What was your original plan before you graduated for getting a job
The plan was to get any design job I could, freelance for two years outside of work hours with a classmate, Jay Woods, then resign from our jobs to focus on building design agency of our own.
And how does that compare to what really happened?
Haha somewhat different. We both gained full-time employment shortly after graduating and got stuck into it. We worked hard outside office hours to get our client base growing but it was a difficult balancing act. We eventually gave it away to focus on our 9-5’s and a few other projects, as well as lives away from work. I’ve now been working in-house at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for almost 5 years and am about to make the move to Oven Creative, which has me really excited.
Do you have any tips for soon to be graduates or the best advice you received.
Find a mentor. If you end up working in-house on your own or as a solo freelancer, make friends with some designers a few years your senior and ask them to review your work. They’ll give you plenty of feedback, advice and knowledge as well as access to other valuable contacts. Also, when freelancing, make sure you get a signed contract before starting any work.
Describe your typical day and what students can expect from working in industry.
I usually start the day by taking the dog for a walk – I find getting moving helps get my brain started and makes for a more productive morning. When I get into the office I’ll fire up my beast of a PC (It’s been at Currumbin longer than I have and is somehow still running) and check my emails and job sheets. Once that’s all sorted I’ll check my calendar for any meetings and get a rough plan of the day worked out before getting to it. I’ll grab a quick lunch around midday then back at it until about 2 when I usually hit a massive wall – COFFEE TIME! If I’m feeling a bit flat, I’ll check out a few blogs for stimulation/inspiration, then get back to it until about 5-5:30. From my experience as a new grad, be prepared for a bit of grunt work before getting into the good stuff. Take as much as you can from this time and work on your efficiency. Also, the amount of work will come in ebbs and flows. You might have tonnes of work one week and a manageable amount the next.
Who are your three most inspiring speakers?
Luke Lucas – My favourite typographer – www.lukelucas.com
GMunk (Bradley G Munkowitz) – rad dude, amazing scope of work – pipe.gmunk.com
Kelli Anderson – very clever woman with beautiful work – kellianderson.com
What do you think TDK does well to facilitate the gap between students and industry and what could we do better?
It can be pretty nerve racking and sometimes difficult making contact with agencies. TDK provide awesome opportunities for students, grads and agencies to work together on projects, facilitating conversations that may not happen otherwise.
TDK are doing an amazing job. I’d love to see them put on a show or two on the Gold Coast. We’ve got some really talented people kicking around and the scene is just getting bigger and better.
How did you get your first job?
It was really a case of right place, right time. I started working at Currumbin on the high-ropes course. One day the CEO was walking by and stopped for a chat. He asked what I did outside of work and if I had any other skills. When I told him my background he asked me to do a few trial days working with the then Senior Designer. I completed my trial days and they must have thought I was cool enough to keep around as I’ve been in the Marketing Department ever since.
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?
1. Introduced myself to people already within the industry, even if it was just an email saying ‘Hi, here’s my work. What do you think?’
2. Kept my writing skills fresh. Being able to write and edit small chucks of copy is really valuable skill.
3. Networked a lot more.
4. Entered more student design competitions. These are great for adding to your portfolio.
5. Taken a photography class.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years time I see myself still working at Oven Creative, having helped grow it to become one of the top agencies on the Gold Coast. I hope to have produced a book/magazine among other projects, as well as helped newcomers find their feet in the industry.