Graduated – 2008
After four years of studying (or as his parents used to put it “pissing about”) OIi finally landed his first “proper” job at Reform Creative. He was there for about a year and a half, and then moved over the road to Mark Studio. He’s currently working at Music, and has been for nearly 18 months. In this time Oli has worked for a variety of clients including, British Fashion Council, Building Blocks, Gazprom Energy, Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester City Football Club, NHS, and Virgin Unite. Along the way he’s been lucky enough to have achieved recognition from the design industry by either winning or being nominated for various awards.
The Disciples of Design Q&A
How and where did you secure your first job?
To be honest, it was very hard finding a full time design job after uni. Our year entered the industry midway through a recession, so jobs were hard to come by. I did a lot of placements, networked as much as I could and was a persistent shit. I think it took me well over a year to get my first full time “design” job.
Do you think being a Preston student has benefited you in any way?
Definitely, the way of thinking is completely different to anywhere else. The lecturers seem to know everyone within the industry, and I used this to my advantage. Preston’s design course has great history, everyone knows what type of designer they’re getting, a designer who is all about ideas, doing great work for a reason, and substance over style.
Where do you get your ideas from? Do you prefer collaboration or thinking alone.
I’m happy working on my own or with other people. I do like working in small groups, bouncing ideas off each other, it’s great seeing how people tackle the same problem but come out with different solutions. Ideally though, before any of that happens I like to absorb the brief on my own, to try and understand the problem, hopefully sleep on it (not literally) only then I can start to think of the answers.
What would you have done differently at University knowing what you know now?
Probably talked through my work more in crits, it’s a great way of practising your presenting skills. Apart from that nothing else, University was a blast.
How has the industry changed since you’ve graduated in your experience?
I’ve not been in the industry long enough to give a detailed answer, sorry! What I can say is that graphic design for me has changed a lot since leaving university, for one, I see myself as a designer, not a graphic designer.
Since moving to Music, I’ve been involved in jobs where I’ve had to get my Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen head on and design interiors, think about what materials to use, storyboard animations that appear on the big screens at City’s stadium, and apply a brand to an arena. It’s always different and always challenging.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Getting paid for a job that I really love doing! I hear a lot of people moaning about how much they hate their job, I think to myself how lucky I am.
What would you say has been the key to your success so far?
Dedication, enthusiasm, persistence and willing to get the job done no matter what. But if I’m honest there’s still a way to go before I see myself as a successful designer.
What is the most unusual thing you have done in your career?
I’ve not done anything too wacky but I have dressed up as Spider-Man and pretended to climb up walls for Music’s website (if you’ve got a keen eye you might see me in the virtual walk around office). I’ve also worn a dress and pranced around the Royal Exchange theatre for a photoshoot (that was pretty weird and very embarrassing!).
What do you look for in graduates and their portfolios?
Creativity, enthusiasm, personality and above all else, no pubes in the portfolio!
Any advice for students entering the industry?
Be enthusiastic, show your willing to work your ass off. Don’t sit there in the corner twiddling your thumbs, it’s your time to shine! Be proactive, show you’re willing to help out on anything (even if it’s nipping to the corner shop for biscuits or making the 20th brew round and it’s only 11 in the morning).
But most importantly, socialise, there’s nothing better than going out with your fellow work colleagues, people get to know you better out of the office.
2011 Identity - Manchester Literature Festival
Homeless Campaign Posters - Virgin Unite