Sunday, 10 April 2011

TBWA - Manchester

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Previous to my visit at TBWA I had received some tough feedback on my work so I was a little nervous about how it was going to go, but I had made quite a few changes to some of the projects and felt that the portfolio as a whole had a better consistency to it. So very much mixed feeling before I got there. Their building is right around the corner from my house in Didsbury and right next door to my old playgroup in an wonderfully renovated church. The agency had a brilliant buzz to it, really spacious but with all the character of the church still in tact. I met with Grace and another colleague called Richard. We spent a large amount of time talking about where I was up to, so covering the course, we talked about my placement and what I want to do when I finish. We then got onto the subject of what is expected of students when they leave University and how important they feel having some basic digital knowledge is. Suggesting that if I get an online website set up or experiment with that it would show a basic understanding of what is considered a necessary area now. I really agree with this although I wouldn't really know where to start but it's definitely something that will only be beneficial so definitely before the end of the year I would like to get some help setting it up! They also talked about how important Photoshop skills are, this is a bit scary because I don't feel too confident with photoshop, I know the basics but no where near to a decent level, and this is the 2nd time very recently that Photoshop has been highlighted as the 'one to know' However saying that, they both didn't expect juniors to be the finished article and said it was as much about picking things up but good technical skills definitely helped. Most of my portfolio visits seem to start in the same way with a big chat about design or something regarding my experiences with the course or industry and I think this really helps settle into the visit. It's always a bit daunting just turning up and showing a stranger your work, so most of the time the chat is a great way to suss each other out and get rid of nerves.

We then dived into the portfolio with my Ritz project at the beginning. I made the decision of taking out the new shots of the new packs that we sent off for the competition mainly because I didn't feel they were as strong as the set of three (original, cheese and snowflake) and I knew straight away I had made the right decision as I felt more confident talking about it. They both really liked the redesign and thought the brand extension was a great way to see how we can push an idea. They did pick up on the fact the 'Bitz' logo didnt match up with the logo on the pack, which is something that needs addressing. They felt the packs looked really clean and professional though and that was good to hear because I have been toying with changing them.

We looked at the Helvetica Neue and the V&A end sting after and these were two that I felt unsure about after some feedback that poised them as generic university projects, however the editorial spread received great comments with them, they said it was clear to see that I really understood the best way to utilize the typeface and thought the structure was spot on. The V&A end sting went down well also but I'm not sure what place it has in the portfolio. I like the fact that it has the flick book to accompany it as it gives them something tactile to look at but I struggle with what to say about it, because it is what it is. I'm not sure whether that's ok and maybe it doesn't need to have a big explanation. I would love to have all the sketched up ideas that went along because I feel the idea's there would be better to talk through.

We talked through the 7x7 brief and they thought it was great to have some experience dealing with different teams of people and a great way to gauge the realistic turn around time for printers etc, they liked the layout of the book and the two colour flow of the book, but felt the poster could have incorporated some of the 7x7 graphics of the front cover as they felt like two separate elements and the circle didn't tie it together enough.

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The Ted Baker brief was the one I was most unsure about talking through. The concept is a bit out of the box and up until now it had been always a bit of a chore, so I decided to throw together a mood board to introduce the project a bit better with visuals that fed straight into our ideas and the way we approached the brief. This worked really well I felt I could talk about the concept much easier and it felt as if they understood it straight away too. They thought the project really highlighted the quirky nature and detail in their clothes/shoes in a way that made them the focus - which they admitted they had never realised before. They felt the app could really work as it taps into a consumers needs and they felt visualising the shoes was a nice touch.

The final project was the London Pasta festival. This makes its return after some absence, I guess I felt as if the project showed a nice idea and eventually I will be showing my final major project, which will be a follow on from this idea so it felt it was time. I also felt like I needed another project in and this felt by the end of showing the work that it was the right amount of projects. They liked the idea and really like the logo idea's in particular the type arranged around the circle as if it was the knife and fork but said the overall simplicity was what really made it interesting.

We rounded up by me enquiring how to make my portfolio interview ready. I think I am at a stage now where feedback is always welcomed but I now need to know specifics about how to make my collection of work communicate better and worthy of a job. They suggested to tailer my portfolio and said to set myself a small project that maybe stressed certain area's such as for their agency they would expect to see a bit more editorial work so maybe redesigning and fold out leaflet or publication. Mainly just know the company your going to and tailor your work for them. Do your research. I think this is really important and at the same time sometimes you have no idea what is going to go down well and not. I feel I could have shown lots of work from my 2nd year with the water brief newspaper spreads and even my designed typeface and specimen sheets and they would have really enjoyed to see that where as other places it would have been slightly lost. They suggested to keep rough work with me for interviews as it shows my process of thinking which is something I do anyway, so that was a comfort.

Generally I think I'm back at a stage where I feel areas of my portfolio are working well. I am keen to get some initial final major project ideas in there to see what feedback I can get and maybe see where that steers me. They both said they would be interested for me to come in and do a small placement in the summer when I finish and just keep them updated so I intend on sending over some of my fmp to get feedback and hopefully return with something digital at the end of my degree to impress them.

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