You might remember Mike Braid from our NZ Type Hitch Hiking Comp #TDKthumbsup, he submitted some seriously beautiful type. Mike graduated from AUT and lives in Auckland where he currently works at FCB advertising. Learn how Mike got to where he is now, why being a douche is lame and more about his genius side project Team Ordinary.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?
Doing a design degree at university was where it all started to fall into place for me. Going to art school and being surrounded by people wanting to do what you wanted to do really fuelled the passion. Getting started properly, was hard. I graduated right into the 2008 economic recession in NZ. No one was hiring. and any jobs going, were taken by more experienced people also looking for jobs. Most of my friends circle was from the music industry, so this is where I started to pick up a few odd jobs, mostly for little or no money. Myspace (way back) designs, CD designs, band logos and a lot of band photoshoots (as I had always had a passion in photography and I had a bit of kit). Turns out most of this free work made it to my portfolio and contributed heavily to me landing my first job. So I learnt how important it was just to say yes to any work that came up.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
So, far I’ve had a bit of a mixed bag. I studied design at AUT (Auckland University of Technology). This was when I really started to think of design as a career and opened my eyes to what design could be. I didn’t really learn about the hands on practises. But more what design was conceptually, the principals and history. At first I was kind of freaked out that I didn’t have enough of a skill base for ‘the real world’. But I soon realised that what I had learnt could be applied to a job in a range of ways, giving me a really solid foundation. So far, I’ve worked for NZ’s biggest film / TVC production company, an in-house design role at NZ’s wine marketing organising and now my current role at FCB Advertising, one of the countries biggest and most awarded ad agencies. With a bunch of freelance and free work in between.
Tell us about where you are today and what you love about your job!
Today – I work at FCB advertising, it’s one of NZ’s largest agencies, which is cool because you get to work on a range of clients and some big projects. It’s great keeping fresh and not getting stale. More so recently, I’ve started to do a lot more photography and video work. This has been a cool new challenge (even though I’ve always done this kinda of stuff outside of work). I like the cross pollination and mix of work I get to be involved with.
What has been your highlights since you started out?
I think the biggest highlight would have to be not one single thing, but the overall experience of doing something you love as a job and getting paid for it. Working with creative people and people who see the world how you do is an awesome thing. Yeah, it’s a job, so there will always be ups and downs, but theres not really a day now that I wake up and don’t want to go to work. It really is true, be nice and do good work…it is really that simple. No one wants to work with a douche, no matter how talented they are.
Where do you gather inspiration, on and off the web?
I have a solid graphic design book collection and love it. Nothing like hunting through pages for real examples. Of course the internet is a great resource. I frequent all the standard inspiration sites, for sure. More and more though, I’m finding some of the best stuff on instagram, but I guess that makes sense! It is a direct link with the artist / designer / photographer. It’s an awesome platform for inspiration gathering.
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way? 1. Be a nice person, no one wants to work with a dork, no matter how good you are.
2. Say yes to everything you are interested in, and have a can-do attitude… figure out the details later.
3. Try taking something from every project. Not every job is a dream job/project but if you can take something from it or learn something, you’ve come out better off.
4. Have personal projects, they will keep you passionate and excited about being creative. They are the only time you can do what you want with ideas that you own. My current one is called Team Ordinary, un-insipirational quotes… for people with too much motivation… I like the irony. It’s been cool coming up with the words, as well as the designs.
5. Ask questions, put yourself out there. People can’t help / give you what you want / make things better if you don’t ask. Not everyone is a great mind-reader.