4 Designers Conference – London

This week David, Ian and Ray took us on a 2 night residential trip to the Capital city. The main aim of this trip was to go to the 4 Designers conference hosted at University College London.

Day 1

We arrived in London,at the Generator hostel in Travistock Place, at around 3pm on Sunday after a long coach journey from Cardiff. We all check into our rooms, which were all definitely on the smaller side, and each pick our bunks, I was staying in a room with Amber, Abbi and Aimie. We then decided to have an explore around London and go and search out China town, to feed our hunger after the long journey. After a surprisingly unstressful walk, we made it to China Town and found a extremely cheap, not very ascetically pleasing Chinese buffet restaurant, however the food was delicious! We then returned to the hotel where we spent the evening socialising with the rest of the course in the bar in the hostel.

Day 2

The 4 designers conference was to inspire and advise students studying graphic design or student thinking about going into graphic design as a career, they brought in 4 very successful and inspirational designers to talk to us about how they got to where they are.

Carol Whitworth

The first talk was from Carol Whitworth who is the Founder and Director of Home. Home is a company that helps large organisations communicate with their target audience; “Change people’s lives by putting people at the heart of everything we do”they are  the UK’s leading employee experience and internal communications agency and have worked with companies such as The Guardian, Hersheys and Dixons. Carol is based in Bristol and New York and was also voted 12th in the design Glitterati. She said shes inspired by young talent, making a difference, and unhinged and unrealistic ideas.
Her top tips were:

  • Be authentic.
  • Mediocre is just average.
  • Lead with your heart.
  • Live your life with a purpose.
  • Don’t just do it for the money.
  • Make yourself indispensable.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Never stoop learning.
  • Flattery gets you everywhere.
  • Be good at attention to detail.
  • Stand out from the crowd.
  • Collaborate.
  • Dream big.
  • Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Simon Manchipp

The second designer to talk was Simon Manchipp who is one of the founders of SomeOne. The multi award winning company; SomeOne is one of the most respected UK design companies, they are strategy led and creatively based. One of the things they are most proud of a a company is the fact that there isn’t one single person in charge, instead it is run by a group of ‘creative people’, this mean that when the client comes in, they are meeting with the designers themselves. They have worked with companies such as: Compare the Market and Eurostar. Simon made the point that traditional logos are rarely conversational and that the public, press and staff all hate it when a company gets a new logo, so SomeOne make a difference by making a brand. He said that brands are made successful by 3 things, purpose, scale and influence . Some of the projects they have worked on is The Mill, Cancer Research, Zinc and the Children’s society.

Alan Ainsley

The third designer was Alan Ainsley,  he has over 25 years’ experience within the creative industries, and has worked with Marriott International, London 2012 and Tottenham Hotspur. His work has noticed by a lot of awarding bodies and has been published in Eye, Design Week, Creative Review and Dazed & Confused. Alan was a Design Director at Elmwood and a founder of their London Office. He also held the Senior Group Creative Head position at The Leith Agency until April 2015 however is spending the next few months volunteering and working with various charities.
Alan’s top tips:

  • Don’t be shy, confidence is the key.
  • Be adventurous, push the boundaries and try new things.
  • Don’t be precious, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
  • Take time out to recharge, and then have another go.
  • Do what you want to do, you are allowed to say no.
  • Have fun and enjoy what you do.
  • Opportunities can be small and accidental

Jonathon Sand OBE

The final designer was Jonathon Sand OBE, who is the chairman of Elmwood. Elmwood is renowned for winning more Design effectiveness awards (DBA) then any other practice in the history of the award. When Elmwood was initially set up in 1977 it was a small design studio based in Leeds, now after 38 years running it has studios based all over the world, for example; Leeds, London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Melbourne. Some of the projects and companies they have worked with include; Lynx, Anne Summers, Tesco’s, Pizza express and Coca Cola.
Jonathon’s top tips were:

  • Have the right attitude and believe in yourself – be confident, but not arrogant.
  • If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough.

He also gave us some tips on getting a job within the design sector, he recommended researching agencies and getting a placement, make a eye catching, relevant portfolio that also includes pieces you like, write a relevant and passionate CV, and finally, listen and watch others in order to learn.

Day 3

Today we had studio visits, I visited the design agency Dare along with the rest of my group. Dare is a creative agency based in London, they are part of Oliver, which is a company that provides companies with on site agencies. Dare have worked with companies such as; Ryan Air, EE, Aviva, Public Health England, Vison Express, Cancer Research UK and finally BMW.
We were met at Dare by Mark Bell, who firstly gave us a talk on what his role within Dare is, in which he called it ‘Experience Planning’. He then showed us around the Dare studios.

In the afternoon, we were left to our own devises, until we had to leave London at 6pm. So a small group of us decided to visit Camden which was about a half an hour walk away from the hostel. Camden is known for its vibrant and cool culture, and we all had a great time exploring the markets and the quirky vintage shops.



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