Original Interview: December 2013

Anthony Gagliardi

We chat to student/grad/AGDA designer Anthony Gagliardi from Adelaide about his tips for the future…

What was your original plan before you graduated for getting a job and how does that compare to what really happened?
To build up a strong portfolio that I was happy with and then get in touch with a few selected studios whose work I respected and enjoyed. After graduating from TAFE I helped out at the Australian Graphic Design Association (link to www.agda.com.au) doing design work here and there and it led to a full time position in a multi-faceted communications/design role as part of the national team. As of this year I have cut back to part time at AGDA and am doing a few subjects at Uni, with hopes of doing some short term study overseas. I am also collaborating with fellow designer Tobias Blackwood (link to http://www.bytobias.com) on a few projects under the name Porta (link to www.studioporta.com.au). I guess I have been kind of lucky that all of my jobs have come as a result of being contacted by the employer because they either knew me personally and my work, or I was recommended for the position by someone.

Do you have any tips for soon to be graduates or the best advice you received?
– Network and try to meet people. Be yourself. Be a good person.
– Be confident in your abilities.
– Know what the standard industry is. Research what people are doing. Be wary of trends.
– Look at studios whose work you feel aligns well with your own work, or work you would want to do.
– If you are showing a portfolio in person or sending a physical one in to a studio make it a design piece itself. Don’t do the black folder with plastic sleeves thing. Make it unique and memorable.
– Quality over quantity. Showing a few of your best pieces is better than showing a ton of stuff that isn’t all strong.
– Photograph/present your work professionally. Put some effort into it – it shows that you take yourself and your work seriously.
– If you don’t find work straight away don’t give up or stop designing. Keep doing self initiated projects, collaborate with other designers, and do other creative things outside of design.
– Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the job. It happens. Find out what you need to improve on and work on it.
– Have interests and do things outside of design. Sure, a huge part of your life needs to be focused on it, but do other things. Build up inspiration and resources from living and experiencing things in your own time – be it books, cinema, art, travel, music, cooking, making furniture etc.
– Read books.

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Describe your typical day and what students can expect from working in industry.
It changes from day to day as my role isn’t just pure design but the structure is normally along the lines of:
– Get to work
– Go through a ton of emails
– Combination of design work/meetings and talking to people/website & communications work.
– Go home

Expect to:
Have a lot of fun, but be professional. Be able to put ideas forward, but also take criticism on the chin. Be flexible.

Who are your three most inspiring speakers?
3 designers/studios that inspire me:
Laurenz Brunner (http://www.laurenzbrunner.com/)
Hort (http://www.hort.org.uk/)
Mash (http://www.mashdesign.com.au/)

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What do you think TDK does well to facilitate the gap between students and industry and what could we do better?
TDK is a great way for students to meet and work with established designers and studio owners without having to awkwardly approach them at events or in public with your card, or rock up on their doorstep uninvited. I think TDK are doing a good job at it too.

How did you get your first job?
I was put forward for a position by a lecturer who I am still good mates with 3 plus years after graduating. Cheers Tim +

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What would be the five things you would make sure you had done before you graduated if you went back and did it all again?
– Experiment more.
– Take more risks.
– Make more mistakes
– Study abroad.
– Paint more.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
A lot can happen in 5 years! Working for and with other creative people I respect here or overseas, or running my own studio. As long as I can work on interesting and creatively fulfilling projects with good people I am happy.

anthonygagliardidesign.tumblr.com
studioporta.com.au
www.agda.com.au