Last Monday I was in Cardiff.
First off we had to dissect a brief with some of the 3rd year students. Fairly simple stuff, no harm done. They were about to enter a brief set by the ycn, who I'd never heard of. Looking through the book of last years winners I noticed a list of design consultancies at the back. I was just about to go mad because we weren't in it, when I noticed we were.
The college looked a lot like ours. Lots of rooms that are obviously well used, but that no one calls home. Lots of out of date but strangely comforting books lying around.
I guess the problem with Art Colleges these days is all the modules.
And the IMPORTANT MEETINGS.
In the evening we were 50% of the Cardiff Design Forum. The other 50% were the design team from Torchwood, so no pressure there.
I think Kingsley and I did OK. Essentially we ran through our work, how we started and stuff we've learned. Not dissimilar to this. At the end we threw in a bonus slide called, How To Get A Job. That's a slight over claim, but we thought it would be helpful to say all the things that graduates do that piss us off. Helpfully, I'll list them for you.
1. Don't ring up and say, "Hi. Have you got any jobs?" Firstly, we probably haven't. Secondly, the person you're speaking to probably isn't the person who gives out the jobs. Thirdly, don't you know that sales people never ask questions that you can say Yes/No to. Try harder.
2. Don't do your CV in Word. Straight in the bin.
3. If you come in to see us, act like a human. Be yourself, be normal. Don't just stare at the walls.
4. Apply, apply, apply. Getting a job is very hard. It's the ones who try hardest, not the ones who are the best designers, who get the jobs.
5. When we ask who your favourite designers are, have an answer. And not Saatchis. They are not designers and this is not the 80's.
And some more stuff. We got asked lots of questions and quite a few people came over to talk to us in the bar afterwards. The heat sensitive business cards were a big hit.
The Torchwood people were brilliant, and I'm not a Sci Fi kinda person. They have a team of 100 designers in Cardiff working on Doctor Who, Torchwood and another one I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention? Edward Thomas runs the team and obviously knows his stuff.
The detail they go into is staggering. If they get asked to design a lever that an alien wil pull they ask why the alien is pulling the lever, what sort of hands will the alien have, why does it need hands, has it ever used a lever before, and much more. That's a pretty good way of dissecting a brief.
At one point someone asked why the lift has pipes running along the side. Edward replied without hesitation that the pipes were needed to take water into HQ to cool the alien brain that powers the lift.
There was a pause.
And then one of the team said to Edward, "You've no idea how funny that sounds". Dedication and belief are no bad thing.
We had a good time in Cardiff. Thank you Cardiff. Thank you Olwen.
This picture is one of many reasons why you should go to Art College. You get to paint "Everything I held" on the window and no one is troubled. In fact you could probably hand it in for one of your modules.
By the way, is anyone reading this an art student? Please leave a comment if you are.