Original Interview: December 2013

Chai Jeffery

Chai has an eye (and a knack!) for typography and hand illustrations. Here is the inside scoop on the life of Chai and the real world of Freelancing…

What was your original plan before you graduated for getting a job and how does that compare to what really happened?
Like every student wants, it would be absolutely amazing getting a job right after graduation. But unfortunately the world just isn’t that kind. After graduation I still felt like there was  so much to learn. I felt like I hadn’t been around design enough to start hustling out in a world where there were way too many talented and experienced people. I’d go through phases where I’d apply for jobs until there were no more jobs to apply for. Still to this day I haven’t received a response other then “you have been shortlisted” or “you have been unsuccessful”. So basically I tried working on my craft with a lot of self initiated projects. Which then lead to me doing a lot of Freelance work.

How did you get your first job?
For some reason I feel like it’s weird to say that my “Freelance” design work is a “job”. It might be because I pursue it part time or because I’m technically my own boss. But calling that a job feels strange to me for some reason. But a lot of my clients have simply been friends of friends. One would pass the word onto another that I’m a Graphic Designer. Then we’d get together and discuss what they wanted and take things from there. Starting out, all my clients were pretty much just starting up small business’s. So I guess those experiences would make up my first job.

chai_jeffery

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I think the funny thing is I can’t see myself in 5 years. This is so far from what I expected to be doing with myself. But that’s half  the fun I guess. I think when you try to dictate progress or force an outcome,  you then try to justify everything as to whether or not it will make you reach your goal. From all my design experiences I learnt to simply let go of all those things and just take care of whats in-front of you. Later you can look back to see those results. Like my favourite Carhartt  shirts says “The Journey Is the Reward.

Describe your typical day and what students can expect from working in industry.
My day is all over the place. Purely dependant on deadlines. Right now I’m working full time in hospitality which is my main source of income. So every other hour of the day tends to be free game to try and cram in as much as possible. After finishing my day job I’ll race home and hit the sketch book drawing up ideas and keep pushing for something that feels unique to me. May not be the golden story that students want to here but it is a demanding industry. Being deadline focused is the only way you can really survive. Especially as a freelancer. Starting out there’ll be completely new experiences. You’ll start receiving feedback that seems over the top, you’ll here comparisons to things you hate or you’ll spend all night working on something for a client to change their mind. Unfortunate but these are the realities of the design world. In hind sight it’s the hard things that make us who we are. It’s all conditioning to make you a stronger and better person. So just take what you have to on the cheek and keep on moving.