I'm Lilla, and I'm enrolled in the Graphic and Media Design course at LCC. During my DPS year, I had a 5-month internship with a sustainable British menswear clothing company called Sirplus where I had experience in Branding, fashion photography, and illustration. I'm in the middle of securing my second internship, in the meantime, I worked on two separate creative briefs about sustainable green future with Selfridges, Project Earth, and Team London Bridge for an Augmented Reality project for Earth Day.
I will be writing about the important impacts on my professional and creative developments this year.
What is a graphic designer in the future? Is this role secure or is it going to shift with the media we use in the future?
The digital world of design lets us see other designers around the world to get inspired and learn but giving the pandemic this shifted to comparing oneself to others. Stepping into the creative industry feels far away from art students, and the university is supposed to be the time to find our style and ambitions.
This placement year made me see how other designers fixate on the thought of creating something new that can be called their own. The impostor syndrome "(IS) refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be." That we have to create something new over and over again. I read a few articles and books about the future of the creative industry. During the professional practice tutorials, we talked about the decolonisation of design that we learned a way to think, and now we have to learn to question it. The importance of a trend in design, or the rule that we learned from Swiss design, which typeface is in season at this moment. All these thoughts that we question daily and follow, but who exactly sets these rules? One of my fellow students mentioned that they grew up in Switzerland surrounded by great design. In comparison, I grew up in Hungary surrounded by "ugly design" which was the word I was thought. That eastern European graphic design is grey and not great like Swiss design.
Sustainable design learning is not really about sustainability but the way we learn things to develop our designs. Sustainable learning is about our design thinking that what New is not New. For example, copying an idea is not sustainable design thinking. Developing a new idea through inspiration from surroundings is creative even if the base of a project is inspired by something or someone else. Design is built on similar ideas, so creating a new idea is almost impossible. I started to read femme-type.com articles about female designers, and their creative thinking opened up my creative flow as well.
During the tutorial, we talked about understanding identity, power, and equity in design leadership. Last month my social media feed was fully posted with magazines/articles that talked about women in the power of their future that inclusive politics are changing the industry, and that powerful women can become influential. Creative posts that can inspire me without words. The last couple of weeks I felt pushed down but empowered by all these happenings.
Design Activism has become a powerful new tool of communication. There's this interesting Kickstarter crowdfunded book called notamuse- It's about new perspectives on women graphic designers with interviews of people in the industry to investigate this imbalance in Europe. In the creative field, there is a big lack of female role models. this book shares the work of 54 new female graphic designers.
Last two years I found my idealistic design team and the idea of women in power created by Jessica Walsh with the studio "& Walsh". A studio run by mostly women joins the 1% of creative agencies founded by women. She also created a global non-profit initiative called Ladies*, Wine** & Design. "Only .1% of creative agencies are founded by women & non-binary people, and the numbers are even smaller for women/non-binary BIPOC. Our mission is to see more diversity in the creative industry, especially within leadership roles." (Walsh,2015) I'm manifesting a future where I could visit this studio in New York because they gave me a reason to work for in the future. Even if women are a small percentage in the industry I'm angry but proud to be a woman, and I plan to work towards a change and not talking about women only.
The internship with Sirplus widened my view on environmental changes and sustainable fashion. Responsible design means more than being aware, but acting towards a goal to ensure the least impact possible on the planet. I think about everything I do now as a creative and a person. The 5 months helped me strengthen my communicational skills about expressing ideas and communicating visually in a professional environment.
1. making things happen: Reaching out to studios and designers is a less stressful act after all these months not like when I started this year.
2. Showcasing Abilities: Developing storytelling skills with illustration and Skillshare is a great tool for illustrational skills that I pushed aside for a while and now started a poster illustration series called “Plants are friends”.
3. Navigating change: The research process is important to acknowledge, explore and target the positive impact of design.
This year did not live up to my expectations of experiencing work in a creative studio with a design team where people could get to know my work and me in a professional environment but I’m confident now in the future of my practice, my place and to work towards my goal after graduation to work in the industry. How to sustain a new but not new viewpoint? I'll talk to my future self in this situation. Designers should work towards their goal and interest and stop questioning their worth as creatives. Every idea has a future even if it's shifted by modern tools in the future.
GMD - Graphic and Media design
GMD - Graphic and Media design
Its officially been 1 year since the start of the pandemic which has affected every part of our lives; socially, economically, technologically and even creatively for some of us on DPS. It’s daunting how time has passed since then when things were “normal”, especially when I started DPS back in September and how much has been affected due to the virus. Since my last blog post, I was extremely lucky enough to gain a remote internship working for Pentagram in Yuri Suzukis small team. His work consists of the focus on sound - through various mediums of interactive experiences, installation art, product design and exploring the importance of sound design and “sonic logos’ to accompany visual design. His work is extremely interesting to learn about, considering it’s something so different to my traditional design skill set and unique part of the greater field of design. Being able to help them in several projects and understanding their practice (especially in a world now of full of visual communication in so many platforms) opened up my own interest in this idea of multi-sensory design and how can the realms of visual be merged with sound and the other senses.
I have no knowledge on sound design, or even have any experience with playing musical instruments but have been surrounded by music since I was born. We all have. Music and sound has been present everywhere we go and has influenced so much of our culture - even silence has some sort of sound metaphorically. As we are developing into the world of new technology and increasing reliance on AI technology to help us, it’s interesting to gain insight from Yuri and his use of this in sound design to help show the importance of our senses in a modern world. Even during the pandemic, the importance of sound/visuals in communication has been pushed further as we rely on our news, work and social life to switch online to an extent. Instead of being able to touch our loved ones during this time, many took the opportunity to use video calling to keep contact to see another but as soon as the audio connection is lost - sometimes is the conversation. Our 5 senses are the fundamentals of our human understanding, how we absorb information daily and digest to learn and grow constantly. For people with hearing difficulties or visual impairments, the senses have to adapt to compensate but how has that been affected with the pandemic - the lack of touch, smells, taste or new environments apart from our own home is definitely something to reflect on. How has the pandemic changed the way we now communicate or utilise our senses accordingly? This is something I have been thinking about, especially when I am working from home and having to shift to an online working environment for the entirety of my internship.
Working for a designer who’s practice stems of the need for physical engagement with audiences and utilising sound to communicate during this pandemic has shown the need of adapting to the current climate, and how important that is as a designer especially in such a unique field. As work has shifted online for the time being, it’s been interesting to see how technology has played a big role in being forced to adapt to these new online environments; for work, socialising and even for entertainment purposes. From my own perspective, I have realised how important the spaces we inhabit are to our own wellbeing and personal creative growth. For me especially, the biggest challenge so far for DPS was adapting to my own workspace, which has been difficult mentally working long days in my bedroom with no physical separation from work and personal life. I have tried my best to constantly rearrange my bedroom and desk, switching up ways I work inside those 4 walls but overtime it becomes demotivating and hard to stay focused creatively. The importance of social interaction in work like this is forever needed - from the face to face meeting with clients to quick coffee breaks where you have the most important breakthroughs in casual conversation is something I have missed during this time. Going back to the idea of senses - it shows how important it is to work in conditions where all of them can be fully explored and stimulate how we work as designers. It was interesting to be part of a project for Space 10, where Yuri and his team had to propose fun and interesting ways of showing how sound can affect mental well being and privacy in the current “work from home” environment - something extremely relevant to a lot of us now. The project explored how sound could be used to create separations in a house in a form of a “sound curtain” and how it could be possible to make your room feel bigger so when working from home, you feel less claustrophobic and would improve your mental well being all through sound and spacial-audio design. For me this was an exciting project to be a part of that sparked my interest into wanting to explore these new territories of design and again questioning the importance of our own domestic spaces.
Design plays a huge part in our world as I mentioned earlier with new emerging technologies and the importance or design in relation to our senses and spaces, but it is so much more. Design has influenced everything we have built - in our networks of communities, cultures and society as a whole. I think reflecting on my own experience this year with design, it has really helped me further understand its importance even more and how it will always have a key role in our lives, whether we can see it or not. So what will the design future be post covid and when will our desired physical connections re-open? At this rate, who is to tell how we would go back to normal but all we can say when it does, there will definitely be new wave of reflection on this past year that will question a lot we take for granted; especially in our own spaces we create.
In this placement year, I have had an opportunity to work with two knitwear brands. Both are tended to high quality, hand-knitted garment production. While working with these brands, I got to learn trends of the fashion market during a pandemic and insights into the knitwear market online. Also, social media and marketing engagement obstacles that they have that I found interesting.
Due to the constant growth of mass production, we are used to the fact that handmade, great material products are exclusive and tend to be more expensive. But the pandemic is changing the craftsmanship market. Many people are left without a job and are searching for hobbies to do during their free time spent at home. John Lewis reports that they received a massive jump in haberdashery sales during a lockdown. Also, people are not just making crafts at home but thinking about secondary income and selling their products on the e-commerce site Etsy. Etsy reports that in the second quarter of 2020, they experienced 34% seller growth compared to the previous year. This situation creates competition in the market and leads to a reduction in prices to keep those seller heads above water whose primary income is Etsy sales. But also, Etsy mentions massive growth in buyers that could be linked to store closing, boredness and the need for treating ourselves that comes from the pandemic and general capitalism. Even though there is a buyer increase, that doesn't mean it is fashion targeted. In Etsy curated podcast, the trend expert explains that trends during the pandemic are still mostly home related. Home goods, room dividers, workspaces and anything related to work at home. Fashion mostly is not needed during this time, which makes it even tougher to convince a consumer to buy your product, not the competitor's one. To summarize, I had a realisation that handmade products are becoming more popular due to more time people have to create them and sometimes linked to lack of primary income. This problem appears in my placement and as an intern, I needed to search my ways to get the brand into this jammed market.
In these placements, I got to manage three platforms - Instagram, Shopify and Etsy. One brand’s main audience is gained on Instagram but confusing was the follower and like per post ratio. Even though the brand has worked hard to gain many followers it is not visible on post likes. This difference made me look into the influencers worst enemy (or best friend?) - algorithm. What even is it, how and why is it changing from time to time? How do people know how it works? I had so many questions that I didn’t know if I will even get answers. From research, I found out that Instagram’s algorithm was unknown until recently when they shared the truth about common myths that are talked about on the platform. As it is a Facebook-owned platform, it wasn’t surprising that they took down the chronological feed and changed it to an algorithm-led feed that shows posts that it thinks is the most suitable to the user. Things that work for the benefit of creators change and at some point your profile can be in the spotlight, but after not sticking to the posting schedule for a moment, you can fade from the algorithm and not be visible to many of your followers. The biggest challenge of social media managers, brand owners and influencers is to keep up with the algorithm and know how to play with it. When you are managing a business account on Instagram or Facebook, you always end up seeing ads from a platform for you to promote posts or create ads. Ad usage as a marketing tool is important and it helps to get more engagement. But is it even possible to grow a start-up from zero without a budget allocated for ads? This made me compare the innocent start of Instagram where people just shared pictures of their lives, to the present - one of the most powerful marketing platforms that exist.
These obstacles made me curious about the world of marketing and created a desire to understand it in more depth. It feels like there are few rules that you know what to do to grow your business with marketing, and the outcome is like a lottery- either you win, or nothing happens. But is it like that? I started to learn the basics of marketing. Starting with a marketing funnel that showed me that there are many steps in goes into it, from scouting the general audience that could be interested, to analyzing the basis of getting the target audience that will eventually end up purchasing product/service and make conversion rate higher. For any business, social media appearance comes as an advantage if it is done well. While studying Design Management, we touch on many different management sides, and it gets confusing when you know a bit from each section, but you are not specialising in one of them. I am grateful for this year because it allows me to try them out and potentially find the right one for me.
Digital marketing is even more evolved during the pandemic. Social media platforms are saturated with a wide range of businesses trying to get their audience attention. Marketing is an industry that changes and evolves all the time. It is in businesses hands to choose how much time and money they want to invest in it.