To be perfectly honest, by the end of my degree I was so happy to see the back of my folio that all I had planned was to enjoy a last, long uni summer before beginning the daunting task of finding a job. After three years with my head down (and another four years before that in another, unrelated degree), I had lost a little of the big picture, was confused about my direction, lacking confidence in my work, and ultimately desperate for some long-awaited routine and stability. However, as luck would have it, amidst all this angst a suggested job popped up in my email, for a junior graphic design and marketing role within a university and, just a few weeks after uni ended, I was very grateful to find myself employed.
The job market is tough, sometimes ridiculously so, and I know that I am very lucky to have ended up in this role. What I can say is that passion projects and nurturing other interests has certainly worked in my favour; I had kept a blog throughout uni and my writing helped land both an earlier internship, as well as the position I now hold. That, with no small amount of luck, a lot of passion and a willingness to work hard.
It may be obvious to everyone else, and I'm aware that it sounds like something from an afternoon special, but I really do think that one of the best things you can do is just be yourself, and stay true to what you enjoy doing. Even though I genuinely loved the years at uni, I spent a lot of my time there trying to pour myself into the mould of what I thought a 'graphic designer' ought to be. Now, one year out, I'm using all of my spare time to instead focus on the areas I love most - illustration and lettering - and I am so much happier for it. Fingers crossed it shows in the work, too!
When I began my degree I went in thinking that the only option at the other end was a Junior Graphic Designer within a Melbourne design studio. However that is so far from the truth, and my current job is testament to that. I do spend a lot of time designing - whether it be posters, publications, digital content or even smaller jobs like illustrating badges - but either side of that is a lot of writing, developing content for the website, and helping to manage certain social media platforms. The variety is a major plus, as well as the creative freedom I am granted in my position. I'm very aware that this is not necessarily common in a graduate job so I am trying my best to really run with it!
This is tough. I am going to break the rules and mention four. Listening to Thomas Williams of Hunt and Co. speak at Semi-Permanent Melbourne this year was definitely a highlight. He's also evidently a major Leonardo DiCaprio fan, so there's that. Hearing from Shawn Stussy - creator of iconic fashion brand Stussy - at Carbon Festival was similarly inspiring. I now have a major girl crush on photographer Magdalena Wosinksa after hearing her present and finally - something completely out of the realm of design - comedian Tim Minchin is always really great to listen to, especially his recent address for a graduation ceremony at the University of Western Australia (watch it here).
The wonderful Gabby Lord (interviewed by TDK earlier) said she'd change nothing at all, and I think I agree. As much as we love to say we'd do things differently if we had our time over again, I think as long as you're learning from your experiences, you're doing the best that you can. Don't worry, I agonise over decisions continuously - whether they be design- or life-related dilemmas - but I don't think I'd be here now if I hadn't waded through all that crap beforehand. Sometimes I do think it's just too easy to say 'if it's meant to be, it'll be', because it can sound like a bit of a cop out, can't it? But by saying that it doesn't mean you don't work your arse off, or you stop trying to be a good person, I think it just helps to maybe not sweat the small stuff, and let things happen in their own time.
Ahh, the five years question. So daunting. I get a little apprehensive planning too far ahead because I don't want to play chicken with the universe and then get bitch-slapped for being too cocky. However! If I could have the opportunity to spend my days illustrating, squeeze in a little travel, regularly talk and work with wonderful creative people, and have my health, friends and family, I will be a happy gal.