Thursday, 27 October 2011

Manchester Book Fair

Photos taken from our day out at the Manchester book fair. It was a lovely day - got chatting to a few people about their work, did some letterpressing and spoke to a few people coming to look at the work we put out - all promising stuff - especially for those of us that sold. 

Someone got in touch... with me

So, I've started working at a radio station as a personal assistant - thought it was a good opportunity to get into the music world, get to more gigs etc and Adam my boss has said I can help work on some websites for bands with him, which is great.
Anyway, I was replying to one band's member who then went on to ask me if I was a design student as well and this is the conversation that has followed since...


Thanks that's great! The reason I asked is because I had a look at your blog and saw that you were keen on designing for people interested in sport and improving your skills in digital. I particularly like 'Design Brief Ten - Surfing' - is that one of your own?

Anyway - I work as a senior designer at Sky Sports (Digital Media), based in Leeds, primarily on digital products for web, iPad, etc. so if you want to send me a few examples of your work and/or your CV I will keep you in the loop if any opportunities you might be interested in crop up?

Hey Rick,
Hope you're well.
My boss just forwarded your email onto me.
Thankyou so much for getting in touch! It's mad how a person is searchable and all sorts comes up and you managed to find my blog! Yeah I'm really into sport - my current brief is working on something for the 20th anniversary of the premier league. Yeah the surfing brief is something I've set myself - but working on it from January.
I'm predominantly an illustrator at present but work across cross media and am keen to develop my skills in digital. I wanted to get in touch today to let you know I got your email and I'll put together my work today and send it across.
I was wondering if it would be possible to pop into the studio sometime - for a chat? See what goes on etc.
Thankyou so much again for getting in touch and allowing me the opportunity to show me my work.
"Great - looking forward to seeing your work but don't worry about putting a load of stuff together - It'd be good to see what you come up with for the Premier League and Surfing briefs though and if you're doing any digital stuff I'll be happy to give feedback. I'm working in London a lot at the moment on an iPad project but I'll have a word with my boss when I'm based back in Leeds full-time about you popping down.


Really lovely to get some correspondence that I really never expected. I'm going to put together my work over the next few days to send to him and really hope I can get something out of it.

Visiting Professional - Robbie Porter

Really lovely to get a young professional in who's in a transitional phase from student to full time professional - was really encouraging to see someone who's doing what I want to in a few months time. Really enjoyed his presentation and then he was really lovely enough to chat to me after about my practice and look through some of my work. I did ask him how he went about getting work - whether or not he had a agent as a freelancer - which he said he was looking into now - so I think it would be really helpful for me to start look at agencies now.

Correspondence via Twitter:
  thanks for your talk and chatting to me today - really useful - top guy.
thanks for showing me your work! great stuff, keep it up!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

PPD Discussion

Today I felt like I have a focus - and a direction to take my work and practice - which felt really good.
I had felt that I was looking too much into working for a company and it was really putting me off when I know I want to be a freelance illustrator and it was really encouraging to hear it wasn't just me.
So now I feel I have even more focus off the back of today's tutorial and have a few points to focus PPD this year on:
  • Enter competitions
  • Enter into magazines - such as computer arts
  • Look at agents - CIA, Thoroughgood, Mieklejon etc
  • Set up Tumblr, Behance, Cargo, Website etc
  • Look into intellectual property more and copyright
  • Think about applying watermarks to work set to newspapers, sports teams etc.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

PPD Year 3 Discussion - Group Tutorial

"Could we ask you to reflect on the Summer and any work experience, meetings and visits you may have had. Come prepared to discuss within the groups"
Questions to think about and discuss:

1. What major point stands out in your learning of this experience?
Didn't manage to get any placements or studio visits due to traveling and working, but the experience gained through traveling has given me a new perspective  on life - where I want to be, what I want to do in terms of business - i.e. I preferably want to move across to New York and be a freelancer. I have managed however, to line up a studio visit at a friend's photographers studio as I want to develop my skills in this area - understand how the lighting works etc and try and develop skills in Photoshop. One major point over the summer was getting feedback from Craig Ward (need to work on my illustration skills and make sure the finish is there) and Mr Bingo (who kindly said to contact him after I've graduated to go down for a visit).
I did contact a few studios in America before I went away - unfortunately no one got back to me and the time constraints in each place made it difficult and slightly pointless for me to ask to pop to any studios.

2.What one thing would you have done differently whilst there or in preparation?
Contacted American studios last Christmas rather than in May - give more time to contacting. Made more time in August to visit British studios. 

3. Has it changed your outlook on the business going into your final year?
From a cultural point of view, yes - I do want to live abroad now (I think) and after speaking to a couple of freelance illustrators I do realise this is what I want to do (eventually) but then again, I've not spent any time on placement - so need to see what that's like first.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Email reply from Craig Ward... something to aim for.

Hello Steph, thanks for getting in touch and pleased you like the work.

Not really sure what advice to give on your work as it seems a little thin in the typography department  It's  fun piece but, a little bit done. Alex Trochut did some lovely illustrations of typography made from shoelaces a while back for Nike I think, maybe take a look.

I guess overall I'd just say make sure the finish is there - the illustrations are fine but a little naive - and if you want to work for higher end clients ultimately you'll have to raise the bar in that department.

If you have a genuine interest in typography I'd suggest you spend some more time working on it. The clean type you have in there is fine but very safe too so I'd suggest pushing the boundaries a little more. Learn the rules first and then you can break them. The good news is there's no rush. I had no idea what kind of work I was going to do until 2 years after I'd graduated but I used that time to do a lot of experimentation and would suggest you do the same.

Hope that's of any help whatsoever, and good luck!

Really didn't expect to hear anything back from him at all. And while it's knocked me a little bit it is positive in the fact that I have time to be more creative - push the boundaries etc and get better... I'm still learning and I do have time - I just need to accept that and learn to make mistakes!! Thanks Craig. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Aw a reply I didn't expect! :)

Hello Steph,

Thanks for the lovely email.

Glad you liked the talk, that's great to hear.

I'm afraid I find it really, really hard to crit peoples work, I guess that's why I don't teach!
I'm good at giving advice about how to get into illustration and how to find work and how to cost jobs etc...
I'm also too busy to answer every email asking for advice I'm afraid!
I'd need a coup[le of hours a day to answer every email!
What I do is, if people are really keen and willing to come to my studio once they've graduated, I'll chat to you for an hour about illustration and give you advice.
That's the best I can offer I'm afraid.

Thanks for getting in touch and all the best!

Mr Bingo
What a nice guy!!!  And really nice to get a response from someone! Bit of a confidence boost even if I didn't get any feedback - nice to get some contact in the professional world!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Friday, 27 May 2011

End of module Evaluation ougd203

This module has been a massive learning curve for me in terms of beginning to decide what type of designer I want to be and having to understanding what the difference between needing to do something and wanting to. Having done the design practice brief I really enjoyed it as it was more the type of design i.e. design for music that really interests me so I felt more passion for it. Also illustrating is something that really interests me so it was enjoyable to mainly focus on that aspect of it. However I do feel I need to get faster at it and develop a more distinct / better style but this is something I have time to work on and can improve upon.
I feel as well that I could have spent so much more time trying to get the images right and feel I concentrated too much on just illustrating so definitely need to get faster. In terms of a design strategy I think this will be something to focus on for my 3rd year - it's what I'm good at. One thing I need to think about is how the image might look in context - I've left massive areas around the image so when trying to put into context it is often in a circle or a square so I need to start thinking about how it might look on a product.
I was disappointed that I ran out of time to screen print up some t-shirts and this in the future will need factoring in as it is something I want to get better at but need better time management skills. 

Having learned about building and making websites, this too is something that I really started to enjoy - there's so much to learn but it felt great to add another string to my skills. If I'm been honest I think if the brief was to design a website for ourselves it might have been more rewarding, but there's no reason why I can't do this over the summer as well.
The YCN brief I found the most challenging in terms of having to marry my style with someone elses. I do feel I struggled to put my stamp on it and the end result wasn't really me at all. I need to be more commanding at times and a little bit less shy.
All in all like I say it has been a big learning curve but I now feel I have a more decisive direction to base my 3rd year on so it's been very rewarding.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Serial Cut

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Enterprise Evaluation

This module has really been beneficial to me and given me the confidence to go out into the world of work without feeling I'm going to get ripped off. I think the lectures were structured in a way that made it easy to understand without being bombarded with heavy business jargon. I also think that it has been very worthwhile learning how to manage money and various sections of business structures, as it makes going into the work place a much less scarier thing to think about.
However, having to do some of the tests has been a little difficult for me to get my head around - trying to understand SWOT and PEST has been quite difficult to apply to real life situations and companies without being rude. 
I've also found it a bit difficult to think about what it is I want to do and where it is I want to go, but having done the group business plan and looking around at various companies in various areas has made me think very quickly what it is I want to do. 
I feel that our group presentation went really well. We decided to split the business plan into 4 main areas - location, SWOT/PEST, start up costs and finance and I think this made it really manageable to break down as I don't think our presentation would have been as thorough as it was and I was so pleased with the feedback we got from Jane after the presentation. 
I also want to thank my group for making the group process really easy, despite the challenging content at times I think we had a strong, hard working group and I think all the research we did fitted really well together. We were good at making decisions and it made the process very quick and enjoyable to do. It was nice at times to think that what we were doing was real and that we could potentially do this in the future or doing it individually which made it quite exciting. 
I think a massive positive came out of this module / presentation, which was the fact that I felt quite confident getting up and speaking in front of a group of people, which has given me even more confidence which is definitely going to benefit me in the future. I feel I can talk to people now and am overcoming my shyness. 

Enterprise Presentation

Open publication - Free publishing - More enterprise

My section to talk about during the presentation (notes):
  • In order to get hold of capital we need to obtain a bank loan which requires us to put up half of the £25000 start up costs ourselves - show level of commitment to the business. 
  • As business is 4 years in future - gives us time to work for our share or borrow from family and friends (£3215).
  • Based on interest rates with Alliance and Lecister of 6.9% APR typical, a loan of £12500 payable over 3 years would be £385 a month.
  • To obtain loan - need to provide cash flow showing indirect costs - insurance, utilities etc and direct costs such as wages.
  • Whilst attracting new clients we foresee the 1st 6 months to be difficult financially.
  • We predict sales for 1st month to be £6400 and after 6 months achieve £13200 a month to break even. We envisage to have enough money left over from start up loan to cover overhead costs in the 1st 6 months. 
  • We had decided to keep track of our own accounts using a Microsoft accountancy package to cut costs of paying an accountant. 
  • We each need to work an average of 16.5 days a month - 8 hours a day to cover costs. This will be challenging in the initial stages whilst attracting new clients. 
  • To compensate we have raised our base hourly rate of a cost covering £16.40 to £25 each an hour - £800 for all 4 of us for 8 hours.

Links to the others PPD sites in my group

So... in summary - what have we chosen?

What type of company? Partnership.
Which bank loan?

Which insurance? Barcalays banks loan:

Where do we stand on a solicitor? Keep in touch with one but only pay as and when we actually need one.
Where do we stand on an accountant? Manage our own accounts using a Microsoft package. Cut costs.
What is our desired annual salary each? £22000
What is our daily rate? £25 an hour - £800 as a studio (based on all four of us working 8 hrs a day).
Projected cash sales for the first 6 months:

Various bank loans - which is the cheapest


Go Compare

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Possibility of grants as start up


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Business Insurance


Typical insurance quote from Barcalays:

Some other quotes from other insurers:

What do banks look for when assess loan applications?

Checklist for bank loans:

Legal and Accountancy Representation


Legal Advice:

What sort of things to ask a solicitor:

Tax, Records to keep, VAT etc...


HM Revenue and Customs:

We are thinking for our business to not have an accountant, but rather do it ourselves - allowing for it within our daily rate charge - taking out 12 days (i.e. one a month for admin work and accounts) this way we save money - so flat rate VAT would work out the best scheme for us to use.