Hi everyone, my name is Julia Walesieniuk. For most of my uni colleagues and tutors, I am known as Julie Wales, which is my “artistic” nickname (“I gave it to myself, it's given to me by me” Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird”). As part of my design journey at LCC,
I am currently undertaking Diploma in Professional Studies. The reason why I decided to take a year off was to prepare myself both professionally and mentally for my future career as a designer which in theory seems to be fun and exciting but in reality it’s all about multi-tasking, managing your time effectively and being able to overcome various creative, challenging actives. As an introvert and person who struggles with severe dyslexia I, unfortunately, tend to struggle with such performances. However, I never wanted it to impact my professional career, especially to the point when I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goals and dreams. Therefore, I am trying my best to follow all of this year DPS projects and requirements to learn as much as I can, so in a matter of months and years, I could see the actual progress I made as a person and designer.
At the beginning of this year, my goal was to do 3 design placements, each 4 months long.I wanted to get a real, life-changing professional experience in editorial design, fashion branding and design for art direction. I remember being inspired by all of the DPS alumni and their incredible internships positions all around the globe. Talking to them made me very comfortable and excited about my upcoming placement process. I believed that everyone would like to collaborate with a graphic design student from UAL, and besides, pay me for that. My expectations, however, have changed during the summer holiday. I applied for more than 30 internships offers all around Europe and I only got 4 replays. At that point, I was left with no hope, extreme anxiety and a lot of negative thoughts about myself. It took me time to reflect on that and realise that not getting an internship it’s not the end of the word (even though this whole pandemic seemed like the end of the world), it’s a begging of a great journey. This shouldn’t bring me down, but instead, show me how much work I still need to do and how challenging the design word is. I realised that I need to put myself out there because someone offered me a job is as impossible as impossible seemed to have a whole world in quarantine a few months ago. I could have been more snippy, decisive and I shouldn’t let the employers treat me like an option. I have always been very sensitive and I never wanted to intrude upon someone, but having a fragile soul will never help me in a competitive world. As a next step, I need to learn how to fight for my rights and dreams but still being authentic to myself. I want to get to know my real value and my abilities as a designer and use that as a strong competitive feature. Nevertheless, multiple recruitment processes were a new significant and useful learning experience which I will never forget and hopefully use a strong basis for future processes.
Even though my experience with finding a placement wasn’t what I was expecting to be, I have managed to get my first real commission with a professional-client who is the owner of one of the most popular streetwear brand in Poland. Mikołaj from ‘2005warsaw’ hired me as a freelance graphic designer to work with him on one of his upcoming projects. Firstly, it was supposed to be a 2-week long collaboration. This eventually turned out to be an actual freelance job which lasts until now. I am mostly responsible for designing illustrations and typography based on a creative brief but also prepare graphic documents for cloth printing. Thanks to this job, I have significantly developed my skills in learning new Illustrator and Photoshop features which impacted the way I widen by personal preferences when it comes to fulfilling a brief. All of the tasks I am asked to do are new to me. A few months ago, I never would have considered myself as an illustrator, but I am kinda nailing it. Every day I am discovering new skills but also do things which I was always afraid to try doing. I have managed to observe how actually clothing brands work, how important it is to stay in touch with a customer base and how much good branding impacts a brand’s customer relationship. These are some of the graphics I designed over the past months (credit: https://2005warsaw.com/)
I still can’t believe how lucky I was to respond to Mikołaj’s job offer at his insta stories. But even though, I consider this an incredible, dream experience I have a lot of reflections which are not necessarily positive. I feel like my boss is not using my full potential as a graphic designer. I always want to do more and more and I actually managed to inform him about that. Unfortunately, I can see how some processes are made without me being included in it or how I am unable to take part in production or marketing processes. Situations like this motivate me to become my own boss. Being dependent on someone and fulfilling someone’s else ideas without being recognised for it in a long run is annoying. Talking with Laura Vent about it inspired me to stop dreaming and start doing. Therefore, I am currently working on a business plan for my clothing brand which will be my next self initiated project proposal. Working for a teenage streetwear brand which uses relatable, dizzy slogans and illustrations showed me how much of a different brand with a different mission I would like to own. For this big project, I want to see the extent to which I can be self-sufficient as a designer and entrepreneur. Hopefully, I will manage to fully put myself out there and don’t let my anxiety and lack of self-confidence take over.
Wish me luck guys and keep your fingers crossed!