Friday, 24 May 2013

Interview success

I got a phone call from Coates on 24th May saying they wanted me to come back for a second interview which was a total surprise especially after four hours sleep the night before.  I had mentioned that it would be difficult to do a second interview until after 29 May.  They want to see me on Thursday 6 June at 11.15am.  They have set a project to complete which will be emailed out on Wednesday 29 May.

I am trying not to get too excited however this role is so perfect for me in every way it is difficult not to.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Geek Table

Additional promotion has been provided via my involvement in the Geek Table which includes Claudia Griffin, Beth Yates, Baljeet Kaur Samra, Sarah Pritchard, Kirsty Alderson, Sophie Wilson and Kirsty Hardingham.

The initial concept came from some fantastic illustrations Beth produced of us all.  This led to us considering putting on an exhibition which was mainly driven by Sophie however the White Cloth gallery let us down with dates.  Other members so of the Geek table have set up a Twitter account, Tumblr and email address

The decision was made that the brief would be driven by Claudia and Baljeet who produced a newspaper style publication with links to our portfolios and featuring one project which we had each produced especially for the geek table project.   We each have two or three copies to send off to potential studios/designers.  This way we all achieve some promotion of each other's contacts.

 I set a Cargo account up with the same content which can be found here

Monday, 20 May 2013

Portfolio review and studio visit

After numerous emails with Savvy Marketing I have has to postpone the visit to the Head of Design until after hand in.  the date he proposed was Thursday when we had the final crit so i could go.

Interview at Coats

Coats offered me an interview which was today.  Coats is an international company however the UK part of the Crafts supplier of the business.  They have several brands within the Coats family including Rowan and Patons wool, Coats sewing thread, Opti zips and Milward haberdashery.

The position is Graphic Designer, a new role within the head office to support the Marketing department.  They have a dedicated Design team for the Rowan Wool brand.  The Marketing manager Emma and The Head of Rowan Design David interviewed me.

After they introduced the role which will be across print, digital and include assisting with Exhibition Graphics. I talked through my portfolio with them.  they seem quite impressed with some of the work.  David observed that the D&AD brief may have been unsuccessful because of the cost involved .  They both liked the concept.

They asked which software I felt most comfortable with and I said I tend to use Indesign for most design but use Photoshop and Illustrator when appropriate.

They were concerned I did not have any Commercial experience and David actually said what would I say to that.  I replied that whilst I did not have commercial experience I had worked in a professional
environment for twenty years in organisations of all sizes, as part of a team and also leading a team.  I also pushed the emphasis on the Degree for professional design for print standard.  

He also asked how I felt about pressure and again I explained how I had always worked in an environment with weekly, monthly and annual deadlines and also managed my family whilst working.

I asked them if they had strict Brand Guidelines.  They said it depends who you ask! They do have guidelines but they will be flexible depending on the audience and context.
David almost qualified at the end that he thought I had a good portfolio and had a real eye for colour however he recommended I put in more commercial work.  I asked specifically what he meant by that . He said work with real clients that was actually out there.

They are interviewing all week however they plan to shortlist and introduce a short project to the shortlisted candidates.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

More emails to studios

I also contacted the following studios in connection with my Design context on 13 March:

Local Branding Agencies
10 Associates
The Engine Room

Branding Agencies
Someone (Simon Manchipp)
The Brand Nursery
Thompson Brand Partners
The Consult
Elmwood (Chris Jackson)

Designers Republic (Ian Anderson)
Kent Lyons
A Practice for Everyday life (APFEL)

The email was basically asking for a quote about what branding means to them.   More details on my Design Practice

I received responses from Noel lyons from Kent Lyons and Simon Manchipp from Someone.  I also received an email off Ian Anderson saying he would respond if I directed the question more as he could rattle on about this subject for hours.

10 Associates replied a few weeks later saying they would try to get back to me with something.  

After the disappointing response I decided to be more prescriptive about what I wanted from them, I sent the second email on .  I had also done a lot more research so my ideas were become more focused.

This was the email I sent on 28 April although I customised it slightly for each recipient

I understand you must get loads of emails from students and graduates however I don't want anything other than a few opinions for my FMP project which will be published as part of a book.
The three questions:
1. In your experience, should Brands always have an authentic and true back story? Please explain why you think this.
2. Would your Agency ever turn down a brief from a Client for reasons other than capacity and if so why?
3. How important is Social Media to you as an Agency and also within the context of a branding brief?

I am in my third and final year studying BA (hons) Graphic Design at Leeds College of Art as a mature student. I explored Branding and Authenticity in my dissertation 'Is the relationship of the brand Vans with wider culture, authentic or insidious?' As part of my FMP I have been focusing on Youth Brands, lifestyle and culture. I am intrigued by my teenage son's fascination with brands such as Vans and Hollister. I was also quite alarmed when I researched Hollister, owned by Abercrombie and Fitch, and discovered their whole back story is fake.

What makes this even more intriguing is the fact that there are lots of discussions in the Media about how Social Media is empowering people and Brands need to sit up and listen EG the withdrawal of Gap's rebrand following public pressure.

 I hope you are able to add some 'real world' insight into my research and look forward to hearing from you.
 Best regards Lisa Whitaker

 PS If possible and not too presumptuous I would appreciate a response by Monday 6 May 2013

I contacted (On Andy's advise I focused on Strategic level managers as the questions were considering the 'bigger picture'):

Ian Thompson Creative Director at Thompson Branding
Mike Black at Brass (On the board)
Jason Mortimer at Brass (Art Director)
James Acton at The Brand Nursery
Tim Moyes at Savvy (Head of Design)
Josh Newman at Epitype ( London nased studio who followed me on Twitter)
Lee Bennett at Propaganda (Design director)
Sophie Ward at Pearlfisher (Her articles have been informing my practice)

So far only James Acton got back to me however he did request I send the request through on College letter headed paper as they get a lot of fraudulent requests.  i did so the same day and he got back to me straight away.

Ian Anderson has also responded.

I also sent the redrafted email to Chris Jackson at Elmwood, Michael at 10 Associates

More job applications and Internships

This week I have applied for more job and internships.  From now until FMP I am going to just look at this once a week as it is proving too much of a distraction from FMP.

The companies I have applied to:

I have also applied for an internship at Outside the box which Andy gave me the heads up on:

I have heard back from Savvy who I requested a Studio visit with.  The Head of Design said he will meet up and review my Portfolio.  this was an Agency Lee Goater recommended.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Recruitment Agency

I found a job advertised through an agency called Gloss and was going to call for advice about whether my background made would make any difference to prospective employers.  I have already contacted an agency called Orchard about a job and basically their advise, despite my background, is to target Design studios for placements.  In the meantime I noticed a link on the Gloss' website to a sub company called Creative Protege.  I forwarded this to John as I wasn't sure how legitimate this was. John said there are companies out there like this and usually charge a fee so to scrutinise the T&Cs and don't sign anything!

I scrutinised whats on offer however its not until you start registering that a fee is mentioned.  The fees aren't extortionate by any means however I don't believe I need the CV or on line portfolio help as I basically have this covered.  What interests me is the opportunity to get live briefs and apparently three months 'experience' with a employer on your CV.  They really are in a win-win situation as they will get paid for these briefs by their clients and then get graduates to do the work for free.

I think for me this would be a last resort as I can offer to do live briefs freelance for free(I know we shouldn't) but that's what this is basically.  The only benefit would be you are 'registered' with them and you may be successful securing employment through the agency in the future.  It has given me an idea though.  There is no harm in me approaching companies who i think need a rebrand and seeing if we can come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement.

When I went to Black Marble (the company who really wanted someone to develop into a developer) their own branding/website is shocking especially for a business in this industry.  I really could see how I could have made an immediate impact on the company and I have been thinking of emailing Robert Hogg and telling him so maybe with a few ideas...he seems a really fair employer and if he was interested I am sure I could get paid.