Thursday, 10 December 2009

Alex Ostrowski, Helen Murgatroyd and Craig Oldham

These 3 speakers fit nicely together, all young, all working in different areas and all having interesting talks about different areas of the design world.

Ill start at the beginning.

The first of the 3 speakers was Alex Ostrowski, all I can say is gutted. Alex creates beautiful, intelligent work, I wish my work looked like Alex's books and posters. They're jaw droppingly good, good enough that he was recruited by YCN to help work in their new offices. Unfortunately Alex's talk made him sound boring, unconfident and uninspired. Perhaps I'm being too harsh but Alex's work is so good and he ended up presenting us a talk about what YCN does. Rather than do the same as Alex did and bore you with details found within seconds of looking at the YCN website here are some images of his work.

From his 'Note Anything' book of tear out posters illustrating his thoughts and musings:

From 'The Happiest Book In The World' a documentation of his trip to denmark, statistically the happiest place in the world

and finally a set of business cards urging people to look up, get some sunlight in and be happy

Craig Oldham

Craig Oldham was  a complete opposite to Alex Ostrowski. As much as I wanted to like Alex, his presentation just wasn't overly interesting compared to the standard of the work he puts out. With Craig I found that he was a far better speaker, engaging with his audience rather than just speaking to us like Alex had done.

Craig may have had a help with his Yorkshire accent and swearing, making him seem more like one of the students but what he had to say was interesting enough not have needed to be delivered in a humorous fashion for it to sink in. 

Craig delivers his talk as a series of 12 lessons to learn for young graduates in their first year as a young professional. Dubbed 12 in 12 and assisted by a newsprint publication of the same name it proved to be very helpful and insightful to the design industry. 

The points that 12 in 12 put across are:

Understand what Graphic Design means to you.

Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.
A portfolio is for life, not just for an interview.
Placements matter. Do them.
The Design industry is small, everyone knows everybugger else.
Participate with other people and share your ideas.
Graphic Design is just a job, but being a designer is different.
Fall off your bike. If you don't fail then you are not trying.
Life and work exist outside of London.
Designing is only, about, 20% of your job.
Have a life outside of Design.

Work hard and be nice to people.

It would be stupid not to take all these pointers on board, but for me the most important ones are that you need to be honest with yourself about what your skills are and you need to experiment and get it wrong sometimes to really get it right. This has proved very helpful advice as of recent when my silence brief started with me creating illustration based solutions that didn't work. As much as I love illustration it wasn't appropriate and i needed to admit that to myself and start with a different approach.

The point that placements are important is also very true, over the summer I stayed with howies clothing company and learned a ridiculous amount, I'm slightly embarrassed to think I told them that I was skilled in illustrator and photoshop, when I got there it was painfully obvious how little I knew. By the time I left I had a whole new look (both design and clothing wise, buy howies jeans, they're awesome!!) and whole new range of abilities. I would love to do more placements and continue to learn from professionals in a creative environment. No offence meant to our lecturers but as students we are in a completely different environment to an actual design studio. 

here are a few more looks at the 12 in 12 leaflet

What I really took away from the talk was the necessity to be yourself, don't bow to fashion or trends. Just concentrate on creating good design that can speak for itself. If you can find a style that suits you there is no need to try and deviate from that just to fit in with what is on trend. 

I really liked Craigs lecture and whilst I may not enjoy his work as much as Alex Ostrowski's I think he was a far more helpful person to bring in and have talk to us. 

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