A Self-Authored Journey into the World of Graphic Design
Explore the global graphic design industries, and identify where you think are the five best places in the world to become a graphic designer, and why.
While researching the five best places in the world to become a graphic designer, I took more interest not only on the opportunities that exist for art, culture, and graphic design specifically but also how other factors such as how varied and diverse the overall place was.
In no particular order, United Kingdom, although with the new unknown rules and consequences from Brexit, this place is full of opportunities to grow, connect and improve as a graphic designer, artist and person. The strong international side from the UK creates the perfect ambient to recognize industry patterns and understand what steps the giants took; but while growing becomes easy, standing out becomes much harder.
Another Country with a very international side would be France, although much more culturally interested in Fine Art, Fashion and Music, France continues to uphold a lot of opportunities to learn and grow on History and Culture. While it is equally harder to stand out as in the UK, France acts as the centre of Europe, which means France is also full of different cultures and cultures, potentially making it easier to reach out for more connections within Europe.
With the objective of standing out, it might be worth looking into places like Australia. After suffering from growth and already having a stabilized route, one of the approaches might be to settle on another country such as Australia. Remaining central in international relationships, Australia also settles with a very open opportunity for independence as it contains a very drastic contrast in time zone, biome, and social-economic culture.
Portugal is a small poor country rich in iconic culture, art, and biome variety. However, the government does not give value to Portugal’s rich culture, which means standing out, specially from international eyes, becomes much easier and is potentially the best way to stay alive in Portugal while paying low rent compared to other countries. A very close alternative would be New Zealand, although much social-economically richer and with less iconic culture, it offers a very open high ground of positive-income, rich environments, Government & Healthcare benefits.
Identify the graphic design and/or creative agencies you would most like to work for (a minimum of three, and at least two UK-based). Research and analyse their design ethos and creative processes, before demonstrating an informed opinion on what attributes you think they might look for in future employees - and what you think you could offer them they don’t already have. And why they should believe you.
In this ever-changing digital world, adaptability, I believe, is one of the most important factors when creating human designs and solutions for today’s problems. For this reason, my research on creative agencies has mostly been for Digital, Dynamic and World-Changing studios that have somehow set the bar high up in some regard.
In no particular order, Mother London is an icon for memorable yet easy to explain concepts. No matter the medium, whether it is a moving ad or a poster campaign, each Mother’s project feels strong and unique. From my perspective, it seems they value more great ideas generation than technical skillsets; a skillset which I believe distinguishes good designers from great ones.
ILOVEDUST perfectly combines cutting-edge technology with inspiring, innovative work. Their exploration and combination of 3D and amazing Art Direction shows their value towards balancing between having a very dynamic technical skillset and an eye for design and art direction. This balance, no matter what project or medium, is essential for a great design.
A few studios, such as Field.io and MultiAdaptor have a lot of experience in being dynamic, flexible and providing strong user experience. While Field.io looks more for cutting-edge technology and thus knowledge and history in technology, MultiAdaptor usually thrives in motion graphics, but it thrives more on video editing.
OMSE construct strategic and effective brands, built from the ground up with interactive and digital design in mind. The interactivity and the way they show their ideas via simple but clever ideas present on their projects is inspiring, as well an example of their interest in strategy and design experimentation.
In every project that Moving Brands has worked on, the combination between the thought of the digital world and the visually clearness has been passionately implemented. Moving Brands, I believe, are the father of digitalization for their heritage-celebrated rebrands, while at the same time thinking about being in motion.
For variety of mediums and sectors, where amazing art direction really shines, I could not think than any other agencies than Hingston and BigActive. While Hingston works more on branding and inspiring dynamic systems, BigActive explores design experimentation in content creation and albums. Both agencies seem to value more art direction and design experimentation than technical skillset, as they explore many mediums and materials for the greatest expression.
Great Design usually invokes change. When revolving around making a change in our world, Accept&Proceed and MediaMonks thrive in exploring inspiring bold simplicity to connect with the audience.
Analyse the differences between the roles of a Graphic Designer, Creative, and Art Director, and evaluate the pros and cons of each.
While analysing the different positions possible for a Graphic Design graduate, the most importance is understanding the differences and the simple system that overalls these roles.
Imagining an authoritative system similar to a democracy, Art Directors, Creatives and Graphic Designers work collaboratively and independently to design solutions to the worst of problems.
Art Directors, usually working alongside Copywriters, organise their teams and time while envisioning and directing each brief’s answer. This vision is constantly reviewed by the Creative Director, whose aim is to manage the company’s strategy, keep consistency and focus on the studio’s overall communication.
While Graphic Designers are the idea generators and use their skillset to produce designs based on the ideas and vision asserted by the Art Director, the role of a Creative might only consist of idea generation or design conceptualization while following the Art Director’s vision as a bible instead of a guide.
Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your own work (you must include multiple visual examples), before creating an action-plan to develop your strengths, and address your weaknesses. Your action plan must take the form of a well-designed table, and include personal targets with dates.
During my academic life, I have developed an interest in research, analysis, and strategic creative conceptualisation, specially on the digital medium. While designing on physical static mediums such as packaging design, my creative experience is much lower as I personally find the medium tedious, limited and restrictive.
During my creative process I am constantly switching between being rational in my solutions and being creatively expressive, a state that seems uncommon in the industry as rational thinking seems to stop or not be given enough emphasis on research and analysis besides on data gathering and target audience. While answering a brief, most of the times I focus on creating a complex solution, which drifts me away from giving a simpler, cleverer, and bolder solution instead. These weaknesses are very easily seen on a university project where I aimed to combat loneliness through web design; with my focus on its features and strategy, the creative conceptualisation was lost during it.
While comparing my overall presentation with my colleagues or other professionals, it clearly faces a lack of polish, cleanness, and boldness on my design choices. Combining this weakness with the possibility of not clearly understanding what’s aesthetic, or perhaps misjudgement of priorities, can be seen in my constant drive for individualism but not popularity; as in I want to stand out in an industry and community where everyone is different and has a following but at the same time I am not interested, and thus have not put anytime on social media, audience gathering and trending participating.
Develop further my skills in combining rational thinking and creative expression, by focusing on delivering cleaner, bolder and more clever concepts.
Until September 2022
Increase my network by asking for feedback to mentors and colleagues as well enter groups like Young Creative Council.
Until September 2021
Gain a positive Instagram following (more followers than people I follow).
Until September 2021
Research and understand what the industry looks for, physical and digitally, designing daily for own improvement, competitions and challenges.
For 31 days starting June 2021
Using class discussion as a starting point, demonstrate informed opinion on some of the key challenges currently facing graphic design(ers). State how you think they might impact on your future role in the industry, and what you think you can bring to the world of design that will help to address some of these challenges.
In our society there’s the common expectation that those who have creativity and critical thinking, specially at early age, will become artists or designers. According to Jo Wallace, the Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson, “Since coronavirus turned the world upside down scientists have been working 24/7 to come up with a vaccine and the more I learn about their approach, the more I realise that scientists apply creative thinking just as much as scientific rigour to outsmart this well-honed killer” (2020); an opinion which I agree with but at the same time perplexes me.
The continuation of this threatening expectation drives people to underestimate creativity as an unreachable and untouchable talent that only is gifted to a few in a million instead of a learnable skill. This perception of creativity and critical thinking not only affects their personal and professional lives, but also their perceptions of the creative industry and quality that a professional designer can provide to their company and/or our society.
This phenomenon combined with the rising of AI systems that produce digital content such as logos and social media posts for an exhaustingly low price, drives the actual professionals to either fight with these highly lucrative unstoppable companies or for the highly competitive thousands of dollars from the actual companies that value such skills. On the other side, this event also explains the highly dense amount of people in, or more appropriately trying to get in the creative industry, essentially making it harder to be different and to stand out; even thought at the same time the industry is considered quite small because of the networking and movement inside it (Kim, 2020).
Assuming that this problem will remain unsolved even with the collaborative creative efforts while fighting COVID-19 and the rising awareness of data-driven multi-level marketing schemes, I believe this issue can start being solved with awareness. Creativity isn’t a locked-up talent, it’s a skill that everyone, no matter the age or background, should embrace and practice. Our general definition, and most importantly, our awareness of creativity must change by creating the challenge and culture to dare be creative.
Using established design blogs as your resource; find an interview with a leading graphic designer or creative, and tell us why they’re wrong. Delve-deep for this question to find an opinion you strongly and genuinely disagree with.
“Go to the root, reduce it until you reach the core of the idea.” This is one of the sentences that was ingrained on my mind in one of my first weeks after starting my degree in Graphic Design. While minimalist works wonders for creating great designs, it may also sometimes result on the flatness of one.
“To me, minimalism is synonymous with the future. It is something that humans gain after deep contemplation.” (Takahashi, 2019). With the rise of AI systems, that use and abuse minimalism into creating soulless designs while failing to understand, follow (and break) the rules of Graphic Design, this quote perplexes me.
While I personally agree with Takahashi’s quote, I find the need to express that while minimalist generally comes as a result of deep contemplation, it no longer represents a fully human process only influenced by years of experience. Exceptional ideas and extraordinary art direction are currently something that our current technology is not able to replace; but as more people improve into those areas and develop such skillsets, we will eventually have a shortage of graphic designers.
As we start using more and more cutting-edge technology, as we will, resorting to minimalist is no longer going to result in the most humane design. What follows might actually be connection.
Perhaps the way we connect and influence cultures and/or mutual interests it is what makes a design feel human. Perhaps it is the inspiration taken from previous designs with a twist that AI systems can only blatantly copy. Perhaps it is something we have not realised yet.
Wallace, J. (2020). Interview with Jo Wallace on 21st April, 2020. On My Radar: Jo Wallace. Available online. [Accessed on 10/04/2021].
Kim, N. (2020). Interview with Natalie Kim on 24th March, 2020. WPP: Understanding the power of your network. Available online. [Accessed on 20/04/2021].
Takahashi, Y. (2019). Interview with Yuta Takahashi on 28th December, 2018. Creator Conversations with Yuta Takahashi by Carl MH Barenbrug. Available online. [Accessed on 20/04/2021].