A picture that I took during one of my lockdown walks in London
How time flies! I still remember when I went to the LCC Open Day few years ago while I was doing my Foundation in Art and Design and considering the possibility of getting into uni at 26.
I still remember Craig talking about the DPS program.He kind of bought me when he said some students went on placements in California.
And here we are now, three years later, seating in my living room with my cat while writing this post and outside it’s flat.
But this is nobody’s fault really. I believe that you can work hard towards a goal and that you are the owner of what happens in your life up to certain point. Then there are other factors that neither you or nobody can control.
You might want to do part of your placement year in sunny California but hey, who knew a year ago that there was going to be a world pandemic? Life keeps changing and we need to keep adapting.
I am not saying let’s all forget about design for now, get a huge chocolate Haagen Dazs and starting watching “Friends” from episode 1. No. I am saying that I am going to accept that things have obviously changed, that maybe my plans will have to wait for now. Maybe I will not go to California this year or at least not by now but that doesn’t mean I can’t do other things meanwhile.
I am not a big fan of this “Mr Wonderful” life outlook where regardless what happens, you have to "keep smiling". I think we should embrace that sometimes, when we have to change our plans, it really sucks (and yeah, some days we will fancy Haagen Daz and Friends. Why not?)
But at the same time, those undesired changes can make you think about other possibilities which turn out great.
To illustrate what I am talking about above, I have started my first placement and yeah, somedays are not great.
I get paid shit, I work a lot of hours, I spent hours and hours in front of Photoshop only resizing pictures and sometimes I lose my patient because everybody is doing three jobs at the same time and nobody has time to explain anything, after spending hours doing something, they tell me they don’t need it anymore.
But in the other hand, because they are so busy (and short in staff) that also allows me to try things, to learn by myself, to take directions. Because I have a previous career in photography, they let me taking pictures for the social media content, which is more creative.
Some days I can work from home so that means I am not spending money in transport or food, other days they ask me to go but I go cycling which I really enjoy (it’s a pretty long way so also works as a free gym session). I am getting some money which is better than nothing. I am learning soft skills (like how to say to Simon from Sales that what he is asking me to do doesn’t make any sense whatsoever without offending him).
Like Lemmy said, “you win some, you lose some”.
So far the start of my DPS year has been quite different to how I imagined it would be before COVID hit. I found lockdown quite a hard time to stay focused and as a result the majority of my attention was away from DPS and on just trying to pass second year. Before the term ended I feel I had not yet put enough work into finishing my portfolio or CV for internship applications, however now with more time over summer I have been able to develop them and create something more presentable that I’m a bit more confident with. My plans haven’t changed that much since first writing my proposal, I still would like to get an internship for a few months in London and then hopefully one abroad later in the year. Before term ended I had planned to get some work over the summer, although I have found looking for somewhere in London fairly hard as the majority of places I would have applied for had not gone back to their offices or properly started regular work again. The pandemic has in someways made looking for internships slightly disheartening, however having finished my portfolio for now I have been sending application emails to different people and companies and will continue sending as much as I can over the next month. Over summer I have been able to keep busy by working on music and creating music videos for my friends.
One of my initial goals for the year was to create and release a zine as a self initiated project. Last year I created a zine as the outcome for my first year 1 project, I really enjoyed working in this format and think there’s potential to create some of my best still image work if I were to make another one, so I plan to start working on this soon once I have secured an internship. As far as places or people I would like to work with, I have made a long list of magazines, mostly based in London but some abroad as well, whose work I like and collected contact details as well as emails for the editor for some fo them. Last week I emailed out my portfolio, CV and references with a cover letter to a few and by the end of this week I plan to create a list for fashion designers and video directors and send applications to them as well the rest of the magazines. I have also applied for an internship at Show Studio. I am basically looking for anywhere I could apply skills like photography, film making or the research process and production for visual / conceptual work within fashion, art and design, so this would be a really good place to gain experience.
15 weeks of DPS preparation opened a view-through for me into the ‘real world’ as a creative.
I’m a big procrastinator and therefore the DPS sessions have been a great anchor for me amongst the changes that Covid has brought along. With every session I was able to take something away, either that be a quote, a laugh or a piece of advice; here are just three main things which the sessions have helped me with-
1. Making me realise the power of my creative worth when pricing as a freelancer.
2. Unleashing my story-telling skills when talking about my projects.
3. Always nudging me to start thinking about my own brand, by firstly allowing me to understand the current creative world around me from a range of creative speakers.
Transitioning straight from college to university made sure my mindset was pretty much still in an education environment mode, which was great in keeping my momentum going. However, this set mindset didn’t quite allow me to step outside that box in order to start asking questions about myself as a creative. So being able to take a step back and figure these things out has been a very proactive use of my time; helping me to move forward in my DPS journey as well as my own reflective process.
Editing marathon with my portfolio
Working on my portfolio has been quite an editing battle but also such a rewarding time to see it grow in such a short time. I find keeping tabs on all my drafts a nice way for me to continue to witness the journey of my portfolio, so here’s the start of it-
Small steps forward with my proposal
My proposal for this year has been slowly shifting to adjust to the uncertainty that Covid is spreading. I’m aiming to keep my proposal flexible at the moment and to try and actively be aware of new opportunities as they come.
My aims for this year are to explore, refine and challenge.
- To explore design fields
- Refine my skills set
- And to challenge myself to not be afraid of the unknown but to try
I’m trying to see this year as a time to learn more about myself and to allow myself to make mistakes now rather than later. My tutorial conversations in the last few weeks have really supported me with my self-reflective questions on what type of designer I recognise myself to be. I now see myself as a social designer, an editor and a social media story-teller.
Truth be told I’ve been pretty anxious to start sending out emails because I kept thinking my portfolio was not ready. I have since been trying to set myself little deadlines to slowly move forward with my search, keeping in mind that my portfolio is ever growing.
So my aim for August is to continue with the small steps; to send more emails, keep my fingers crossed and to enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.
Graphic & Media Design
Since the end of Second Year, I have been working on the content and structure of my portfolio, ready to present it to different studios across Europe. I have produced, edited and attended portfolio reviews to ensure it is at the highest possible standard, and that I myself am happy with it.
I have conducted some minor research into possible studios where I could work, focusing primarily on ones situated in London due to COVID19. One of these studios is Jones Knowles Ritchie in Camden. I worked at the company previously whilst in Secondary School and therefore have contacts who could possibly secure me an internship. I am however hoping to apply to studios situated in Europe as well, allowing me a completely new and different experience. I aim by the end of August to contact at least one in Berlin alongside the London-based studios I have already researched.
The uncertainty of the current situation with COVID has held me back from applying to studios abroad which has gone against my plans, and caused me to consider applying to more studios in London than I had originally thought. I will also undertake some online courses to improve my skills from the safety and security of my own home. I will for the first few months of the DPS year, conduct a self-initiated project until I feel comfortable, and safe enough to live and work abroad.
This year as I am still in university, I want to secure experience across Europe, as without ERASMUS funding I would never be able to afford it. The chance to live away from home for the very first time will allow me to develop independence as well as basic life skills. It would push me out of my comfort zone and allow me to experience a whole new environment and way of living. The opportunity to work with designers across the world, will teach me to see and design in new ways, developing skills I would never have learnt in the familiarity of London. The whole new perspective will inspire my work and completely change the manner in which I approach the practice of design. I would love to work amongst as many different cultures as possible. Some of the cities where I want to secure internships include Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Amsterdam.
The past month has not been as productive as I had originally hoped due to the ever-changing situation. It has been distracting and has affected me making firm decisions about the immediate future. I have learnt that I really need to immerse myself into research and become excited about where the next year could take me, to ensure I don’t miss any opportunities it presents. However with the future so uncertain this has been very difficult. I need to ensure I am keeping up to date with COVID and know when I can apply to certain studios. I have learnt from my portfolio review that I need to be more positive about my work and submit it confidently instead of continuously working on it. I need to take risks to ensure I get the internships I want, and have an amazing DPS year.
By Breanna Herring
By Shazia Ismael
I thought this would be a good opportunity to shamelessly plug my design Instagram @petiteshazia!
How would I define my plans for the next year of my life? A year of uncertainty. A year to be optimistic. A trial run for my future. Planning for this year has drastically changed over the last couple of months, but I guess that is exactly what life is about. It went from having a solid proposal outlining what I thought would be my plans for this year to starting from scratch, with new guidelines presented by the state of the current world.
My work placement at Disney three years ago lay the foundations for what career I would pursue. I went from someone who was set on doing a degree in English Literature to one studying Graphic and Media Design. In the past two years, I have learnt that my strengths are Editorial Design, Designing for screen and concept development. These are skills I want to explore further this year. As we are advised to overcome rigid ideals and grow into different practices. My skillset has grown as I've become more confident using various programs. I want to explore ways of working (pun was definitely intended) in the design industry and hopefully figure out plans after university.
COVID19 is proof that life is ever-changing. I’m sure that a lot of the other entries look at its effects. What we once may have seen as abnormal behaviour has become the ‘new normal’. From sitting in studios and lecture halls to sitting wherever the wifi is the strongest be it the living room, bedroom or even the kitchen. Even people like James Corden are moving from a large TV studio to a garage to make sure that the public gets the Late Late Show. It shows how fast we, as a human race, adapt to keep our world moving. I wish to use this year as a learning curb on adaptation as this is a skill needed when working with clients. It becomes a skill application when virtually talking to companies in the hopes that they take us under their wings, even if it is just for a little while.
Another major thing that I have learnt about myself through my projects this year is I want to use my practice to please people but also create work that represents my values, my style and my culture. To inspire people to embrace their backgrounds, use what they know to make a difference. This will be worked upon this year through Self Initiated Projects.
To put it simply I want to try everything I possibly can this year be it an internship, competition or self-initiated project!
People have told me I live in a fairytale if that's the case this year is just another chapter. I will use this year as a free trial on Netflix except this will be a free trial before the real world. So here’s to my 24-week free trial!
My own visual response to my first blog post.
Since the beginning of DPS in December, I felt like on a never-ending roller coaster. Not only because of the initial professor’s strikes in University that have been followed by the spread of Coronavirus around the world. These two factors have been just the frame of a Hokusai’s like painting.
FEELING ONE: COVER LETTER, WHY ME?
Being in an environment like in UAL, full of great talents and people, can make you think you are only one of the many. Actually… from time-to-time, looking at the effective things produced by my peers and around the community destroyed my self-esteem and ability to continuously experiment. Sitting in front of the laptop with this feeling of inadequacy and trying to write an effective cover letter, the biggest question resounding in my mind was: why should a studio would like to have me in the team?
I know why I want to work with them, but what should I write when it comes to the point: “make them understand why you are a good opportunity for them”?
FEELING TWO: THE EMPTY INBOX
Courageously overcoming the feelings of not being enough by listening to external feedback, and focusing on character traits that make me unique, I sent five emails a day. Each of them was perfectly tailored for the studio where I was applying, always making changes in the portfolio, CV, and cover letter to be more impressive. And then I waited.
I was continuously refreshing the email inbox, but, unfortunately, the only emails I was receiving where from UAL, The Dots, or the Medium Daily Digest.
FEELING THREE: THE SURPRISE
Every email I was sending I thought would be the winning one. But I would have to say… the fortune was not really with me :(. My biggest temptation was to do a follow-up just after a couple of days, but I knew it was not the best move. Angry about this situation, I decided to start “bothering” creative directors, stylists, photographers, and video makers directly on Instagram asking questions about their work, their career, and begging for an assistant position. I received feedback, tips, and one day, being very honest with a creative director, I received an incredibly inspiring answer followed by the internship opportunity with them for three months.
FEELING FOUR: WHAT’S NEXT?
After a more in-depth interview, I received a call from the studio manager expressing their interest in me. In a vortex of emotions, I had to realise some small but huge details.
Firstly, the internship is in Milan. This means that I will have to leave my house & flatmate, my friends, and the London lifestyle and go back to my hometown. Will I be able to change mindset and way of working continuously experimenting even if at home? Will it be hard to go back to London?
Secondly, the offered position focuses more on the graphic aspect of the editorial: I will have to deal with the layouts, fonts, weights, and print. As my course and my strongest skills are not centered on these aspects, will I be able to do it? Will I enjoy doing it? Will it be useful for my career?
Let’s see, the journey has just begun.
Trevor Chadwick - IVM
Since embarking on DPS in February and preparing myself for the year ahead I have done a lot of reflecting; in my work, myself, and where I’d like to see myself in the upcoming year.
In terms of where I am currently, I am in the process of refreshing my portfolio and making it more applicable and focused for what I’d like to work in; using the year ahead to explore illustration, animation and motion graphics opportunities, as well as others.
I also want to use the year to collaborate with other students to create work that isn’t restricted by clients briefs, and use this as a means to investigate more playful options in our work.
Since planning my first proposal I feel that a lot of things have changed with how I originally wanted to spend my DPS year, and due to the devastating circumstances of the world currently with COVID-19, I had to change some things around, such as using Erasmus to travel and work abroad, as this is not currently possible. This being said, I am open to the possibility of traveling abroad sometime within the DPS year if at the time I feel that it is safe to travel.
When searching for some internships around me, I was able to find a few that I would like to apply for such as Blue zoo studios who are an animation production company that have worked with Disney, BBC, and others to create advertisements, tv shows, or short films. As well as DW studios, who are a CGI Visualisation company who have worked with Network Rail and Dyson, and currently have an opening for a junior motion designer.
I also want to use the opportunities to build up my skill in software that is quickly becoming industry standard for my field of practice, such as After Effects, blender, Maya, and others.
Later in the DPS Year depending on the global situation, I would like to look into Erasmus, internships abroad and residencies, as I feel that this would help to take me out of my comfort zone, and allow me to meet new people and network globally.
One place I have been eying up is the Swedish BluBlu Studios, a multi-award winning animation production company, who have worked alongside clients such as The New York Times, Nickelodeon and others; from doing research, they don’t currently have any internships available but I will do more research, and will send my portfolio to them when its ready.
Overall from the beginning of DPS to where I am currently, not a lot has changed. Though the state of the world has changed drastically, my goals for the upcoming year to build my skill set and professional experience haven’t changed, and I feel that this is still obtainable. Even though things may have changed and will continue to change, I want to make the most of this year and feel that the best way is to dive in, headfirst.
Pictures from portfolio and recent projects.
Jake Richardson /
The reason I applied to study at LCC was to do this DPS year and gain knowledge / crucial experience in areas of design (such as branding + visual identity) but with more of an open-minded approach. By starting to research different studios such as Pentagram, North and Praline (to name a few in the UK) who focus on creating innovative branding and graphic communication is an inspiration for my own creative practise. This idea of the year for me has changed slightly with COVID-19, with plans of going abroad potentially delayed till the later half of the year but I am still keen to get experience within London from studios and through my own SIPPs.
Within my own work and studying at LCC, I have seen a shift in my discipline; looking at greater fields of design and wanting to be a multi-disciplinary designer, capable of tackling a variety of briefs and adapting my skills accordingly. I have spent the past couple of weeks working on my own identity: and how I can visually express this adaptability I possess as an individual. My logo is based of the Slash punctuation mark because like the symbol, I feel as a designer I am adaptable and able to offer more just how this mark can express more information in a sentence. This leads into my previous experience and interests in areas of design such as branding / visual identity / UX / typography / exhibition design / photography / editorial design / art direction.
Below shows examples of my projects and my website, which I have designed to express my interest in strong visual communication and use of typography. In terms of branding, I feel I am naturally drawn towards less corporate design but working for studios that have done projects for the Arts and Culture sector, potentially looking into branding for exhibitions, shows and various other social causes within this sector. This is something that I would like to research more into throughout this year, or generating my own projects relating to this. Not only focusing on this, but other work relating to music as well as creating my own publication interests me as well.
I have managed to secure my first internship with Mercato Metropolitano, where Anne Nestler and I applied for a dream pitch which resulted in us working with them to help create a App. I am very excited for this opportunity, especially gaining experience working with the MM team and helping to build my own expectations of working closely with such an interesting company. This starts in September.
I am excited to see what comes from this year, and how my style and interests might develop working with different studios / projects which could potentially feed into my final year of GMD when I return.
This screenshot is from my website, showing my new logo and different examples of work.
Growing up, I’ve always been sure about one thing in my life : moving to London to study Art and Design. However I’ve never been entirely sure about what kind of job I would’ve seen myself in. That’s the reason why I’ve decided to take this DPS year which, I think, is the perfect opportunity at the perfect timing. My second year at lcc was a year of experimentations and challenges. I’ve really started to use the facilities and to learn new skills. When the Covid-19 outbreak happened, it cut off all of the hard work and motivation I was starting to put in my projects. As I got home, I learned how to adapt and to use what I had, in order to create a project I was satisfied with. It was a new way of challenging myself. From this lockdown experience, I realised we can create and design things with the minimum, as long as the inspiration and motivation are here.
The lockdown had one and only positive aspect on my work : I went from not knowing what to do, to knowing what I want to focus on in Graphic Design.
I really enjoyed working on my Self Initiated project. This project answered all the questions I could have about my future. I managed to put what I like the most about Graphic Design together in one project. This vinyl cover is a mix of packaging design and homemade printing.
Because of this project, I realised that a physical printed outcome is very important to me. I like working digitally but the different ways of printing are definitely something I’m interested in.
Following this idea of being in charge of designing and printing, I’ve decided to challenge myself and to start a small business selling stickers that would be used onto packaging or just as basic stickers. This brand new challenge will be my own personal project while applying and working for agencies. Lockdown taught me I can be very motivated and independent when it comes to something I enjoy doing or want to share with people. By building this small stickers business, I will learn about being my own boss, about setting up deadlines and prices and about being in charge of everything from designing to printing, and this is what I am passionate about.
For my future experience as a DPS student, I still expect to learn new skills and to meet more people in London. I’m currently looking at agencies focusing on Graphic Design, packaging design, branding and printing in London as I’m not planning to go abroad.
Thank you for reading,
Lilla Cseh - GMD student
I could phrase this in many different ways, but the journey can explain various levels I'm going through. At the start of 2020, everyone imagined their year as challenging and out of the comfort experience already, but everything turned out to be even more challenging. At the beginning of the pandemic, the DPS team helped me to get on with work and try my best even online. After I finished my second year's assignments, I put more work into my portfolio and website to highlight my projects for the application process.
While I was working on showcasing my work, I dived into research to find fitting studios and other placements. I haven't received any places yet, but I still feel like the DPS was the right choice for me to recognise my worries that set me back from making contact with professional studios. I was expecting to experience different design cultures through European studios, the expectation changed slightly with understanding the need to stay safe during the pandemic, but my ambitions stayed strong to achieve the best year to learn new things. I learned new skills while creating my website and also found help through various websites like skillshare to understand programs and new exciting solutions in 3D design, poster design and digital design as a collective.
During the second year, we created a small group to enter D&AD New Blood Awards with a BBC brief, this project is probably the longest project I've ever done we worked on it for many months until summer and in the end, we managed to create something we're proud of even though our entry didn't win I recognise this project as a win for us to work with brilliant designers that we met during the PPU unit. Our project focused on the connection with our surroundings and how we can connect Tv shows with our reality through Augmented Reality showcased in a pitch video. With this project, we created something new we never have done before so the excitement was there to build from each other's knowledge and the reason I'm detailing this project is that my expectations for my placements are for the challenge of meeting fresh minded people to work with on exciting projects and to meet accomplished designers on these placements like at Pentagram, BBC Creative, Spin, Landor.
In the future, my aim is to get my projects out for people to see because I tend to procrastinate on how long I work on it, just like with my portfolio. During summer I determined myself to concentrate on myself as an individual to understand my next year and work the best I can. I stuck in my country (Hungary) for a long time now because of the pandemic and I decided to be alright with not doing much one day but then put my best into the work the next day.
How did my ambitions change? My main focus was mainly on gaining new knowledge that I didn't have the previous day so I'm working towards the goal of becoming more aware of the design field and the options I create for myself to succeed later on.
Thank you for reading,