Brenton Craig – Part-time teacher at the Brisbane Shillington College and Creative Director at Autumn tells us some pretty funny / naughty things he has done to get ahead in the design world, also the importance of finding your aesthetic and the danger of always trying to diversify your skills.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? After graduating high school in 2003 I did a certificate II in arts that touched on oil painting, illustration, live drawing, animation, art theory and graphic design. I was lured by the cool factor of ‘digital art’ that graphic design presented and that same year got the chance to design a logo for a local IT Business. It was when the client expressed just how much they loved the logo character I had designed that I fell in love with the process of crafting based on a creative brief. There is something still so wonderful about having a happy client after delivering on an aesthetic that successfully helps their business or project communicate and move forward. My first logo in 2004
What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened? My plan was to actually graduate but I bailed on the course when I got a job offer at an advertising agency. At the time I remember feeling really creatively stifled while studying and was keen for a more challenging landscape. So I started apply for jobs at studios and agencies with my limited work and it turned out being the best move for me personally. When you hit the ground at an agency that rookie you have to grow really quickly, I found myself in that challenge more so than in the set pace of course curriculum.
What three naughty things have you done in your career to get ahead? 1. Lied about the level of my coding skill to a client’s face.
2. Downloaded stock images for freelance work on an agency credits.
3. Sneakily removed the ‘Junior’ from ‘Junior Art Director’ on my business cards before being sent to print.
What advice would you give students starting out? Focus! Find yourself, your aesthetic, your style, your niche or whatever and work that thing! If that isn’t clear then at the very least, as your career progresses, remain on the path of discovering it. The danger of always trying to diversify your skill set is that you will become a master of nothing. This meaning learning to say no and educating clients of where your value is. Through my own experience I’ve discovered that designers that take on anything and everything are generally less respected, lack focus and subsequently paid less… 0_0
2016 for you in a sentence. Consciously and confidently designing from a perspective that reflects my own aesthetic and not a prescribed trend or style.