TGIF ... And It's Almost Christmas


It's finally Friday and it's finally my Christmas break. My first full Christmas break in a very long times. Previous years have been spent in retail, with last year being spent writing a dissertation (by getting a first it sure paid off). I haven't had a chance in a long time to blog which has concerned my quite a bit (currently blogging on a train home). Since getting a full time job as a Junior Print Designer my life has changed quite a bit and, I admit, I am still trying to fit in to a routine and not neglect blogging. It is a lot harder to blog now because the work I design is not my own and therefore I cannot publish it on here unless it's sold and on the retailers website. Another factor of not being able to blog a lot is because of my job I don't get much of a chance to do my own thing anymore. What spare time I have is now spent being a grown up (which isn't fun sometimes). 

But, enough dwelling so I can fill you in on recent goings on at work (at least I can tell you rather than show you). A variety of briefs have recently come in from Tesco, Urban Outfitters and Miss Selfridge. All stores require a certain type of handwriting that varies meaning you have to adapt to the retailer you're designing for very quickly. At the beginning this was something I struggled with, even at college I never found the transition between projects an easy one. I think one of my problems there was that I was always so full of ideas and wanted to do that one project a thousand different ways. Now that transition is getting easier and I'm now more able to design for two different brands in the same day. 
How do I deal with this? Well ... Take a deep breath, have a drink (sadly non alcoholic - not office policy) and break down the brief or the inspiration the retailer have sent over bit by bit. What parts of the design strongly catch my eye? What parts of the print have been very popular on the catwalks this season? What parts of an image or images can I take apart and piece together to create a high street version of a catwalk print? Can this one print idea work a couple of ways to create compliment designs? 
Its not easy all the time and I admit to not being able to break it down and your "design brain" goes a bit foggy. But, I have to think, maybe a little more research in to what the brand has in store will help, or asking other designers in your department what they think. It is important to work as a team. Something I have found useful, is to ask the designer/pattern cutter who heads up that brands account what ideas they have for prints depending on their garment ideas. They have a stronger idea for the brand identity than I do at this early stage and by asking I can make a note of the brands identity ready for next time a brief comes from them. As a print designer in a big company its good to bounce of ideas and ask about some designs before you begin spending hours to create something that isn't right (learnt lesson through a Miss Selfridge brief). 

By working in this method over the past couple of weeks there has been that mixture of "brain blockage" and creating good and interesting outcomes. I think I have now found a good balance of approaching new briefs and requests to start up with in the New Year. If you're looking for a new method of working or want to make small changes to your approach then maybe try some of the above. It's better to take time and make one successful out come than ten failed ones. Being a part of a fast paced industry is difficult and adapting your handwriting takes not only time but a lot of patience. 
A good quote that a fellow print designer told me was that when you get a brief/image you have to design and to think "the same same, but different"! A quote a will stick to. 

For now, however, I am off to take another deep breath, enjoy an alcoholic beverage and break down in to the festive spirit. Merry Christmas one and all! 


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