Professional Development

Throughout this project I will use this blog to document my progress. We have been asked to produce a project proposal to start this module off. I will put my proposal below this post. I used my knowledge and research to produce what I think is a suitable proposal for this module. I think it clearly underlines my career trajectory and ideals for achieving possible employment at the end of the College Course.

Please click the link to view the PDF for my Professional Development Proposal.

Proposal

Research,

As stated in my Proposal I wanted to look further into possible opportunities that will come up. This will allow me to also gain any knowledge of freelance work evadible. Using sites such as Indeed and Linked In there are possible employment jobs out there and they all clearly label what is required.

From most of the jobs I have viewed they ask for at least 2 years work experience within industry. I do not however and not have this by the time I have finished my course, Without getting a job first I can not simply achieve this. However with freelance work I have already achieved in the past and more to come I feel as though that will give me a great starting point. I think that something needs to be mentioned here as to why it is very difficult for young designers to get a job. If every company hiring is looking for experience then how will anyone new ever get a chance. This is a problem in other industries however I think as part of my research it is important to include this finding.

One other thing they asked for is a University level degree. This is common in most of the jobs I looked into I will have achieved this at the end of my course so I do not see this as a problem. There is other ways into getting a job however on my CV having a Degree Level Qualification on there will set the mark slightly higher.

They also ask for good software knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite which is something I do have. Then there is the usuals for all jobs for example. Great working attitude,  prompt and ability to work alone or as a part of a team. These have all come from various companies and agencies seeking graphic designers.

I would say that the average salary for all of the jobs I have found are around £18,000 some do range from £16,000 up until around £22,000 depending on location and what is required of the designer. I will look into applying to these jobs and see how I get on with the applications.

Freelance Work

I have set myself the target of getting myself freelance work and this is where I will document how the journey goes. I have once before completed a freelance job for an Italian Restaurant in the Derbyshire Dales. The work from this can been seen on my personal website at jracreative.uk  Because I have previously completed a freelance project this allows me to use that as a way to gain more as I search for freelance work.

I have been searching through various websites but I haven’t found anything suitable. However this leads me onto something that happened recently within regards to getting some freelance work. I have been contacted through a friend of mine on a Tree Surgery Company that wants a rebrand and website producing. I will meet with this company next week to discuss how this project could be taken further. I am really pleased that I have been contacted on the strength of my previous work. I will later come back to this blog post as things start to develop.

I went to meet with the possible client and things were looking good. We had discussed exactly what he would want from me as a designer and made plans for the project to start. We had already discussed details of payment before the job started so there was no issues with payment and price at the end of the project. People generally like to know how much things will cost them. As I was doing this job freelance I had to self manage this whole project to make sure that deadlines were met and effective design was achieved.

I wrote a little brief to remind me of the tasks a head. Here is a little bit about the company. N&G Tomlinson Tree Surgeons is a business that has been going for 25 years. We pride ourselves in our highly professional work and services, we also offer free advice and estimates.

Organisations we’ve worked for include,

Haddon Estates,  Peak District National Park Authority,  Local Authority’s,  Natural England,  Woodland Trust,  Camping and Caravanning Club,  Derby Diocesan Board,  Stanton Estates, Kedleston Hall,  Thornbridge Hall  and 100s of smaller private and public clients.

Project; N&G Tomlinson Rebrand

Task one; Rethink name as there is a difference between company name and website name, company name (N&G tomlinson) website name (Tomlinson Trees).

Task two; Design and produce effective branding and items including Logo, Business cards, Compliments slips and advertisement for local newspaper.

Task three; Redesign their current website and give them a social media presence.

I met up with the client once again to discuss ideas and we came to some agreements. The name needed to be the same for both the website and the company name. This came with a problem though as half of the clients for this company came to know them under each name. This lead me onto the merging of both names. N&G Tomlinson Trees or N&G Tomlinson Tree Surgeons. The client and I both agreed this is the direct route we should take and agreed on the name. I had given this a lot of thought previously to allow me to start creating logo designs.

I started how I usually start a project but sketching up ideas

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I went on to develop logos and variations for the client to choose from. I first illustrated a tree for the marque as I thought this would be a great idea for a nice looking logo.

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After I sent this set of logos the client made his decision and chose the top right. I was pleased with all of these. The colour schemes I choose are relevant to forestry and nature. This set the path for me to create business cards etc.

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Here are the business cards the company choose to use and have been printed. The next stage for me is to create a website. The development for the website took around 1 to 2 months after various meetings you can view the final website by clicking this link N&G Tomlinson Trees

I also produced them an advert for a local newspaper.

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The client was more than happy with the final outcomes for his project. I feel as though this was a successful project and I am very pleased with what I learnt. Gaining client bonds and trust is always good experience, I feel I have achieved something that will give me a massive boost with regards to getting a job in the future.

Job Applications

While I have been on the course there has been a few opportunities come up which have come from the connections the tutors have that run the course. The first one to come up was a job opportunity at a digital design company called The Brand New Idea. They were looking for someone new to join the team so I thought I would give it a shot. As I was going to change my personal branding eventually in the module I hadn’t got time to do it for this job application so I made a few changes to my personal website and CV.

The changes I made to my personal website was mainly to my portfolio. I added new projects in and changed the write ups for the project descriptions. I felt these were necessary to allow me to come across as a more professional designer.

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I added the recent freelance work I had done to show that I had gained more experience. I will also include a PDF link to my CV for viewing. I no longer have my old CV to show the changes I made however I did change some of the design and layout. Also I changed the write up as it wasn’t quite ideal.

Link to – CV

I put together the following email to send to the company.

Hi Scott

My name is Jake Allen, I am currently studying on the Level 6 Graphic Design course at The Sheffield College. Previously I studied on the Graphic Design course at Norton College.

Paul Clarkson informed me about a possible job that you advertised on your website, ( Creative Technologist ).

I have decided to contact your company as I really like the work on your website and the clients you work with. I feel as though your company would be a great place to work and would allow me to gain experience and learn new areas in the design industry.

I take great pride in my work as I pay attention to every aspect, ensuring I always remain focussed on the requirements of the brief. 2 years experience is something I don’t have however I have completed 2 freelance jobs which can be found on my website.

Please find attached my CV and I have provided a link to my website so you can access my portfolio. ( jracreative.uk )

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch using this email or my mobile number ( 079 293 641 57 )

Yours sincerely

Jake Allen

I soon received an email back from Scott asking if I could code. As they are a digital company they wanted someone with a coding background. I only know a little CSS and HTML but this is something I can expand on later on in the future.

“Hi Jake,

Unfortunately we are looking with coding background on this occasion we would not be able to fit you to the role, keep in touch and as your skills develop please get in touch, you have some nice work. 

Regards”

This is the email I received back, although I was slightly disappointed I didn’t make the cut I was happy that i’d given it ago and received compliments on my work from someone in the industry. This also allows for the possibility of employment in the future as my knowledge of coding improves.

A week on and they was asking for people to get in touch with regards to doing work placement. I was interested as I’d already made contact with the company previously and wanted to use the previous conversation to my advantage. This could have gone on to be possible employment or just good to have work experience. I did send an email enquiring about the placement but unfortunately I never heard anything back from them.

Side by Side Job Application

I was looking through various social medias and came across a job opportunity at a company called Side by Side. They are a very good Design company in Sheffield, I admire a lot of there work. I wanted to impress them with my design skills so I had to come up with something fun and interesting. They like to get very hands on when it comes to creating things so I decided I would produce a little package for them.

As in the previous year I had worked with them for a College project using one of there live briefs for a project. I came up with the idea of using UV lighting in a way to show hidden symbols. I wanted to remind them who I was and see if they remembered my idea so I put together a little box and using UV pens I drew all over the box.

Here is the development of that project.

I was really pleased with the outcome for this project, I decided to give the whole package a rustic feel which I why I tea stained my CV and wrapped it like a scroll. I also included tea and biscuits as the saying goes “think about it over a cup of tea” I incorporated my personal branding to the box.

Unfortunately I never received a reply from this company but I was really happy with what i’d made. After been unsuccessful with these last two job applications I decided I would take a look online to see what I could find. I found a few jobs that looked interesting, I applied to become an in house Graphic Designer for a company called Green Energy UK Direct Ltd, Graphic Designer at Young Ideas limited, the Bespoke Design Company in Manchester and Graphic Designer for EA in Macclesfield.

Within a Few days I received a reply from Green Energy UK Direct LTD asking me to attend an interview. After attending the interview I received the following email.

HI Jake,

I hope all is well.

We have finished interviewing people for the position of Graphic Designer at GEUK and have decided to offer you the position.

I know you are still at college but we would like to meet with you a second time to discuss our requirements and how we can progress when you graduate.

Please could you contact me directly on ………………. or email …………………. to arrange a meeting.

Kind Regards

After a few meeting I am now employed by the company and will start as soon as I have finished my university course. It is coming to the end of the module now and although I did not get chance to look at the competition briefs I do consider this to be successful. I have achieved the end goal which was originally to get employment. I will also be exhibiting my work for the end of year show although that isn’t for two months. I will slightly change my personal branding and revisit my show board. Producing items for the show is something I will do in the coming weeks.

Reflective professional evaluation

Throughout this module I had set myself tasks to be completed and I feel as though I have completed the tasks I set myself. Professionally I think I have achieved a much better understanding of the work that is needed to become a successful graphic designer. Referring back to the project proposal I set for this module, I have produced good significant research to help me on my chosen career path. The information I found helped me to achieve my goals.

I was successful in finding freelance work which I thought may be difficult originally, this gave me a significant boost when it came to confidence with getting further work or employment. I am also really pleased with the professional attitude I went at the job with ensuring the client was 100% happy with the work I produced for his company. I have received much positive feedback from this project. I did learn many new things when it comes to dealing with clients and planning/managing a project by myself. I achieved my set goal and am really pleased with the outcome.

Although I did not get chance or time to look at the competition briefs I feel as though this time was used in an even better way. I took a lot of time producing job applications to help me achieve the end goal.

I did change some of my personal branding as mentioned in my reflective journal above. I have however not managed to change all of it as I mentioned making slight alterations to my logo. I did however make changes to my CV and personal website updating previous projects and correcting a few mistakes. Before the end of year show I will be making these changes.

Job searching was a major part of this project for me. I really wanted to achieve the goal of getting employment for when I finish my course. This has become a reality for me as I achieved a job with a company called Green Energy UK Direct LTD. I will be working as an in house designer for there company developing and producing all or their branding and digital marketing. I have huge responsibilities as a designer to ensure this job will be successful.

The final part of the proposal was end of year show. I will still be working on this as the weeks go on but the deadline for this module is fast approaching and I will not have time to finish all of my items for the show. The show is not for another 2 months so I have time however it could not all be finished within this module. I am really pleased with the bits I got finished which included the CV and Website. I have also achieved some nice work for inclusion in my portfolio.

Generally I think this module has been a complete success and I will look forward to pursuing my career in graphic design. I have achieved the goals I set out and went beyond, I actually achieved employment ready for when I finish the course.