Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Adrian Shaughnessy

I got to see Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook's lecture at the printworks yesterday, a D&AD sponsored event that was partly engineered by staff at Stockport College. The lecture focussed on the launch of the pair's new publishing company, Unit Editions.
Founded in 2009 they have set out to produce high-quality books about graphic design and visual arts in the way they want to, without the pressure of someone else telling them what to put in them.

I was lucky enough to attend a Q&A session with Adrian before the lecture and he gave us advice on how to meet clients and get started in the industry.
As someone who has experience of setting up his own studios and business and a former editor of Varoom magazine he was an ideal contact and had lots of relevant advice for us all.

He told us to make the effort when presenting portfolios to not just show them to ourselves, he is amazed by the amount of people who just sit there and admire their own work when presenting to him, not bothering to turn it to face the client and just burying their heads in their own work. He gave us advice on the layout and format for the folders and about putting things in context so clients can see pieces in-situ.

Next up he explained how much of a difference it makes when things feel personal to a client, the way he prefers things to be put to him Little things like a complement on past work and why you are interested in working with someone can make a client warm to your proposal and help set you apart, not just looking like you have sent out the same letter to ten different prospective employers.
Things like hand-writing addresses and making the appearance of the whole package look like it was considered and works with the samples you send can also help.

We talked about always leaving something with the client and what/how much is appropriate. Letting the client have something to remember you by and staying fresh in their minds by keeping them updated on your progress, recent work and accomplishments can all help to get you more, perhaps better work down the line.

He also gave us some advice on internships saying that he has always paid his interns something, and whilst of course it's a personal choice, you should consider very carefully whether or not you are prepared to sacrifice and work for nothing. One thing he did say about this kind of work is that if you're going to do it then you must make yourself and invaluable member of the workforce. So that when you leave they will be scratching their heads thinking to themselves; 'Oh no, what are we going to do without here..'.

About a three to four month window was recommended for posting new things to clients to keep them interested, once you have met someone they become a contact and must be kept informed and refreshed.

And last but not least, always be looking for the next job!

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