Trying out something new...
Graphic and Media Design
For the past couple of months I have been doing freelance work for a startup company in Ireland. It’s a small organization that is looking to tackle a specific issue regarding hygiene and oral care. There is not a lot that I can disclose about the project due to the nature of the company not have gone public with it yet, but it has been a very interesting experience so far.
This job presented itself to me at a time when I really needed something to help me find my way again. Around the summer months I was going through a lot of personal struggles, which pushed back a lot of the planning I had in mind for my year off on DPS. A couple of months before leaving for summer break I had heard about this project through friends and had offered my help if they ever needed it. And a couple months later in all the darkness there came a light in the tunnel in an opportunity that not only gave me a new and very much appreciated experience, but the very needed time for healing and finding my passion in my work and self again.
They took me on board to work on the product design aspect of their mission. I was given a general idea of what they wanted before hitting the drawing board.
To begin I have to say I have been very lucky. The people I have had the pleasure to work for are very understanding, and transparent with me. What’s very different about working with a startup such as this is that you get to interact with the “big boss” as they say in movies. The people with the vision, and the drive. It allows you to create a relationship with your employers that I have only heard about, but never seen. I have talked to these people, seen them, exchanged emails. Its truly a special opportunity, I don’t think I can even express it correctly. And its truly an honor, because its such a unique experience, especially for me as a designer having an open playing field, being part of something entirely new, and partaking in the building of this company is a big responsibility, but so much fun.
Working freelance came with a whole new set of challenges. To begin with I was undertaking a product design project. I have a history in product design, due to taking Design technology in High school, but after two years of only doing graphic design I appeared to be a little rusty. I had to give myself sometime to familiarize myself with the process. It was a fun and exciting new challenge with many areas for self-improvement, but at the same time really challenged my self-control and time management. I no longer had a traditional schedule to keep me consistent. It was now my responsibility to keep track of my contributions to the project, but also myself. I had to make sure that I was staying on top of my work, while taking care of my personal health. I had to be a boss, a parent, a tutor, a hazard, a mess, a tornado. I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. The days I felt motivated, and the days I felt like everything I was creating was a total disaster. But that was the fun in it, seeing the disasters turn into good learning experiences, and finally outcomes.
I have had the opportunity to expand my skillset as well through this freelance opportunity. I had to produce prototypes for the clients, and in order to do that I had to seek out the help of 3D printers. A form of technology I had never used before. Started by completing the induction at UAL, and booking my first session on the 3D printer. From there I was off producing prototypes. However, like the rest of my journey so far there were good and bad days with printing. Some days I would get a complete print, while others the print would fail. And other days the print would fail for a number of days, which often set me back since I couldn’t report back on time to my clients.
But as I mentioned, I have been lucky, my clients accepted the failures with me and waited for the successful prints. And when we had successful prints we all got so excited as this project was coming closer to becoming real. And with the failures also came good things.
As I spent more time in the workshop I started to become more comfortable and more knowledgeable with the 3D printers and the staff. They taught me how to change the material, and what warnings I should look out for, and any questions I had they would help me out. I’m very happy I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the staff and play around with this new technology.
As of right now I have sent my clients my first prototypes, and they have been approved so my new task is to work on the logo of the product. So I guess I have got my work cut out for me.
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