By Ethan Muscat
Graphic & Media Design
*post originally uploaded 07/05/2020 on wrong blog*
2020 was the year I originally thought I had mapped out perfectly, set up for me to stride along the rest of my internship and into my final year of university ready to graduate next year, 2020 had other plans for myself and the rest of the world. The global pandemic has changed the way we view are entire outlook of life, we can no longer see close friends or family outside the household, we are unable to go into a work environment or to go travelling around multiple cities in hopes of gaining that thirst of inspiration that usually is all around us, we are now confined to our electronic devices and the four walls that protect us from contracting the disease, COVID-19. For many of us this will put a dent in our plans we were starting to put together in preparation for our return to university, now we just have to hope that things get better before they get much worse.
Being a graphic designer, I am lucky enough to be in a field of work where most of it is digital so since the lockdown happened I have been able to carry on working as normal from the comfort of my bedroom - during the first few weeks of doing this, I definitely was lacking motivation in all aspects, I’m constantly surrounded by the things that I love and interested in, so I felt the distractions were constantly there distracting me from getting work done quickly and efficiently. As the weeks past though I did find myself forcing myself to get used to my new setting as it was pretty obvious that things weren’t looking up any time soon, and if anything, things were getting worse.
I managed to be able to fit the working from home aspect into my daily routine, getting on with it because I knew this was going to be the new normal for the next few months at the very least, luckily in the age of the digital we have tools that make it seamless to work from different parts of the world and communicate with your team members quickly and efficiently. Applications such as Teams allow us to quickly send messages in an instant messenger format, share our screens with each other or hold group video calls so we can all be kept in the loop on what is happening with the business – this also allows us to check in on each other and make sure we are all keeping sane and safe during this time.
My boss is currently on maternity leave and while she isn’t doing much work, she likes to have final say on designs before they get sent out to our customers to make sure we are keeping in line with brand guidelines and it’s suitable for everybody – while recently giving birth, she can’t be at our beck and call instantly as we are used too, so we can use applications such as WhatsApp to send the designs over to her and get an approval when she has the chance between changing diapers and feeding her new born!
Before the pandemic and the strict lockdown rules we are currently facing, my manager and I had been setting out marketing plans based around the launch of our latest 2020 Golf & Lifestyle collection of shoes, we’d initially planned multiple photoshoots that we had starting pulling concepts and mood boards together for that included taking over a vibrant mini-golf course in Battersea, the perfect location filled with vibrant neon lights and bright colours that matched our “Strider” collections, we also planned to shoot the rest of our collection on a golf course in Italy, in which we would’ve had free accommodation, total access to all golf courses and of course, a sunny all expenses paid trip to the Mediterranean island.
Of course, we haven’t been able to do any of these plans so we needed to get creative with the resources we had. My living space currently isn’t suitable or big enough to house a mini photography studio so my manager has taken the kit to her house and has been able to create unique shots of the shoes utilising the space around her home and using her flat mates as models for the quick mini shoots – we needed to get extra creative with our thinking in ways to promote the collection, using Teams, we can communicate back and forth on different ideas we have. My manager ended up purchasing sand to match the beach theme aesthetics of one style we have launching and using her coffee table as a space to create some shots highlighting the waterproof aspects of the shoes. Once she had taken the photos, she’d upload them to the drop box available for me to retouch and optimise for use in our marketing strategy. Using this photography I was able to create motion graphics, social media assets and graphics suitable for our website.
Looking forward into the future, there is a lot of uncertainty on what will happen in the industry and the ways that we work, working from home has definitely eliminated the need to go into the office to work – this aspect was something that before going into my placement year, I thought would be necessary for me as I like that structure and felt being in that environment working closely with creative minds would be an essential way of communication and passing around ideas, but working from home has allowed me to communicate just as efficiently as when we were in the office. I believe that the way we are heading, the use for office spaces and working in teams will soon be a thing of the past, I hope this is not the case as although yes, working from home is easy and costs less, working in a team and being able to fluently communicate ideas with each other in a dedicated space allows for more unique and experimental concepts to flourish.