel like I am finally one step closer to achieving what I want and ready to listen to everything thrown at me this year with the great range of knowledge and advice circulating from the people having been in similar positions as I am. I even have an idea of what talks I want to see as well, with a blend of inspiration, business and advice from the likes of Robert Ball, Dave Gray and Sian Saunders.

Shepard Fairey speech

Just a quick flash of a post from trawling the interwebs. I came across this video of Fairey, most definitely a must watch for anyone seeking inspiration/influence, or just has a general admiration for the man and what he’s done. So go on, have yourself a gander, I found it to be a great watch, even if you’re not all that into Fairey, unless you’re a pointless hater!