Posts tagged learning
Things I have learnt in 7 years as a graphic designer
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I can't actually believe this but from this January I have been working as a graphic designer for 7 years! I guess my experience extends a bit longer too as I was doing freelance work before that when I was at university. Anyway, that is a pretty long time and so I thought it might be fun to share some of the lessons that I have learnt in that time. So here goes...

1. Only present ideas you are happy with. Otherwise you can guarantee the client will choose the one you don't like - so it's best to not even let that be an option. Yes you probably won't like all of your ideas equally - but at least if they are all strong then you won't resent having to work on and develop them further. 

2. Come up with a good way of filing your work. Now this is something that I have not always been great at and am still working on improving, but we don't only have to deal with organising our physical possessions anymore, we now have to keep our digital possessions organised too, and there is often a lot! With your work you want to be able to find old and current work as quickly as possible. Name your files sensibly and also come up with a folder system to keep it all organised. Do this from the start and you will thank yourself down the line when you need to find old files from a client who wants an update.

3. Keep old rejected ideas. They might be useful for other projects in the future. This has worked in my favour a few times and has saved time and has meant that I have been able to re-use and re-purpose designs that I really liked and are appropriate for another project again. The ideas are yours and so you are totally entitled to use them again - but you probably need to be a bit sensitive about it depending on who the clients are. 

4. Communication is key. A lot can get lost over email - phone calls and meeting face to face are often better if possible. I have definitely learnt this recently. Often people don't love talking on the phone and it's a lot more effort to meet the client in person - but honestly nothing beats being able to present your ideas face to face and for the client to see your enthusiasm and be able to ask questions there and then. You can also get a much clearer idea about what they feel about them.

5. Don't charge an hourly rate but a total amount for the project. So this was something that I only really started to consider recently after reading quite a few different articles about it. The main idea that really struck me was that as you improve and gain more experience as a designer you will work faster. This means that unless you are increasing your hourly rate regularly you will actually be earning less the more experienced you get when people should be paying more for that experience. For me, with some clients it is just not appropriate to charge a fee for the whole project (and if they are the sort of clients that make lots of amends it can be helpful to charge hourly) - but I am going to try and do this as often as I can in the future. 

6. Knowing when to fight for your ideas and when not to. Often working with a really good client makes the end result even better. They bring ideas and feedback that are really helpful and constructive. Sometimes the client doesn't always know what's best though and in those instances you need to decide when to fight for your ideas. Part of it is about educating the client about the process but also you have to remember that you are the professional designer and that you have insight and experience that they might not have and there might be things they have not considered or thought about. It's always important to be polite and respectful and most often than not they will really appreciate your feedback and ideas and will really take them on board. I think that is when a client/designer works really well - when there is mutual respect and trust so that can share your different ideas and work well together. 

Are you designer? Do you have any other lessons to add that have helped you? I would love to hear them if you do. If you are not a designer I hope you found this an interesting insight into working as a designer. A lot of these lessons I think would be pretty relevant to other jobs too. 

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Jessica Hische / Skillshare
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Have you heard of Skillshare? If not you should have. It is a place where you can take classes in a whole range of topics online. I love learning and being able to sign up for a class and have access to the content and materials so that you can do it in your own time and at your own pace really appeals to me. I have been a fan of Jessica Hische for a while and she has recently done a Skillshare class based on her Drop Cap covers for Penguin. Look how incredible they all look together below. I own two of these stunning books but imagine owning the whole set. Anyway the project for the class is to do your own drop cap cover based on a book of your choice. I have chosen to do The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis which is one of my all time favourites, but I haven't read it for years. I am currently re-reading it and making notes and I will let you know how I get on, and will hopefully be able to post up here my final book cover when I finish the class. To see more of Jessica's beautiful work check out her website. Also this class is awesome so far. I really couldn't recommend it enough. (Also they have just advertised a book cover design course with Chip Kidd - wow, my wishlist on Skillshare is growing pretty long!)

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Differences
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The other night was another reminder of how different NM and I really are - and how our brains just work in such different ways. NM was really keen to make a list of all the things we still needed to do before the wedding. To be honest I don't think I have been that great at communicating to others in particular NM all the different ideas and plans I have been holding in my head. So we started a very detailed and extensive list in EXEL (bllleeuuurrgghh - I am so not an excel kind of girl) - NM was loving it, and assigning each of us tasks so that we could then filter them later...and I will be totally honest I thought my brain was going to explode. It totally stressed me out. I hated it. I want to scribble down a list on a bit if scrap paper...that I would then have carried around with me and very satisfyingly crossed off things as they were done. I guess this is going to be one of the ongoing challenges of being married...learning to live life with someone who is totally different from you and needs to do things in different ways. I wasn't very friendly that night about the excel list and I guess that what I need to learn is that although we weren't doing things in a way I like to work - it was helping NM - a lot - and I guess helping NM is going to be a pretty major job of mine as a wife....so I probably should start practicing in the small things.

The next day I printed out the list and have started doodling all over it and cross things out with a big fat scribble when they are done!

I guess one of the amazing things about hanging out with someone so different to me is that I am learning a lot more about me - and noticing things that I just would not have noticed before. Some good things but also a lot of bad things that could really do with changing. I hope being married to NM really changes me for the better...but also that it will be a safe place for me to flourish as me...and develop and grow in all the good ways too. If anyone has any relationship wisdom they would like to share feel free to comment below!

I wish this picture was representative of what the weather is like at the moment - but its not. It is trying to snow AGAIN! *sigh*

Dreaming
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Engagement is a pretty weird limbo period of time for me. I am waiting, waiting for everything to change. I am apprehensive about all the change but then so excited too. My emotions are all over the place. And I am dreaming....constantly. I love talking about the future with NM and dreaming big about all the things we might do and the places we might go, the way we will live out lives. I guess I am excited to be making plans with someone.

Today I have been having crazy dreams (luckily NM loves my crazy dreaming brain) - dreams of living in Italy, Boliva, Cuba, America. I have been dreaming about becoming a photographer....well at least a more proficient photographer. This is my number one post wedding resolution. I have been following the work of some beautiful photographers and I love seeing the world through their eyes. I am desperate to learn to look at the world around me differently. To capture little moments of beauty that might have been missed, to discover happy accidents, to share moments.

I feel a bit tired of London too. I feel like I want to be somewhere with space. Space to think, to read more books, to go on long walks and see what we find. Space to have naps, space to be quiet, space to daydream. I am cramming my days full with far to much noise at the moment. I am going to try and look for little pockets of peace where I can find them.

I have been going through some old work and images recently and I found these Holga photos that I took on a trip to America quite a few years ago now. They make me feel peaceful and inspire me to create and experiment.

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All images © Liz Mosley, 2013 – do not reproduce without permission or without crediting and linking back to this post. Thanks!

Letterpress - The Final Week!

Ahhhh I am so sad that the letterpress course is over. It has been such a good 6 weeks. 3 hours a week in the basement studio playing with type has been such a lovely and peaceful escape from the everyday business of my life right now. So for my last session I became a bit of a machine and printed loads of Christmas cards. I am really chuffed with how they came out. Usually I am not a fan of sending Christmas cards but this year I am really excited about it. I can't tell you how satisfying it is when you pull the roller across and you don't know how the print is going to come out (trust me there was a lot of variety!) and the ace feeling when it looks really good. I think the thing I have learn't most about this process is that in a discipline like this, where you are working with your hands -  things just often don't work out how you expect, but that has been amazing. The chance to play and it be ok if you make mistake...but also the happy accidents. That is something that I don't really get to do much even though my job is creative, because there are always really tight deadlines. The other things I played around with was thermography powder. You put it on wet ink, blow it with a hot air gun and it raises and goes all glossy. It turned out really cool. Anyway if after all my wittering about letterpress you fancy doing a course I couldn't recommend it enough. Check out St Brides Foundation for more info. (sorry the photos are not great quality. was quickly snapping on my phone while I was covered in ink...I even got in on my face. classic)