Phoebe Man, BA Graphic Branding and Identity
DPS so far: I have done work from assisting a freelancer to setting up exhibitions to now being part of a design team for this years Wieden + Kennedy window and branding DPS’ pop up shop in Elephant and Castle.
The past few weeks have definitely been the busiest of DPS. Before joining the two current projects, I was getting worried that I hadn't secured an internship. By this time, I had always imagined that I would be in a full-time placement, working with new creatives alike in Central London. A slow start but building speed - it has still been very beneficial and I have enjoyed every moment so far, gaining experience from new ways of working (even if it is with people I already know).
Deadlines are coming very soon for W+K and LCC so work is getting more hectic but I feel like I am being productive. With regular meetings, there is a real emphasis on how important communication is. Shared Google Slides and Docs have been my best friend, with an honourable mention of Whatsapp’s group chats and calls and it is confirmed how clunky Outlook is. Feedback, in my opinion, is the most important way to spark and develop ideas. It can be extremely limiting to work alone and see your own outcomes from only one perspective.
For Wieden and Kennedy, we have been getting regular feedback from meetings we have weekly. More recently adding the element of sweets supplied by Hoxton Street Monsters. It has changed the direction of the original idea but kept the essence of curiosity. Working with new clients for a confirmed pitch has meant narrative of the idea has changed so I feel like the idea generation has limited the attention of the audience. On one hand, it lives in a fantasy land and those that connect by imagination it adds to the experience (therefore generally a younger market) but it can also not be in the interest of others and will take away from W+K and Christmas itself. The window is about Wieden + Kennedy celebrating 20 years of being an independent agency and so it is very important to make it simple and interact with as many people as possible that walks past. Since then we have decided not to work with Hoxton Street Monsters and make the idea as easy to understand as possible whilst keeping the idea strong and engaging.
Good Gifts - LCC’s pop up shop has come around so quickly, in two weeks we have gone from start to end. Thrown in the deep end, Laura and I have done the branding for it and have also applied it to the space itself. We decided to print it using the risograph, using fluo orange, to capture peoples attention passing everything to do with Good Gifts - from the shop itself in Elephant and Castle shopping centre to the posters/flyers placed around uni. I’ve learnt how to time manage much better - working to shorter deadlines I set myself and write a to do list that shows everything in my head.
I am continuously applying to studios and brands looking for designers and hopefully, next year will offer many more amazing opportunities. I am currently in the middle of organising a freelance job after being recommended and hopefully, that will start in the new year.
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by Hunter Zhu
Graphic and media design
This project was for the branding of the new Le Joy hotel which is part of the chain of Joy City Property Ltd., a subsidiary of COFCO Group. The positioning strategy of this brand revolves around entry-level luxury, with an intended audience between 27 to 40 years old of any gender.
The first stage of our brand development proposed two directions for the hotel’s concept. The first was “clock” in which the idea was to help guests enjoy every second of their stay. The “clock” concept would utilize the circular shape a clock as a key visual element and graphic pattern. The second was “door” which would highlight a rotated trapezoid shape to symbolize an inviting opened door to a new world.
The client decided to pursue the “clock” concept. My belief is that the circular shape could easily be translated into graphics for any application, layout, and pattern. The design can also be implemented to contain information.
Meanwhile, the color scheme would incorporate a combination of blue, green, and gray. These hues promote a sense of calmness and tranquility, while remaining attractive to youths. While Le Joy would mainly target middle-aged customers, we wanted the brand strategy to be sufficiently serious and sophisticated but also fun-loving and young-at-heart.
At times, when I felt exhausted with the workload, I’d ask myself, “What is this all about? What is the point?” This project helped me refocus by showing me the meaning behind my efforts. I imagined myself visiting the hotel in the future and seeing how my designs are applied in the real world. That prospect gave me perspective and feelings of deep satisfaction, knowing that my job is to ultimately bring joy by enhancing the lives and experiences of real people.
Five things I’ve learnt while not on placements (and one thing I learnt while doing work experience)
DPS started and my structure was gone. I didn’t have to be in uni, I didn’t have tutors giving me briefs with non-negotiable deadlines. It was on me and honestly I struggled. Now this isn’t to say I’m not motivated or can’t organise my time, I can. I’ve never handed in a project or essay late, never missed an exam, but I realise now that those had direct and tangible consequences. If I didn’t hand in a project on time my grade would be capped, but if I send that application in tomorrow instead of today, would it really make a difference? They’re probably not going to reply to me anyway…
After some time wallowing in self pity I decided (well my flatmate told me) that I needed to actually utilise my time between placements. So here are five things which I’ve started doing to help keep me motivated and feeling accomplished, while stuck in cold wet London.
Plan tomorrow and plan five years from now. Have a to-do list of things you want to achieve, this may vary from the small, of putting on a load of washing, to the big of of dream job. Whatever it is write it down. If it’s too big a task break it down into manageable steps. It’s much easier to do something when you know what it is you need to do.
2. Find someone to be accountable to.
Once you’ve written this list tell it someone, whether they be your mother, childhood best friend, or flatmate (or in my case all three). I hate disappointing people and just the act of telling someone what I plan to do makes me far more likely to do. I don’t want to have to tell them I wasted my day watching old episodes of Doctor Who.
3. Keep a schedule.
I try to work (or at least do something which is relevant to my vocation) between the hours of 10am and 6pm. I chose these times because they are the standard for work in the design industry and because I get to avoid rush hour if I am going somewhere.
4. Get out of the house.
There are a lot of hours in the day when you don’t have a job and it becomes all too easy to spend these hours moping around the house. I’ll tell myself that I’ll ‘work from home’, that I’ll be productive while still in my pyjamas. I won’t. I’ll be much happier by the end of the day if I’ve actually seen some people and breathed some fresh air, however hard it is to get out of bed when I can only see grey out the window.
5. Find a work environment which works for you.
As previously mentioned I find it incredibly hard to work at home. Instead I’ve started frequenting local coffee shops and going into uni. In my head these spaces are where ‘people work’ and so it is much easier for me to actually start ticking thing off my list and not get distracted by wanting to reorganise my paper collection.
+1. Achieving a major goal feels fucking good.
I recently got some work experience in the art department of an ITV show, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Just having an ITV pass to get into the offices made me smile. While it may seem like you’re just sending emails off into the void, something will work out eventually and when it does it’ll make all those hours of drafting emails and rearranging your portfolio worth it.
By Elloise Rosemond
Almost every company I have contacted have not sent any response back. It is starting to feel like an impenetrable wall. I thought I would be in a placement by now, I had already organised a position in a magazine that was to start at the end of September, but after chasing and chasing I have still not heard anything concrete back. So, I have started to look closer to home, or at least to contacts with actual faces, reaching out to people I have already established relationships with. This has definitely moved the process along quicker, regardless whether it ends with a yes or a no.
Through getting in contact with a mate of mine, I was able to attain my first meeting - at a music development company. Unfortunately, no position was offered but they were kind enough to give me some advice on recruitment platforms I should look into – including creative-commission.com - and sent out my information to music artist that might be interested in working with me. They gave me an opportunity to talk about my work for the first time and explain what it is that I am seeking to do in the industry. It was a daunting experience, but I am glad I could get the first one over with and use it to help build my confidence in presenting my work to companies in future interviews.
Up until the end of October I had just been working on my own projects (both visual and musical) and waiting on responses. After meeting up with a friend and discussing my experience so far, they advices me to not wait on responses before applying to more places. I had been waiting on confirmation from a company on dates and this had frozen me in place. I am now making an effort to keep rigorously sending out applications, regardless of unconfirmed plans. However, after speaking to another personal contact I was able to get my first Freelance job, redesigning a website for a Football products company. Although this job is not something I would ordinarily be drawn to, as I have not done web design before, nor do I have any particular interest in football, at the end of the day it is still creative, it is still an experience AND it is a paid job!
So, this is my experience and where I am at right now. I’m trying to keep on top of everything and stay productive and proactive in my projects and my application process. Hopefully there is a little more success to look forward to in next few months, as I try to break through this wall into the professional creative industry.
Janvi Parekh. Graphic and Media Design
Hello to whoever is reading this; let me just start by summarising where I am and what I am doing.
I am in Berlin; working for a company called DieckertSchmidt as an Art Direction Intern from September to Decemeber. I intern for Julian Schnaars, the Art Director and Kurt Dieckert and Stefan Schmidt (The two bosses). I record my experiences weekly on a personal blog and below I have added a section of that blog. I hope you enjoy reading about one of my greatest weeks so far, and I wish you are well and happy.
DAY 36 (12/11/18) (Week 9)
Julian, the Art Director I work for, is out of office today so I literally don't have much to do. So I am taking this time to tell you about my Saturday which was spent at the WARNER BROS STUDIOS!
I literally have no idea where to begin, I did not know what to expect because it was the first time I was attending a professional shoot. The shoot was for the theatrical poster that we will be designing, for a movie called TKKG. A German take on the book called Five Friends by Enid Blyton.
I walked into Spree Graphen Studios (Spree is the name of the river in Berlin), and entered into the Warner Bros Studio which was Studio Number Two. Straightaway there was a makeup room right at the entrance, which connected to the 2 studios, both different sizes. I saw that there were these child actors getting ready for their shoot, but I didn't quite register that they were the ACTUAL actors who were in the movie up until they started running for the camera.
When I entered the studio, I was completely blown away by the amount of talent and professionalism in the room. There were actors, producers, a director, photographers, and make up artists and technicians - all walking about systematically trying to make the shoot go smoothly. Oh, and there was also A DOG!!!!
And then there were Julian and I sitting in the corner of the room on a bench observing everything, with Julian getting up either to get food or go consult with the photographer on what sort of images he wanted. There was so much going on that I did not know where to stare - even the little things - such as a make up artist trimming a child actors hair because it wasn't behaving properly for the photos, to brushing the Dogs body hair 127 times (I counted because I loved the dog and wanted to observe everything happening to it) - it was all so professional. I was really and truly overwhelmed. Photos have been added above I think.
The shots were perfect and I am guessing once Julian comes back tomorrow we will get to working on the poster. I enjoy walking and since the studio was an hour and a half away from where I live, I decided to walk it because there were many interesting touristic sites on the way back. My Saturday was hectic but I was so grateful to experience such a professional an legit photoshoot. Sunday I chilled because I was tired from partying.
DAY 40 (12/11/18) (End of Week 9)
After Julian came back on the Tuesday, I thought we would start working on the poster - however, there was a lot for me to do for The Green Party with Kurt, and Juilian was busy on Engel and Volkers (a real estate agency). So I switched back and forth between selecting images and starting to compose the poster for TKKG and creating layouts for the Green party with Kurt. It was great working with Kurt because he told me I did a good job this week - my first compliment given by the boss.
So I was in a pretty good mood throughout Friday and towards the end - Since the two bosses were out of office, Julian Max and I started to play football in the corridor with an old ball we found in the store room. Actually, it was more like trying to smack each other in the face with the ball than trying to score a goal - I think this goes with one of my favourite moments.
Additionally, on Thursday I was approached by the Warwick Congress (Warwick University) to design and edit a promotional video for an event they were holding on 28/11. I honestly surprised myself by saying yes to it, if they had approached me two months ago - I would have said no because I had baby skills in Adobe AfterEffects. Right now, I did not have the relevant skills too but I was willing to learn them, if I don't learn now then when will I?
And that is why with the help of Julian (He taught me the basics on Friday evening after work and the rest I youtubed) I spent all of Saturday making this video.
And much to my surprise: They LOVED it. They said so many kind words to me that I almost started crying on the phone - my design has never been appreciated and because it hasn't I always have doubted myself as a designer - but this week, working with Kurt and doing this job for Warwick University - the faith in myself as a designer had been restored - I became much more confident and I would only like to thank this experience.
I will update this blog with a link to the video once it has been published.
In terms of pay, I told them I would charge them 10 pounds an hour (An amount which was "too less" according to Julian and "they are ripping you off") But I was in no place to ask for more because I did not think I was worth more.
But what I didn't expect was that they would be keen on paying me for only five hours as compared to the twelve that I had put in - I was quite irritated with this because the reason the video took so long to make was because they kept wanting to change words around. I wanted to shout at them and tell them that they owe 120; but then I took a step back and analysed before saying anything - first of all, they trusted me enough to allow me to make this video, secondly, I learned an entire Adobe app over night, thirdly they were my first ever professional and legit client, fourthly, I was in no place to have so much arrogance about pay because I had not been that experienced and lastly, this was a student run organisation so I understood the budget was tight to begin with.
So what did I do? I mentioned the hours I worked for only once, and left it at that. Which I think was a mature action. This resulted in them saving my contact details for similar future projects - what more could I have asked for? And plus, at least I didn't spend my saturday just sitting around and not doing anything.
SUNDAY WAS BRILLIANT. I FINALLY WENT FOR A MOVIE I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR SINCE 2013. I am not sorry for how mainstream it sounds but I was finally able to watch Mercury on the big screen. AMAZING, MESMERISING, TEAR-JERKING - the only movie I would ever record and put up on Snapchat and Instagram. I went with a friend and I ate pizza after the movie and it was literally the best thing.
In a nutshell: an amazing week which I am so grateful for.
I hope everyone is well, happy and doing what they want to do :)
As my second week at Vanity Fair & Tatler I could not agree more that I am reliving Devil wears Prada and fortunately I am not Andrea Sachs on her first day in the magazine. Not more in shock than you guys are, besides of the numerous similarities to the movie, Vanity Fair is actually amazing if you want to boost your editorial skills in a whole other level. Not only I can learn more and more about the editorial world and what it takes to build a magazine but also experiencing photoshoots, events is amazing to build my contacts network. I am enjoying this experience a lot, more than I thought I would to be honest. I guess Devil wears Prada is not that bad if you know a bit about fashion.
From August to September I worked as a trainee at Bold Tendencies for 6 weeks. I applied for this position back in April this year, and it just so happened that as I sent a follow-up email about it, someone had dropped out, so I got a place! The Bold Tendencies site is very unique; situated on the top four floors of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, the views are very beautiful.
Having started the traineeship in August, it was much cooler outside and especially windy on the roof, I almost got blown away! After climbing what feels like 100 flights of stairs to get to the top of the car park, you would reach the pink lobby, featuring an installation piece by Arjuna Neuman. This was one of the areas to be invigilated by the trainees, as well as the kiosk on the roof (where we were based) just past the pink lobby. The rooftop needed to be swept every day before opening and cleared of any cups from Frank’s Café, along with the artworks needing to be cleaned, for example mirrors and installations dusted. On the lower level was another area with installations to be invigilated and to give information to visitors, as trainees we had to know all the information about every commission.
Overall, this experience helped me to become more confident with talking to visitors and understanding partly how an arts organisation works. Having not visited Peckham before, I got to know the area as extremely rich in culture and not taken over by a thousand Prets and Starbucks', which was refreshing to say the least. However, being in the third group of trainees this summer, which was mainly made up of White Europeans (including myself), and only one male with the rest female. It felt not representative of the local area Bold Tendencies is situated in, nor the different types of people who are interested in the arts. I'm not sure why this is, there could be many reasons - possibly based on the selection process or the types of people who feel they can apply or a bit of both. It is clear though that there is lots of work to be done in the art world to make it more representative.
Assignments were also a part of the traineeship, for example coming up with mood boards for next year’s theme, reading the book ‘The Order of Time’ as it was part of their closing event fitting with the theme for this year: Ecology. My most favourite part of the tasks to prep the site for visitors was tidying the Derek Jarman Garden on site, I think because it was so peaceful. As my final assignment at the end of the traineeship, I decided to do an illustration of the garden using my graphics tablet: re-creating a living thing by a digital means, keeping within the theme of ecology.
As it stands, I am still searching for internships two months later! I have my part-time job as a tutor at Explore Learning, so in the meantime I am creating lots of artwork in addition to applying for things every day.
Marta Urbez GMD
Did we make the right choice when we decided to turn our passion into our source of income? At times it feels like choosing to make design our career rather than treasuring it as our side hustle, turned what we used to have as our escape into something we want to escape from.
After six months of nine to five (six, seven, eight...) design, I've had my ups and downs in terms of my relationship with design and myself as a designer. Often, doing work that did not fulfil me became my strongest motivator to pursue those projects I knew would, but many other times it has made me question my value and integrity as a designer, and by extension as a person.
As much as I understand I should not put my whole value as a person on my work it has proven to be quite hard to make that separation, as when I chose to take my "hobby" and made it my career too, it took over all aspects of my life. Where there used to be maths, physics, literature or philosophy... there was just design.
And when I was able to have full control over my projects, design involved and meant all of those - so I never questioned the decision I had taken to make design my devotion. But when design turned into an obligation and a responsibility, I failed in seeing it as my escape, and in turn became a frustration. So in a way, an aspect of this year for me will not be about design at all, but about everything else I can do and enjoy, that will help me re-learn how to make the time I spend designing professionally, exciting and appealing again.
Writing about this reminded me about a question my friend Bior proposed to me a while back: How is the work of a designer or artist affected/influenced by the context of their life?
An innate artist finds themselves cornered into using their medium as the main channelling of their context. Their identity, ideas, and struggles - past, present, and future. How I see it, that is the essence of any creative pursuit - materializing the abstract. Visualizing it, turning it into music, dance, poetry etc. The context an artist finds themselves in is therefore always the main driving force of any piece of creative work - whether that is on purpose or organically.
In occasions where this is not the case, it becomes obvious that the artist/designer has solely relied on the aesthetic value of their piece, and whether that is also okay, it turns it into something one dimensional. I can only assume, and myself have experienced this as the kind of work that will burn* you out; work abstracted from any theoretical or conceptual context, however vague it may be.
*There is a differentiation between the burning out that entails losing any creative purpose and becoming mechanical; and the burning out that comes out of constant questioning and evaluation of the meaning and worth of one's work. In the first case, we have fallen victims (and is very much where I find myself after 6 weeks of internships). The second case indicates growth and the desire for something better.
It is golden for any creative person to be aware of our context, our background, likings... how our identity affects our place within the industry and how that impacts what we put out into the world. If we know this then our responsibility is guarding our stance, and working hard to make that position valuable. While we do this, the context that surrounds us should always be the arch covering and connecting it all, what makes us and our work shift.
Another aspect of this is how non-creative aspects of our life affect the quality of our work. In the past, I have found myself doing great work when spending 30 hours a week doing a monotonous retail job. The disconnection from anything creative acted as a way to recharge it, so when putting in the time to work on Design, not only I found myself making better, more interesting work, but also doing it in a shorter time span.
Anyways, to summarise my ramblings - we shouldn't put our whole value into the work we do, or at least maybe not until we find exactly what it is we want to do.
I began my first placement of my DPS year in September at Planning Unit in London’s Dalston. In my time here I have worked on a variety of different projects, from designing the title sequence for a series of short films, through to designing an icon suite for a tech startup. I have thoroughly enjoyed working in the studio environment, and have been fortunate enough to work directly with the Partners’ of the studio who have given me insight into the intricacies of managing and producing quality design.
The studio constantly works on a plethora of different projects, some which come and go on a day-to-day basis, and others that the studio have been working on for years. This has meant that everyday has been different, with new challenges and constant briefs; from contributing to a successful tender in which my research and mood boards contributed to the final presentation to working on Planning Unit’s new Tumblr site which will launch in the coming months. Most importantly, I have learned the importance of constant reflection on my design and seeking other opinions throughout the design process.
I have been fortunate enough to be treated as a member of the Planning Unit team. This has extended to attending events at the DNAD with future events planned with the team at the likes of the V&A and Fedrigoni in the upcoming weeks. As my internship draws to a close in December I am looking forward to my future placements, and hope that they are as enjoyable an experience as I’ve had at Planning Unit (not to mention Seamus the Planning Unit Dog) who has provided the warm enthusiasm that only a fluffy dog can.
by Brendan Browne-Adams
I spent my summer refining my portfolio and resume because I knew that I wanted to make sure that I landed an internship before the end of summer and this led to me applying for various internships. After sending numerous emails out I had an interview for Particle 6 Productions, which is a video production company who were at the time looking to work on branding projects for one of their clients.
This internship was completely different from what I expected. I was hired as an intern but given the title of junior Graphic Designer working under the creative director. Adjusting to the pace of working on a lot of projects has been interesting and I have found it hard at times especially because I am so used to the working schedule of University working and being given a term to work on a project compared to working as a designer I often am given a day to produce content.
I have learnt whilst working as the in-house Graphic Designer is that I usually don’t have much creative control over the work that I have been producing. I do notice a couple of creative differences between me and the creative director which is understandable but means that I am producing work that is what the creative director likes rather than what I like.
Because I have been hired as a Graphic Designer rather than an intern, I do feel the pressure of being expected to know how to do a lot, even though this is my first creative professional job. There are various things that I don’t know I want to learn but because I’m the in-house Graphic Designer the only person above me is the creative director and she does not have a background in Graphic Design.
I do notice a difference between working on university projects and real briefs for clients. I do miss the creative freedom and time frame with university projects. Working on real briefs have meant that the final say comes from the creative director and then the client. And in terms of timeframe, I am given a much shorter time to work on a project which is something that I struggled on in the beginning.
I am very proud of my first project that I worked on for tech start-up Crypto Quantique. They had an exhibition in the IOT solutions congress in Barcelona and the project allowed me to fly to Barcelona to oversee my branding that I created for the client. It was a surreal experience being able to see my designs printed in large and next to other tech brands such as Microsoft & Google.