For AGES we’ve been following the work of Glenn Garriock co-founder of the ten year old blog FormFiftyFive. Originally form Scotland, and now living in Germany, we’re stoked to be able to interview him for TDK and hear more about the new FFF podcast, his lego collection and top advice for students – one to bookmark. Also please listen to his podcast as he has a great Scottish accent, wink wink!
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
Probably building cities with Lego but I have a vivid memory of drawing pixel type on graph-paper before I had ever seen a computer screen. I also used to collect cool packaging for reasons that were beyond me at a young age.
What does a typical working day include for you right now?
I work between my home office, a co-working space in Hannover and Supernovae in Berlin. So depending on where I am that day I’ll try and get up at 7pm do 20min of HIIT training, shower and have breakfast while spending an hour on emails and social media. I spend about 30min per day on FormFiftyFive tasks if my workload allows it. I try to work on one client project per day but usually smaller tasks and amends will sneak in from other projects throughout the day. I have lunch around 1pm and only really get into the swing of a job after lunch usually finishing up around 8pm. Have some dinner, usually prepared by my wife, who’s an excellent cook. We catch up on some Netflix (currently Madmen, always late to watch the good ones) and try to get to bed before 11pm.
What do you look for in a great portfolio?
I’ve lost count of the amount of portfolios I’ve looked through for FFF, so this should be an easy question. But I think like everyone my criteria constantly changes.
“For a portfolio or project to be good enough for a feature on FFF we only really have one rule. It has to make you green with envy. It has to give me that “I wish I did that” feeling.”
Any passion projects you would like to share?
I’m a huge fan of podcasts and have toyed with our own show for a few years. W’re just recording episode 5 of the FFF podcast in which we speak to the creative talent behind exciting projects, products and ideas. After recorded a few episodes, I realised that I had totally underestimated the technical challenges of recording decent audio over the internet and have a newfound respect for podcasters.
We’re also planning a series of video portraits on some of the most talented creatives around Europe. Hopefully we’ll be able to give our followers a glimpse into the daily lives of these interesting characters.
Do you ever wish you were a freelancer or in-house designer?
I constantly struggle with this question. I love the freedom and flexibility of being a freelancer, no week is the same as my clients and projects constantly change. On some days I do wonder what it would be like to work on a long-term project for just one client. I think if the right company with interesting and varied problems to solve came along then I could imagine giving up that freedom.
What advice would you give students starting out?
To students just beginning their studies I’d say, make the most of the time you have. Everyone told me that I should do this and I pretty much ignored it. I wish I would have started FormFiftyFive at uni, collaborated with my peers on fun side projects and worried less about my grades. Try to get lots of practical experience at any studio that will have you for any amount of time. No one cares about your grades if you have good work, work experience and personality.
To students who are finishing their studies, if you want to get a job. Pick your top 10 studios and tailor your application to each company. Make it personal and fitting to them and their work. And please find out the name of the person to send your work to. Emails beginning “Dear Sir/Madam” are instantly deleted. Attach a small PDF with 5 examples of work and show more on your online portfolio (Squarespace, Adobe Portfolio or Semplice are good places to get started). People are busy, so follow up with a call or email a week later but don’t get pushy.
If you want to go freelance straight away then you should already be doing freelance work next to your studies so you can hit the ground running. Find anyone and everyone to do work for. When I quit my job to go freelance, I had 6 months savings to take the pressure off finding work at the beginning. I designed logos, flyers, business cards and (really terrible) websites to get me started. Every person you know and meet can lead to a potential project, so make sure everyone you know understands what it is you offer. I still have good friends asking me what it is I actually do. So don’t assume folks know what a designer does.