Conor Mayling's Portfolio
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July 2019 Reflection Update: New Designers, D&AD Blood By The Book & a little career update

Coventry University SWATCH Stand at New Designers 2019

New Designers 2019

With participating and attending the New Designers exhibition in London a couple of days ago, this was a great experience and event that I’m glad that I partook and exhibited in. As New Designers is a very large exhibition showcasing work and portfolios from graduates, there was a lot of graphic design and visual communication inspiration and styles to be seen and network with, as well as the additional product design works.

This was a great time to network with other graduates, designers and creatives from other universities and from the New Designers’ 'One Year In' booth, which showcases designers and creatives in their first anniversary of what they have been doing since graduating the year prior. It was also great to network with potential employers in the design and creative industry and I ultimately made some networking contacts with notable companies and agencies. Two examples are with Holmes Wood and Thames & Hudson which both firms suit my varied range of design projects and design process. However, these are based in Central London and at the time of writing this blog post, I want to begin my design career in my home county of Yorkshire, particularly in Leeds and/or Bradford. Although these are still great networking contacts to obtain, part of my career plan is to work in Central London at some point which will probably be from five or so years.

Stand layout of my printed portfolio at New Designers 2019

Although I obtained networking contacts, I was also approached with a potential internship job with a startup company from Singapore. I talked and showcased my portfolio with the founder, attended a meeting with her on the following day to further discuss the internship job with details of the role and company, and upon returning home after the exhibition finished, I was given a small poster design brief to complete and submit to her as well. The poster design brief was basically to create a teaser poster of a meetup event of two bird Facebook groups in Singapore. This wasn’t a difficult task to complete, as this is a typical brief that the university would give out.

So, below are my initial and developed poster designs. I was able to receive critical feedback during the two days I had for the brief from a notable design community that I’m part of called The Designership on Slack.

Initial poster designs:

Developed and submitted poster designs with mockups:

At the current time of writing this blog post, I did successfully submit my poster design with mockups to the founder, and I haven’t heard back from her yet. However, this will be a great opportunity for me to kickstart my career as firstly, this is an international startup company, so this gives me great international experience, and secondly, this will be a great design experience to be part of the startup company’s fundamental beginnings of creating and utilising their identity system for their digital and/or print campaigns. With my talks and meeting with the founder, it sounds very strong that I’m an ideal candidate for her and the company, as my portfolio illustrates the diversity and required design disciplines that she is looking for. She was particularly interested in my information poster design and editorial/bookbinding projects, which can be seen here: VacZineNations Poster Design, The Chicago Of Europe Book, Resistance Typography Book and Amsterdam Type Tour.

As well as networking with industry contacts, graduates and other designers/creatives, there were many opportunities to become an inspiration to younger creatives and audiences as in the latter days of the exhibition, secondary schools’ and colleges’ students had a gander through the exhibition. This allowed showcasing and talking through my work, portfolio and the graphic design course at Coventry University to the younger generation of creatives. Although this wasn’t the main focus and aim of the whole exhibition, it’s a nice feeling to have inspiring younger creatives who I was at that stage of my design career.

Apart from the networking and showcasing my portfolio, this was also a great time to spend with my other peers who attended and my tutors who also organised and attended the stand too. As my graduation ceremony is in November of 2019, this will be the last time that I will see and talk in person with my peers and tutors. So with the first two opening days and every night, I went for drinks at nearby pubs with my peers and tutors and this was a great socialising time with them, as we are creatives, this is an easy and relaxing night out to ease from the exhibition. The first two opening nights were great too, as the event offered some great free beers from a London brewery which I enjoyed, amongst with my other peers and tutors.

Overall, I’m glad and content that I participated in this relevant exhibition event as I gained notable exposure to the industry, networked with other graduates and designers and spent good times with my peers and tutors. And ultimately, potentially receiving an internship job with an international startup company which will give me a great start to my career.

Now, for the D&AD New Blood Festival (which I sadly couldn’t attend) …

During the New Designers exhibition, the following week held the annual and well-known graduate design festival of D&AD’s New Blood Festival. I couldn’t attend the festival as I had plans booked during those days, but the most relevant and notable news that I want to share and reflect on is that during the build-up towards the New Blood festival, D&AD had a partnered campaign with Squarespace called New Blood By The Book. The campaign is basically about how to set up your portfolio and other relevant notes for graduates. D&AD and Squarespace held a competition-like submission for graduates to submit their Squarespace website portfolios via Twitter and/or Instagram and D&AD and Squarespace selected forty submissions to be part of the D&AD’s Blood By The Book online series. So, obviously I was one of the forty selected (that’s why I write this blog post, haha) to showcase during the New Blood festival at the Squarespace booth, which I’m really pleased and content to hear from as this gives me great, notable exposure to the industry and potential networking contacts, as well as inspiring other upcoming designers and creatives on their website portfolios. Now the New Blood festival has ended, D&AD has now released the Blood By The Book series with the 40 Squarespace website examples on their website, which allows me to gained further exposure online. This can be viewed on the following link:

I didn’t expect to get selected and get showcased with D&AD but this gives me great exposure to my design areas of front end web design for job applications and professional achievements. For me, it feels like winning a D&AD pencil award so it’s a win in my book anyway!

A little career update…

So with the recent New Designers event and news with D&AD, my job search for kick-starting my career is still ongoing, however, I recently had an interview with a company based in Harrogate, seeking a junior graphic designer. I had recent news that the employer/senior designer was interested in my portfolio and myself as a person, and it overall appears that I could potentially start work at this company. Apart from this recent interview, I have other job applications sent through, seeing whether I have an interview or not and I haven’t heard back from many agencies and studios in Leeds about starting work at their respective places. My career plan is that if I’m not successful with starting my career here in Yorkshire, I will search further afield into Manchester and London and if needs be, even Berlin.

But for now, still, job hunting and participating in relevant design competitions.