A new mindset
Graphic & Media Design
A few months ago, I had a video interview for an internship at LOCAL, a graphic design studio in Mumbai. It was my first time showcasing and discussing my portfolio in depth outside of university. I found it much harder than I thought it would be to talk about my work and, upon reflection, I realised that this is because I am conscious of having many interests and a wide range of skills, but no particular area of specialism. This left me worrying that my portfolio lacked coherence and I had the potential to be viewed as “a jack of all trades, master of none”.
My ever-growing list of interests meant that during the Summer, I found myself continually re-designing my portfolio and changing the way that I present myself as a designer. I couldn’t see how it was possible to describe my work in one, succinct sentence. The constant editing reached peak ridiculousness when I had eight different versions of my portfolio on the go at once. I started to lose track of which version of my portfolio was meant to be sent to who, and which version of myself I was performing in each one.
In August, I applied for the Samsung live brief: to design an interactive mural with a loose theme of technology for the new Samsung KX experience store in Coal Drops Yard. I wanted to link my design to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing as space travel has always been symbolic of technological advances and the future. I developed a concept for a playground in space, which I thought would fit nicely into the playful store environment. Excitingly, I was chosen for the first mural commission!
I had to overcome a few technicalities, respond to client feedback and then produce the work to a short deadline. When I saw it printed and installed on the wall inside the Samsung KX store, I felt a nice moment of achievement. The style of digital illustration doesn’t fit with anything else I’ve done prior, but it felt right for this project and it gave me the opportunity to expand my illustrative skill set. I’m beginning to see how being multi-disciplinary is actually an asset; it means that I’m flexible, willing to try new things and can adapt to the situation at hand. Whilst there will always be a place for specialists within a field, there’s definitely a growing demand in today’s digital landscape for designers who can work across a variety of disciplines to collaborate on global challenges.
After this experience, I changed my mindset from a position of vulnerability to one of strength. I cut down from eight portfolios to one and, despite any initial self-doubt, I got the internship at LOCAL in Mumbai. It’s for two months from November to December. I’m going to take the opportunity to travel in India a bit before and after the internship, which will give me the chance to work on a self-initiated project. Neither the Samsung project or going to India were aspirations that I had outlined in my proposal, but I’m embracing these new opportunities and staying true to my multi-disciplinary nature.
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