Here i will talk about the Creative Futures Week 2013 at Glyndwr University in the week commencing Monday 4th of March to Thursday 7th March. Overall the week was pretty impressive and had a lot to offer all in the creative sector. I feel that the chosen speakers really opened my eyes and made me think more about planning my future within my field of graphic design.
There really was something for everyone
Day one of Creative Futures Week 2013 brought the opening of the event.
Dr. Stuart Cunningham, Head of Creative Industries at Glyndwr University opened with a loud and dramatic start to a very education week. He started by explaining the week’s events and the reasons to why we have these events. He shed light on what the future hold for students due to graduate in the next few years and the importance of making ourselves employable in the creative sectors.
Although he’s field bends more towards computer sound and music, he has a trust worthy and experienced number of degrees, which supply us with advice across the creative industries. His key points of advice during the talk were to be unique, set yourself out from the crowd, be diverse in your skills to be more successful in employment during this recession.
Sarah Mair Gates, Manager of CC Skills (Creative and Cultural Skills) Wales, followed on from Stuart to talk about what CC Skills job is in supporting creative industries. Founded in 2004 with the goal of enabling creative and cultural industries to reach their economic potential through skills and training programmes.
There work includes:
- Supporting the creative sector to take on apprentices through our Creative Apprenticeships programme
- Providing information, advice and guidance for creative careers through our Creative Choices programme
- Providing research and analysis in to the skills needs of the industry through our Creative Blueprint programme
- Supporting the creative sector to set the standards for high-quality work in the industry through our Professional Standards programme
- Providing specialist rehearsal space and training for the live music and theatre industries at The Backstage Centre in Purfleet, Essex.
Not really for Graphic Designer but do a good job of helping young people find apprenticeships within the performing art sector.
Here a youtube videos of the progress and benefits of CC Skill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJtzl92uWu0
Gwawr Hughes, Director of Creative Skillset.org Wales was our next speaker. Whose Company’s objective is to also support creatives reach their potential within the arts. With the right skills and training, for creatives and business to maintain the UK’s position within the creative industry.
Fashion and Textiles
Gwawr talk of fact and figure to the benefit of such scheme and it positive effects on the economy, our sector is after all worth 36 million per annual to UK economy. Indefinitely worth funding and supporting if you ask me.
I was really impressed but these two supporting schemes really makes you feel positive as a young freelancer or agency creative. When you think of how much of the economy depends on our sector not just financially, but it is our job as creative to design a better future for the people of the UK. Without us you wouldn’t have well design branding strategies or
Professor Paul Haywood Painting over the cracks…
Professor Paul Haywood creative educator at Salford University is an inspiration artist who has taken his love for art and people to another level. This talk really inspired me to mix all my passions together to create a career that I love and will end up happy doing. Haywood inspired me because of many reason but let start with what he does as well as a fine artist. He mostly collaborates with other artist, designers, educators and community governance professionals and volunteers but with main focus of using art as a stimulus for enterprise and citizen led creative and social innovation. An objective that uses art to bring people together in the Manchester area.
Effective social enterprise stimulations
Educational Values in his work
Bridging the gap within the community.
Some of the public art scheme he is involved in:
Guns to Goods (gunstogoods.org)
A Community project, which uses the guns collected by the greater Manchester police department within the Mosside area, where gun crime is pretty high and mounting up in storage where they then become useless clutter of government property. The concept is to recycled guns removed from the street, by melting and transform them into good, given them social and commercial value. The profits from the sales get invested into training, work experience and apprenticeship programmes.
To give incite this year so far Greater Manchester Police have found 220 Guns and Replica weapons and seized 910 Guns and Replica weapons, totalling Guns 1130
Heywood and his collective of artist decided to help raise funds and make use of this project.
Show Metal (showmetal.co.uk)
Another commercial output related to Guns to goods and gun crime within fashion that saw money-making for community with well illustrated t-shirts and things alike. By wearing SHOW//METAL, you’re playing an active role in breaking the cycle of negativity by promoting the good being done to combat crime in the U.K.
Colour Edge (www.colouredge.org)
Colour Ground (www.colourground.org)
Local art project run by Paul Haywood and Maxine Kennedy with a concept of using the local landscape to create a selection of bespoke colours and hues for projects ranging from exhibition work to architecture. These projects saw the community getting involved, by sharing their view and experiences of their landscapes. This exploration will capture the daily diversity of the colour landscape and harness the rich natural and social heritage of the places. They intend to produce a colour palette and swatch that will reflect on the identity of Littleborough on the Pennine Edge.
Art exhibition get pictures
Salford red brick colour selection building project output saw a building built and painted inside and out with the range of different coloured red bricks from the Salford area.
They even tried to take the colours from these projects further by making limited edition
Paints etc using these colour palettes and even tried turning brick into oil paints. Something’s didn’t work but the community spirit and the drive for a relative common ground for the people really is what drove this project and had me enticed from the start.
Paul Haywood is a great example of art and designs purpose to inform, educate and rebuild society and he really does that through all of his ventures. I would like to be involved in some of these projects and on talking to him after the talk about possible ways I could get involved. After retrieving his email address he informed me that he had a few contact to more graphic design based work.
Robert Ball – How not to be as graphic designer…
Rob Ball talk really inspired me and a designer he’s work shows outlandish approach to project with a title like “how not to be a graphic design” just goes to show what his point in the talk was. Think outside the box and take on jobs that challenge you or that you hate. It surprising what you may get out of it. I can respect anybody who opens an a talk with a few funny juxtaposition of the does and dont’s of communication. a Alan Fletcher quote from the book the art of looking sideways.
for example a sign with ‘fresh eggs’ hand painted on it looks natural, but a sign with ‘flying lessons’ hand painted on it wouldn’t seem so trustworthy. Really made me chuckle as not everything has to be designed in a modernist aesthetic. our approach to design is based upon a number of things, for instance audience, brand voice and ethos is visually represented within the branding strategies.
So who is Robert Ball?
Well he is a well-respected and passionate creative who’s work show a lot of thought with clever outcomes. Ball is best known as the Creative Director at The Partner and his award-winning work for D&AD and the New York Art Directors Club n a young man he was a great illustrator and joined The Partners in 2000 and became Creative Director in 2009. His work consists communications and advertising including copy writing. The work of his that really stood out for me was his work that was for The National Gallery.
Firstly the powerful play on words for the galleries identity, which was inspired by the publics experience of the gallery. The concept was to put the public’s experience of the paintings at the heart of all Gallery activities. They beautiful thing about this project was that it shows a positive push towards moving away from the generic gallery advertising strategies that show pictures of the work it showcasing plastered all over the internet and the promotional material which does question why one would even visit if they can look on-screen or in a book.
With the success of this work The partners also got commissioned to help raise awareness for the permanent collection at the gallery, which brought about the ‘The Grand Tour’ concept. The idea was to create an opportunity to encourage Londoners to engage with the collection, by amazingly hanging 44 full-scale, high-resolution prints in replica frames around the streets of London taking the gallery to the people. By downloading or picking up map from the gallery you could see London and the paintings. The project was a huge success and no wonder, I really wish this was my idea! It really inspired me to want to do things wrong but for the right reasons. Really stand out in a country full of such great creative talent. Break the rules and create new one and never stop learning.
His advice to us
How not to write a CV With hobbies, people do stuff we get that.
Don’t put sketches in portfolio, no probes, just keep it simple.
Find stuff that isn’t online, get inspiration from outside source.
Don’t be afraid to share and collaborate.
look at the portfolio sandwich technique.. which is this ideas of smartly laying out your portfolio so that the employer will remember you from the rest.
Put your 2nd best work at the front.
Ok work to the middle
Best work at the end.
The co-founders of The Partners Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart wrote a book ‘A Smile in the Mind: Witty Thinking in Graphic Design’. Which is a book about the exploration of humour, irony and playfulness in graphic design, both an inspiration and educational book and really what the company is known for. The funny thing about the cover is that it was designed by a student placement. cool uh?
This talk really inspired me and got me thinking about what sort of designer i aspire to be. I want to be a Robert ball of firm like The partners. I would like to have my own firm one day where I write the rules and boundaries to inspire others that come and go working for me. I have a lot to learn within design field whether I work in advertising, editorial or about successfully building brand strategies.
Business Start up Support by Judith Alexander
Firstly I have to say before going to this talk I felt I was in good enough shape to freelance myself for a while get a job in a studio for a bit and then start my own studio with my side kick Steven Sparrowhawk, we have a partnership that worth making a business for. Having said that we have a lot to learn about the business side
This Talk by Judith Alexander went straight over my head, all this talk of, annual change, profit margins and tax revenue including different types of business groupings was hard to comprehend. But what did ironically interest me was the Enterprise programme put forward by ……….
They offer 6 classes over a lengthily period on the core values to any successful business.
- Taking the plunge
An over view of what is required in starting a business enabling you to assess whether I/you to be a success.
1. Sizing up the market
This involves market research; knowing your competitors; understanding your customers; know where to get information and what techniques to use.
2. Winning and keeping customers
A guide and support in developing your marketing, identifying your customers and getting them to buy your products or in my case services. Also gives you an insight in pricing your services to maximise your profit or cash flow for your creativity.
3. Managing your business effectively
4. Pricing profit
5. Managing your finances
There are 3 types of trading
Sole trading – working for one’s self
Partnership – working with two or more people generally small businesses
Limited Company – A larger company that has a few locations and of a larger scale when it comes to employees.
She was also informing us of the type of loans and grants available to us within Wales from the Go Wales Groups even gave us pointer on how to successfully get a business loan from banks. It all about going in with a clear point to your business, have a good knowledge of your competitors in the area and really know why you will stand out from the crowd. Also a success in lending is to have money to begin with. Also make sure you show a keen aspiration on achieving your goal by saving, budget your money and keep receipts so when you own your own business you never not be able to show the tax man your reasons for spending. New computers, printers and software for example
How to Motivate Yourself – Denise Chilton
In this lecture Chilton started out by telling us how became a motivation coach. She talked about her stints at different job, how un happy she was and even that she ended up taking a job she hated so much that it would motivate her to really get what she wanted. She succeeded! Yes her first year was slow and yes it was bad that it even made her question her point to having a business but all of this experience of good times and bad times is really what has now made her a motivational mentor.
After her introduction of her life she went on to do some exercises with us, which at I was not up for. I couldn’t even motivate myself to think about how my last week had been but after a while I got into it. Funnily enough this lecture was more than I expected it to be really showed me and taught me a lot about myself as an individual. Her motivation skills and the way in which she find your passion and dream by a few simple questions was astonishing in her example with a design student. This lecture really made me think about my aspirations and goals and it was definitely an eye opener.
Chilton made us think about our goals and how to take action by focusing on positive steps along with this acronym SMARTIES
S – be Specific and positive
M – measurable and meaningful to you,
A – achievable and state in the present
R – realistic and right for you.
T – Time, Targeted and Thrills
I -‘I’ as in my
E – Exciting
S – Sensational
She asked us all to write a list of our positive things we have done or enjoyed in past few weeks, with the idea of focusing on the positives to harness their full potential. She explained that a lot of the time we see other people’s positive characteristics then compare them to our negative characteristics which makes us think less of ourselves. She then told us to give ourselves the same advice we’d give friends, as we are usually much more supportive of them.
Chilton then had us do a little activity project in the lecture. She handed out sheets with a wheel on them with 8 branches sprouting from the centre of the wheel. These 8 branches each represented something: Friends/ Family, Physical Environment, Health, Career, Relationship Status, Fun, Personal Growth and Money. These branches had ten notches in them and we had to grade each of the branches out of ten for how well we thought we were doing in that particular field of life.
We were then asked why we graded ourselves low in some fields of and how we think we could make the grade better. Then we were asked why were we not making them better? This really made me think and was a very simple concept but very realistic looking at the things I am less happy with and find a way to make positive change. Like getting a degree and pursuing a job as a designer being a post degree aspiration, which is my first goal and focus. All the rest will slowly figure itself out.
Sian Saunders – If only i had known
Sian Saunders is the founder of Day Dream Designs a small family run creative agency which thrives on handcrafted bespoke designs and although small business are a full service creative agency. Saunders started out by working on her own doing a few jobs from home as a web designer. As the work load got bigger she started to as a person here and there to co create her vision. Now they have a
couple of illustrators
couple of web developers
lots of freelancer for big work loads
They get there clients form there bespoke style that really defines them, illustrations and great colour palettes. A approach that isnt for everyone but works for them.
As you may notice this style of design isn’t your average modern approach and they handcraft all of their designs and really are making a name for themselves even as a small business, they still get big clients. Her tips were as follows:
1. Stand out from the crowd and design with personality
2. Were hard-wired to notice only what’s different
3. The customer, we listen! understand your customer and manage their expectations and give them what they want, as it is all about the customer.
4. Live by design not by default
5. Perspective learning how to do things differently
6. Go the extra mile
7. Sometimes its good to be freelance
8. Do tester to prove its worth the money and you will make more
9. Don’t give up on a price and do exactly what they want for that price.
My over all thoughts on the week
What the whole experience has taught me is that I should never get stuck doing something I hate and really do what I love. Find the things that really drive me and make a career out of that. Look at what are my strong points are and how do I use them to my advantage? I love people and the coming together of the community, so think in the near future I should think about pursuing freelance community project like that of Paul Haywood, stuff that really help the community and even charity work seem like a nice place to start. It may not make me much money or any for that matter but really is something I want to do. But I do also want to establish myself as a creative, of course my intentions are to aspire to be and do as good as Robert Ball. Most definitely I will think outside the box, dare to be different and get clients to believe in and commission projects that sound crazy and outlandish, why wouldn’t any young creative not want that for their future.In terms of motivation and business start-up I really feel impressed by the support and funding there is for people keen to be entrepreneurs with classes, grants and loan i may have to apply myself to and have my own agency one day.