We chat with the LORD of online portfolio workshops, Australasian Graduate of the Year, AgIdeas NewStar winner and all round little legend, Gabby Lord! Gabby’s incredible online portfolio workshop is running THIS WEEKEND (SYD)! Get your tickets HERE!
What was your original plan before you graduated for getting a job and how does that compare to what really happened? My original plan was to apply for internships at a few studios I had lined up through Billy Blue. Working towards this a little early in my final semester, I started putting my work online and a friend-of-a-friend came across my Loop profile. As the Internet would have it this person forwarded the link to their Creative Director and CEO and next minute I was being offered a job at an amazing design agency called Houston. So I guess it was a combination of being organised, lucky and Nicole thinking I would be a good fit for Houston – thanks Nic!
Do you have any tips for soon to be graduates or the best advice you received.
Get up, dress up and show up! No one will have time for you if you don’t give the time yourself. Be active in your creative community and involved at social events. This should be something you want to do, not feel you have to. Companies don’t hire people – people hire people. Having a good portfolio is only entry level, it’s just expected. There are so many other important qualities to being a great designer, like being a great human. Don’t forget that the person interviewing you is looking for someone to sit next to 5 days a week. You can exude a sense of fun and professionalism simultaneously – they want someone who appreciates blank space, not a blank personality with their head in space. Put your work and yourself out there. I know it’s scary and the thought of rejection is paralysing but it is the only way to gain constructive criticism and improve. And no – showing your mum does not count, mainly because mums are the best and your book may not be (yet). Finally, nerds rule! Work hard, read books, blogs, keep learning and rock on.
Describe your typical day and what students can expect from working in industry.
The overflowing 333 drives past a small blonde girl waiting on Bondi Rd at least twice before a bus finally pulls over to let me on. Quick pit stop at Pablo’s Coffee and with skim cap in hand I walk to the studio where air con and emails await. With DJ Pepsi Max playing tunes in the background, design work can span from branding and environmental signage to typesetting & digital advertising – along with all things in between. Working in a small/medium sized agency the scope of work is pretty hands on which is great as I’m continually learning different skills and taking in new information. If it’s another birthday, it’s Messina cake. I really, really like Messina cake.
Who are your three most inspiring speakers?
To name only three is so difficult! I constantly listen to TED talks and help run CreativeMornings Sydney and we truly have an amazing speaker every month. Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss is by far one of my favourites – creator of CreativeMornings and responsible for bringing many other brilliant ideas to reality. The Power of Side Projects and Eccentric Aunts is a must watch. Jessica Hische, because let’s face it she is the tits and a total type bad ass. Chris Doyle at AgIdeas 2011 – the first time I ever saw him talk he said design scared the shit out of him. It was honest and I liked that. He also referenced The Hangover and it was way funnier then because no one knew the horror of the sequels in the years to come. Malcom Gladwell is such a fantastic speaker. Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce is one of my top 5 TED talks for sure. Okay that’s 4, I’m already cheating so I’ll cut myself off there.
What do you think TDK does well to facilitate the gap between students and industry and what could we do better?
TDK is a labour of love and students around Australia would be mad not to take advantage of it. I would challenge the team to slow down but I don’t see that happening any time soon!
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?
Nothing! I mean that too because everything has led me to be where I am right now and if it was going to be any different it would be. Maybe not stress as much and try prevent a lot of the energy drink that shamefully entered my body.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I swear I can never answer this question! I think because design is so flexible and the industry is always changing so much I feel I can’t possibly predict. I would be doing an injustice pigeonholing myself, but rest assured I will be designing something, somewhere! I would love to live abroad, see New York and learn cinema 4D – not necessarily in that order ha. If I’m still learning and lolling in 5 years, I know I’m doing something right.