BREAKING WITH MY PRACTICE
Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar.“Get out of here!” shouts the bartender. “We don’t serve your type.” (Reader’s Digest, 2020)
The joke isn’t mine, but I thought I might kick off this blog with a laugh or at least a slight chuckle. We’ve heard time and time again how odd, surprising, devastating and especially crazy 2020 has been. Myself and everyone in this wide world included are living through – cue the most overused word of the year – unprecedented times. I’ve experienced loss, heartache, joy, laughter, severe boredom, but what I’m most amazed by is the success I’m having. In March, I left London to quarantine in my hometown of Lausanne with my family. Like most people, it was an uphill battle until the end of the year. Between March and May I had to pass my second year remotely, make my portfolio, apply for internships/jobs/residencies and I entered the Tate Christmas Card competition which I won!
I continued over the summer with my photography and some personal design projects that I’m still fiddling with. I also entered the Jonathan Cape/Guardian graphic novel competition, though I didn’t win I’m extremely pleased with my entry and have learned so much about my comic book making capabilities. Between March and the start of my internship on the 2nd of November, I sent out 160 applications, 50% which I never heard back from, 49% that said no, 0.67% that said maybe and 0.33% that said YES! An issue I feel which is understandably human is also an extreme handicap: difficulty accepting the word NO. We need to start focusing less on the amount of NO’s we get - which can be disheartening I agree - and more on getting that one YES. We don’t need 1000 yeses we only need one. It goes to show the attention I invested to get my first ever 6-month internship at Publicis paid off, instead of wasting my energy lamenting about how nobody wanted me.
That leads me to my second point, it’s not (always) about you. It’s not that they don’t like you or think you’re a bad person, it’s more about their needs and if you’re the right fit. I applied to an intern position at Pentagram but a classmate of mine got the job simply because he’s a better motion designer than I am. They were looking for his specific skills in order to achieve their objectives. I’m happy that it turned out this way, because the position I currently have at Publicis communications Lausanne is the perfect fit for me and for Publicis.
That goes into my third point: trust the process. This essential if not vital! The first ingredient is hard work, if you don’t put in the hours, you’re not going to see results. Second ingredient is patience, not idle lounging around, but in a focused state of waiting, being on the ball until opportunity strikes. Professional athletes are masters at this. A striker on a football pitch can wait right up until the final whistle before seizing his chance and scoring. As designers, artists, etc. we need to do the same. From the moment I created my first portfolio on InDesign back in March until I took my first step into my new office, was a total of 8 months proactively waiting. While I was waiting for the confirmation that I got the job, I was constantly seeking out others. You can’t put all your eggs in the same basket.
Segueing into my fourth point: adaptability. This triumphs everything we do, internships and art aside. Being able to adapt is crucial for our survival, never in history have we endured so much evolution like in 2020. We were forced to change. While life was updating, I seized the opportunity to work more than I ever have. There was nothing else to do, one man’s boredom and frustration were my 16-hour workdays. I knew that if I wanted to emerge victorious from this sanitary crisis. The foundations need to be built now. You can’t wait on the world to change in order to achieve, you need to act as if. I recognize my fortune with the opportunities that came my way, but if I didn’t put in the work I could have easily given up. I acted as if I could work 8 hours a day for Publicis and work 6 more hours at night on my own projects. I acted as if all my goals had been achieved, I believed I was submitting my work on time and I acted as if I had no choice. I adapted my brain and my attitude in order to get the work done, if I didn’t force myself to continue working then I wouldn’t be showing you my entry for the Locarno Film Festival Poster Competition:
Through sheer perseverance I not only submitted a poster to a lucrative competition, but I also used this as an opportunity to upskill. I learned 3D using Adobe Dimensions. Learning is the key word to being adaptable, you constantly need to learn about what’s going on around you and applying the knowledge gained. What ties this blog together is my title (which Sarah pointed out to me): Breaking With My Practice. I needed to constantly break my old ways of working in order to succeed and achieve more, work smarter and harder. If I were still stuck in my old ways, I wouldn’t be typing out this blog right now. You need think like a muscle during a physical activity, in order to get stronger and better I need to break so that when I repair, I become three times stronger than before. Like the athlete who gets better with every training, so do we as designers need to constantly break our practices in order to become the superstars I know we already are.