“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.