Firstly, what does success mean for you? (How much of a role does your creativity play in your career? Do you want creativity to be your only source of income or are you looking at other possibilities?)
I’ve been asked this a couple of times, and honestly I’m really lucky to be able to have my passion as a full time career, and that’s probably what success means to me. Or being able to pay the rent and afford food each month, I deem that quite successful too you know…?
At the moment creativity is my only source of income and it has been for the last 2-3 years now, it’s a little deal I made with myself, otherwise I would have settled for second best and kept my creative skills as a hobby. Saying that, whilst freelancing I was definitely looking for other streams of income, it’s really nice to know you have a set amount coming in each month, at sometimes freelance can’t give you that.
How do you cope with the hypercompetitive market of today? (In your area of interest, do you have any techniques on staying relevant? Do you have an agent?)
If I’m honest personally I find the competitive nature of the industry quite uplifting, it’s always good to light a fire under your arse because you see someone doing something you wish you did. Keeps you on your toes.
Saying that it was really bloody difficult to get into the industry I am in because of how competitive it was, magazine and book design has become kind of fashionable as of late, seeing as it was about the only thing that didn’t die in 2017, so when it came round to applying for graduate jobs there was about 50+ people for every one job.
This was the main reason I went freelance after graduating. I wanted to take time to work on my portfolio and apply for the jobs I’d actually be good at, as opposed to getting a job in the creative industry, and becoming part of the 99.7%
Promoting yourself and your work should not be considered negatively. Have you found that this is the case? How have you found is the most effective way to make your voice heard among the many that are out there?
One of the main bits of feedback I got when chatting to past editors and future clients is that they found it refreshing that I reached out to them. Most of the time students are scared to bridge the gap between degree and real life but you’re qualified enough it’s just all about confidence.
I mainly just contact people behind the scenes personally, and cut to the chase. I can follow and like their instagram posts and support them from afar but I’m only ever going to get a response if I talk to someone, plus don’t be scared of phone calls. It might take a week to get an email response or you could ring their offices/studio and get an instant reply, theres not really much to lose.
I went off on a bit of a tangent sorry.
Speaking of staying relevant, do you feel it is true that there is an “expiry date” on graduates for them to be interesting or is there merit in a “slow cook” approach to your reputation?
Hmm. I always got the impression that we were most valuable in our first year of graduating however I think I disagree. After graduating I didn’t know what I was doing, nor did I know how a design business/studio worked.
Also I didn’t even fully know where I wanted to be. For me I’ve been in it for the long run, I’ve learnt so much in my current job, in terms of designing, producing and printing a magazine which is surely more valuable than a rabbit in headlights graduate?
Before I didn’t know what I could offer to a team, but now I do.. and I think that’s the biggest difference.
Hard work and dedication is a must to get anywhere, that much is clear. But everyone’s story is a little different, what’s the one thing you wished you’d learned sooner?
I wish I’d taken things seriously and seen the scope of some of my projects I was working on. Because I was working on these projects during uni it’s easy to write them off as ‘fake’ projects, but they’re not.
I was always a little apprehensive to pitch my ideas as actual real life ideas when they had been created in an academic setting, when really I should have just taken them that little bit further.
Plus I could have had a great magazine by now…
If you had a miracle two-step plan for success, what would it be?
Eating biscuits and drinking tea isn’t one? Setting yourself attainable goals in realistic time frames. Also, if you never ask you never get (does that answer the q? I’m not quite sure..)