Friday, 24 February 2012

Career Advice.

Kirsty Miller from Career Services and Karen Slieth from the Placement Base, at the University of Dundee came in to our ‘Design in the Market’ lecture to give us some advice on how to go about getting a placement.

They told us about an upcoming volunteer fair where we could go and network with some businesses and about the Placement Base which is on campus where you can go to find out about placement vacancies.


One of the most useful pieces of advice I took away from this lecture was when they talked about the ‘Elevator Pitch’. I had heard of it before but still have not come up with my own. The ‘Elevator Pitch’ should be your C.V. summed up in 30 seconds or so in case you bump into someone important and it’s your only opportunity to convince them to give you or at least consider you for a job. The reason I’ve not written my elevator pitch yet is because I didn’t really know where to start. She gave us some tips which will hopeful be helpful when I write it.



Tips on writing your ‘Elevator Pitch’:

  • Who are you? – let them know this is a good place to start!


  • Do you have any connections with who you are talking to? - try to think of one people will be more interested and listen. You don’t have to know someone they know you can simply say I was looking at you work, or I had a lecture about your company…


  • What do you want? – Get to the point let them know what you’re looking for.


  • What do you want to happen next? – You have to make it happen. Make a connection ask if you can call them, send them your C.V., pop in to see them. What can you offer them, what can you do for them? Suggest it.

I best try to write mine soon it will probably come in handy in the near future!

Guest Speaker: Iain Lauder, ‘Redpath’.

The ‘Design and the Market’ lectures have been really interesting this semester and motivational. The lecturers have brought in a number of guest speakers which I’ve liked as it gives us insights into the working world whilst sitting in our lecture theatre.




I really enjoyed a short but sweet talk by Iain Lauder, Creative Director at ‘Redpath’. ‘Redpath’ is based in Edinburgh it describes its self as “a strategic creative agency of designers and writers delivering joined-up thinking across every project we work on.” Iain Lauder gave us ‘10 Things to Think About’. These were:

  1. Get Faster. – Something I need to work on but hopefully this will come with    practice.


  1. Be Curious. – Learn new things; be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on in the world. This is key if you want to be a successful designer.


  1. Don’t Apologise. - Believe in your self, don’t deposit a negative thought about your work in someone’s mind. I must work on this one…


  1. Be Flexible.


  1. Be a Sponge. -  Do things you wouldn’t normally or don’t want to do. It’ll be a new experience you can then talk about, learn from, or use to help generate ideas.


  1. If you don’t know don’t pretend. - Ask someone who knows, there’s no shame in that.


  1. Check the brief again and again.


  1. Always have ideas. - But what if I can’t? I guess this is where numbers 2 and 5 should help!


  1. Be Organised. - Prepare, take notes, and be on time.


  1. Don’t Give Up.-  Just because something doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world something better will come along eventually keep going and work through it.


I really loved Iain Lauder’s relaxed attitude of “what will be, will be” it makes me feel more comfortable about what will happen after uni. He told us a story about someone he worked with that one day decided it wasn’t for him, so he left, took some flying lessons and is now a pilot for British Airways, amazing! I must try to be less scared of life and be more like these guys because everything will work out in the end if you make it.

Presentations like this really give me a confidence boost his parting words were “You have talent remember that!” Whenever I start to feel unsure about what I’m doing I’m going to think back to these lectures and remember the advice given… then how can I go wrong?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

‘Design and the Market’ ‘Not Tom’ Presentation.





As a group we got together and went over our interview with ‘Not Tom’, we recorded it and had written 
notes so it was easy to refresh our memories. We sorted through all our information identifying what we thought would be the most relevant for our presentation. I personally found this tricky as I wasn’t exactly sure what type of presentation it should be as the brief is quite open. I think however we have achieved a good mix of background information on the company, business information and information on the work they do so hopefully people will enjoy it and find it interesting. We simply wanted to tell the ‘Not Tom’ story from past, present to future.

As we are in a class that is filled with a mix of disciplines from product designers, to jewellery designers, to students who do animation I have been terrified at the thought of presenting an coming up with a unique creative way to show what we have learnt. We therefore have decided to keep it simple. We have gone with a ‘Not Tom’ style – laid back and fun and have tried to represent their brand in each of our slides keeping them in the mind of the viewer.

I’m nervous for tomorrow but looking forward to completing assignment 1 for ‘Design and the Market’. I hope all our hard work has paid off. I’ll post up the presentation slides tomorrow after it’s all over.

‘Not Tom’ After the Skype Interview.


Skyping ‘Not Tom’ was a really positive experience. I was a little apprehensive as I thought it might have been awkward doing an interview via skype however they made us feel very comfortable and were open to answering all our questions. What they say on their website is true they really are “nice guys”. I don’t want to give too much information away before our presentation in case I bore anyone watching who has read this but I will write a brief summary.



The business started off with Richard and Harry with a shared passion to work on projects the love and can be proud of. Since 2009 the business has grown. They get busier everyday and so have had to hire some part time staff to help with the work load. Money is not the main motivation for this business instead it’s having the power to do what they want, the main reason for their set up was so they didn’t have to work for other people giving them a greater chance of designing things they love.

Their knowledge of setting up a business was limited. They had taken some business based modules at uni but Harry took some extra classes after to learn more. They both feel that learning how to run a business is mainly common sense so they just go along with it getting advice from others where necessary. Their business plan doesn’t seem to be overly detailed they take work as it comes if it is suitable for their company, they won’t do something that goes against what they have set out to do. More international projects are something they are planning to do in the near future.

Branding is something I’m always interested in so I was keen to find out whether or not it was important to them. They said it was important to them although they didn’t spend a lot of time on it. The ‘Not Tom’ brand was intended to be noticeable but not overpowering they want their work to speak for its self which it seems to be doing.       In my design and the market module we have been told that our personal brands should sum our personality up. I think the ‘Not Tom’ brand sums Harry and Richard’s personalities and work up exactly; laid back, fun and serious when needed. Obviously I don’t know them personally but that is the impression I got of their personalities after the interview.

Hopefully the rest of my ‘Design and the Market’ class will find our presentation interesting. I definitely enjoyed learning more about ‘Not Tom’. They are a company to watch I’m sure I will read a lot more about them in the future.

‘Not Tom’. Background Research.

‘Not Tom’ is a design company based in London specialising in furniture and exhibition design, they also work in other areas taking on some branding work and hope to work on more interior based projects in the future.



Richard Jennings and Harry Osborne are the two faces behind ‘Not Tom’ (get it Dick and Harry not tom!) They met at university and soon after leaving decided to set up a business together so they could do the work they wanted and not the work others wanted them to do.

The company is small with the two of them working full time and bringing in other members of staff part time to help with graphics and CAD. They also have design
Interns in the office from time to time.

Looking through their work I noticed they have done a few high profile events such as ‘London Fashion Week’ and the ‘Campaign for Wool’. 



This ‘Wool Modern’ exhibition that was used as part of the ‘Campaign for Wool’ is one of my favourite pieces of their work I just think it’s really beautiful and quite romantic. After they completed the exhibition where they worked with Loui Thomas they gained a lot of publicity. The woolly twigs were featured in the gallery’s windows, the windows of the ‘Pringle’ store on Sloan Street and featured in the promotional video for the exhibition in association with ‘Harrods’. You can also find ‘Not Tom’s’ work featured on well know design websites such as ‘Dezeen’. Word of mouth seems to work well for them and getting people talking about their outstanding work gets them business.

Before our skype interview with them we outlined questions we wanted to ask highlighting the most important in case we were short of time. We also thought we would ask them to send us some photos of their office environment as it wasn’t possible for us to see it in person.



The types of questions we will ask will be how they went about starting up a business, how they brand themselves and what have been there biggest hurdles. We have quite a few others so will hopefully have time to ask them all and let them lead on to some other interesting topics!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Design & the Market: Finding a Business (Assignment 1)

Our first assignment for the ‘Design & the Market’ module is to research and interview a business of our own choice then present our findings to the rest of the class. This project aims to develop our understanding of what running a business entails and give us some insight into the types of business models that operate within the creative sector.


Working in a group with three other girls from my discipline (Vikki Kidd, Hollie Edwards and Danielle Carnegie) we discussed a few businesses we were interested to know more about such as; ‘Graven Images’, ‘Ice Cream Architecture’ ,‘Blacksheep’ before all agreeing on a London based design duo ‘Not Tom’.




We liked ‘Not Tom’ due to their approachable laid back identity, the fact that they are a fairly young company (founded in 2009) but have already worked on high profile events such as London Fashion Week 2011 and we are all interested in exhibition/ furniture design which they specialise in. We felt that as they are quite a young company we would be able to relate to them and ask them questions about their start up and where or what they’re aiming for in the future.


After deciding on a business we e-mailed them. Fortunately they e-mailed us back really quickly so we could get the ball rolling to set an interview date. We were prepared to travel down to London to conduct the interview face to face however they said that it would be best to skype instead as they felt their offices would be too small and we would have a wasted trip. We will be interviewing them this week and we have some ideas that will hopefully make up for the fact we are not seeing them in their office space.


This week will be dedicated to doing more research on them, getting together as a group to set our questions and most likely having a trial run to calm our/my nerves!


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Restaurant of the Future? Inamo, London.

Inamo an Oriental fusion restaurant in London is providing a dining service with a twist.

Diners will sit down and be faced with an interactive ordering system. The power is in their hands, they can create the dining experience they want by; setting the mood of the table, ordering their own food, playing games, discovering the local area and even ordering a taxi before they leave. Along with the ‘E-table’ waiters will still be on hand to help.




Blacksheep a London based company were hired to design the interiors for Inamo. They were given four key words that the design was to be based around these were, ‘warm’, ‘vibrant’, ‘charm’ and ‘theatre’. They also had to take into consideration the lighting in the restaurant to ensure that the projections on the ‘E-tables’ would work just as well during the day as at night. A graphic screen was designed to be placed over the windows to stop the glare but still contribute to the overall theme of the restaurant. The technology may be the main focus for many, but the overall interiors were not forgotten about a trendy and sleek design has been achieved.







I’ve seen a few of Blacksheep’s designs now and I really like their quirky style. Their recent design for Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant ‘Union Jacks’ is really fun and unique.  Blacksheep is definitely a business I’m going to keep watching for inspiration.   

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Design & the Market: Guest Speaker Emma Walker.

Yesterday morning Emma Walker CEO of Craft Scotland was a guest speaker in my Design & the Market lecture. She gave a very motivational talk, telling us a brief history about her life, her achievements in work and how we too can be a success. By the end it made me feel as though anything was possible.  

One of the areas she talked about that I found most interesting was about ‘branding yourself’. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now but I’m just not sure where to start. She gave a few pointers that will hopefully help; firstly ‘your brand is your personality’ sounds easy enough but I just need to figure out how to sum my personality up! Who is my market? Who is my network? How do I speak with them? Are a few questions she suggests we answer to focus the brand, hopefully by keeping this blog and using twitter I have already answered one of the questions. However ‘Me’ as a brand definitely needs more work!

‘Who’s your audience?’ was the main focus. Knowing your audience helps you create the right network of people, and pitch yourself and your work accordingly.  If you’re not talking to the right people it’s useless. I really liked when she said “don’t apologise for your work” it gave me confidence. Sometimes I feel that I should be creating things that will gain the approval of others. She made me think that if I’m happy with it then that’s all that matters there will be an audience for me somewhere.

After the lecture I left feeling quite excited and ready to do! I’ve started mocking up some business card designs so I will be prepared to put my “brand in their hand” when the opportunity arises.