Saturday, September 29

Liverpool & Interviews

This blog has shifted focus slightly over the past month as it has gone from my design work to my search for a design job. I find this change interesting as it allows me to chart my progress from this time last year when I was entering my final year of my degree to now when I am seeking employment and going to interviews. Anyway, onto the focus of this blog post...

Yesterday I was lucky enough to invited to an amazing studio in Liverpool for an interview, I had been aware of the work of this company for some time before as they had been the focus of a lecture in my third year and I had subsequently researched into the exciting and innovative work they do. This was to be my third experience of a "real" interview so I felt confident that I could talk about my work but still nervous that I wouldn't come across well or my mind would just go blank when asked any questions. Thankfully this did not happen.

The interview itself lasted about 30 minutes which allowed me to talk about my work, show my portfolio and answer some questions before getting some constructive feedback. I am a big advocate of constructive feedback as I think it allows you to improve and this surely can only be a benefit, as I was also applying for a junior role I was quite prepared for comments that may be made.

In general I think (hope) the interview went well but was flattered to even be invited for the first round of interviews as the company is quite prestigious. I was informed that a second round of interviews with a set brief would occur and I am desperate to be part of the next step!

In the mean time these are some photos of Liverpool docks which we visited post interview. Despite living only a 45min train ride away for three years at uni I had never been to Liverpool and actually really enjoyed it.

A beautiful sunny day

My windswept parents who insist on coming to interviews with me to get the day off work and
 eat lunch in cool places.

The famous "Liver Bird" in the distance which I had never heard of. See here

Friday, September 21

Updates & The Tate

My blog has suffered a little lately for a range of reasons, one of said reasons is that I had been preparing for a busy week of interviews and meetings and have been working hard to make my portfolio look the best it possibly could.

This week I visited a company that wanted to discuss ways they could promote their 20th anniversary through branding, packaging and promotion and invited me to pitch for the job. This was really exciting as it was something I had little experience of at uni but would definitely be useful for a future in the design industry.

On Tuesday I made my way down to London for an interview about an internship in South Kensington with a small agency that worked with a number of large clients. The interview was more informal than I had been expecting but the interviewer gave me some great feedback which has helped me improve my interview technique.

On Wednesday I got the chance to meet one of the fantastic companies that I had sent my "Lemon Post" to when I was kindly invited to their studio to discuss my portfolio and learn more about the company. Having been to an interview the previous day in London I felt much more prepared and took several work examples, my iPad full with photos and my portfolio. This might seem quite excessive but I was happy to feel that I could answer any question and talk with confidence about my work and my ideas. I felt that the meeting went well and I left a few promotional items with them in the hope they would email me back with some feedback.

It really helped me to research the company in detail beforehand as I could compare my own work to theirs and find similarities and common interests. I think this also shows how much you want to work for the company that you take such an interest.

In general the past few days have been quite successful and I feel that I am getting somewhere with my job hunt and that perseverance and dedication will pay off in the end.

In the mean time these are some photos from The Tate Modern. I particularly enjoyed the new exhibitions in "The Tanks" which you can see here. I do enjoy art but some of the pieces I saw did throw me a bit, but see what you think for yourself and please excuse the iPhone snaps. 

St. Pauls

"The Tanks" new Tate exhibition

Jeff Keen's vibrant pop art instillation  



My mum enjoying the work on show

One of the pieces I found hard to understand...

Cheeky Krispy Kreme at the end of the day

Monday, September 10

Updates: Books & Website

This post is a general round up of a few things I have been working on, looking at and trying to do. My current main aim is trying to find a job within the design industry, balanced between some freelance projects and my less exciting day job. I am trying to make a conscious effort to keep integrated with design and new projects so this is a short round up of some thoughts and designs.

First up is a book that I was recently given by my friend Abbie, a friend and fellow designer. The book itself is a collection of six fairytales by The Brothers Grimm with illustrations from David Hockney, if you don't know who David Hockney is then you should definitely check out his work here (he's kind of a big deal).

The stories are very traditional and stick with the Brother Grimm heritage as some are quite gruesome. The main focus for me are the illustrations which are intricate and finely detailed; perfectly suited to the imaginative and magical stories. See some photos below.

Secondly I have been working on a new website; when I'm not trying to be a graphic designer I am working at my parents pub as a waitress and barmaid. Recently I was able to merge the two and create a new website for the pub using some of my basic, but improving web design skills.

The pub is called The Queens and you can visit the site at The site is mainly finished but subject to some tweaking so be aware that changes are being made to improve the site constantly.

I was aiming for a clean look punctuated with images which I think has been achieved. My next step is to make the gallery more user interactive as currently the images can't be selected.

Thirdly, I have been searching for jobs and following up contact I made with companies regarding my lemon letters and lemon post. Last tuesday I went to visit one of the companies who kindly invited me for a portfolio review which was great to feel like I have made some kind of impression and getting positive feedback. Finding a job, especially your first job after graduation can be tricky but I'm hoping persistence will pay off and I will get somewhere in the near future.

Thursday, September 6

Ipad Designer Apps #1

For my birthday last week I was fortunate enough to receive an iPad. Of course, like most people I thought they were cool, but how could the be more than just a toy? Although great for films, internet browsing and games, how could I use the iPad to help me as a designer?

I investigated into a few apps and these are some that I think are useful tool to make the iPad work as a tool for designers'.


First up is Evernote; essentially a mood board app where by images, internet clippings, recordings and notes can be kept together. Before I downloaded this app I thought it sounded great; as a designer, collecting inspirations and notes can prove invaluable and as the app is free, it was definitely on my download list. 

When I started to use the app I found it was very easy to use and explained the features well. The interface is relatively simple so anybody with basic computer knowledge should be able to master Evernote in a matter of minutes. 

Pros: Very easy to use, useful app, free and can sync between devices
Cons: Only tiny, but I did find a broken link on the "getting started" page.

Download Evernote here for free

PS Express

The Adobe creative suite is the industry standard when it comes to graphic design so I knew whatever app the brought out would be worth downloading. Unfortunately, Adobe don't yet have their creative suite iPad ready but this basic alternative does the trick when it comes to simple image editing. 

Users select a photo and can then choose from a range of effects, borders and filters to edit the image. But don't panic! It's not all inverted colours and posterize; you can really achieve some photos if you take the time to play around. I predominately use this programme for simple image editing if I'm using my iPad to blog with. 

The only downside to this product are the added cost of some features which you initially presume to be free. Of course, you can just have the app with no added "bundles" but the editing capacity is extremely limited.

Pros: similar interface to other Adobe products, good quality edited images can be achieved.
Cons: Sneaky added "bundles" mean the app is not entirely free. You don't have to add them but you do have more options if you do add them on.

I have tried a few image editing apps for iPad and this is by far the best.

Get PS Express here for free

Penultimate (from the makers of Evernote)

A very simple note pad add with a range of different papers, pen colours and pen widths. This app is not a miracle app but it is extremely useful, and the range of squared, lined or plain paper makes it useful for a number of tasks.

You can go onto the "paper shop" and add various other types of papers including music sheets, "Young Writers" paper with extra spaced lines, "games" paper and photo pages. Every added package is 69p but does make the app of much more multi functional.

You can sync Penultimate with Dropbox and Evernote and adjust the many settings to customise the programme to the user.

Pros: Easy to use, range of papers, add more "notebooks" to keep order of your notes, you can also add a photo into the page which can be great for annotations.
Cons: Not many pen colours or widths.

Overall a great little app.

Get the app here for a very reasonable 69p


Finally, it's the Pinterest app; I think Pinterest must of been made for iPads because they are perfect partners. Pinterest is designed for internet browsing and inspiration which is made all the better when you can have an iPad on your lap and a tea in your hand as you flick through your "pins" and "likes" with ease. For a designer, having a collection of inspiring images you can so easily view is definitely an app worth having. 

Pros: I find Pinterest on the iPad a lot easier than iPhone due to the larger screen and being able to use the touch screen makes it a lot easier than a mac. 
Cons: None. It's free and a useful networking tool so what is there not to like?

Get Pinterest here for free