For the past few weeks a few friends in our class have been using the facilities in Love, a creative agency based in the heart of the Northern Quarter. The idea was for a group of students to work on their final major projects but in a professional environment. So as I knew they were going to be there for a few weeks I thought it was a good link to be able to get my portfolio seen, after a bit of nagging on both ends, Steve very kindly took 20 minutes out of his busy schedule to look through my work and have a chat about my portfolio. I felt a bit guilty, as I knew he had lots on and everyone had pretty much asked him to see me at some stage, but I guess if you don’t try, you don’t get! I’m not sure if it started particularly well, I was very conscious of the time and felt I skimmed over the first two projects a bit quickly. My portfolio wasn’t in the right order either, which was a major foe par but I had been told about the slot to see him a few hours earlier so I explained I had just grabbed my portfolio and dashed out of the house, so he didn’t seem too put off.
The first project was the ‘Ritz’ redesign, he was really interested by the ‘Christmas snowflake’ idea and felt the two other flavours could have a stronger idea to them potentially. He said they worked well on the shelf to stand out against their competitors and look good visually but they feel weaker compared to the idea behind the Christmas edition. He felt it was good to show brand extension and he liked the extended name of ‘Bitz’ but felt the pack design didn’t link up to the initial redesign enough to tie them together as the same brand, saying they almost looked rushed compared to the main packs. I understand this as I feel the look of the ‘Bitz’ packs is missing something. I know I will be changing the logo and I definitely think something additional can be done to link them better with the initial boxes. He liked the tear, which emulates a bite-mark but said that could even be bigger to highlight it more.
Next I showed him the Helvetica Neue editorial spread and the V&A end sting. He though the editorial spread was good but struggled to say anything more about it because it is what it is. I have had this before and agree but still asked him whether it should still be a part of the folio and he said yes because it shows understanding and visually looks good. He said a similar thing about the end sting but felt it probably didn’t need to be in there. He liked the flicker book and said that the design was neat and looked great but in terms of selling a big idea that it again was pretty self-explanatory and could maybe be passed up.
We talked through the 7x7 book but I was aware that Mike had already shown him this project so I very briefly skimmed over the details of the brief again. He really liked the design of the book and said it had a really nice flow to it. In terms of the poster he talked about ways I can give the poster an idea without changing the design too much and suggested using the circle and cross as a focus point. The point he was making I think is if there’s not necessarily an idea there: create one!
We talked lots about the Ted Baker brief; he feels I need to find a way to sum the brief up in one sentence, even if it is creating a different title for the brief, saying it’s about making it work for the portfolio and he’s right. The Ted Baker project always throws up a problem in explaining it and although the visual aid helps, maybe changing the title of the project could help it further. He was really interested in the packaging of the shoe tins and said he would really like to see how this develops further such as the inside of the tin box, how would they be contained etc, which is very much do-able then he said he would prefer to see more of the in-store concepts and felt the app was un-needed. He took an opposite opinion to the obsession of showing digital in a portfolio and the new craze of that is showing an app. He liked the idea of visualising the shoe on your own feet but then felt I could do more interesting things with the Tea theme. He even suggested a brief such as Twinning’s creating a range of shoes that would be sold in Ted Baker, which I thought was quite an interesting idea. There is definitely more work to be done on this project, I will probably keep in the app because I think it does have a nice idea in which is practical and clever.
The last project was the London Pasta festival and he really liked the idea saying it had a bit of work to be done on it but was a really strong image, suggesting I drop the plate and typography almost and focus solely on that graphic of the river, and look to create other London landmarks out of pasta, we then discussed some other ideas/options I had for it and a bit of my final major project and he said if I wanted any feedback or help with my last project to give him a shout.
He said he thought I had quite a strong portfolio and there were some really nice ideas in there with a good understanding for print. His best suggestion was making sure I tailor my portfolio when going to agencies and to do my homework on what kind of work they do and how they work. I think Steve’s approach was very honest and he wasn’t afraid to tell me when something wasn’t working and why, so there’s lots for me to think about.