Present yourself

I’ve been putting quite a lot of research into my presentation that’ll be due in the new few weeks, not too long after pitch week.
I’ve sort of narrowed down what I want the presentation to focus on specifically, and it’s portfolios and how a designer presents themselves as both an individual and as part of a design studio. Sounds rivetting, eh??
The main sources I’ve been looking at are a couple of books I got for Christmas by a great designer called Adrian Shaughnessy. They’ve both been very successful within the design community, and if you’re a designer you’ve probably heard of them, if not already read them at least in brief. The first is the nicely titled “How To Be A Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul”.

[“How To Be A Graphic Designer Without Losing You Soul”, by Adrian Shaughnessy]

It covers quite a lot, but it’s got a really pretty lengthy section on portfolios and the like. One important distinction that Shaughnessy makes is the difference between a portfolio a designer uses to show a studio in a job interview and a portfolio a studio (or indeed freelancer) uses to promote work to a potential client.
The former is ‘demonstrate your understanding of design’, whereas the latter is to demonstrate you’re understanding of what the client wants. And of course that your studio has the ability to deliver that. It should also display some sense of studio brand and identity, because if you can’t visually present yourself competantly then how will the client believe that you can visually represent them?
It is, after all, a difficult thing to sell yourself to a client. They’re understandably dubious about investing in graphic design more than anything else. The analogy made by Shaughnessy is to picture buying a sofa. You go into the shop and the assitant assures you he has a great sofa, that you’ll love it, but that you can’t see it until a little while after you’ve paid for it. You can see all the other sofas, but not yours. This is effectively the blindness with which clients have to go with artists. It understandably then, requires a lot of convincing.

Not sure if I want to focus too much on portfolios to clients though. I may focus more on the one aimed at studios. There’s a chapter specifically on finding a job, so I guess that’s a pretty good place to start. But should be an easy enough evening tonight, nestling up with a good old book, taking some notes. Then down to actually assembling the presentation. Woo…
Also need to look up some more resources instead of just stealing all of Shaughnessy’s words for my presentation and essay. I’ve e-mailed a few folk in the industry, and I’ll probably post about their responses when I get them in. I also ordered a book solely on how to build a portfolio as a graphic designer. So more to come…

The 10 of ’11
2: Bon Iver by Bon Iver

The fifth and final sophomore release to make the top ten is one that topped nearly every critic’s list year. And last week I know I explained that it’s fine for a band to not reinvent themselves upon every new release, but in Bon Iver’s case it was a necessity. Continuing with the same understated and hushed brand of folk would have felt dishonest considering their recent rise to stardom. It would lack the ressonance that the first album had, and imitating it would have risked ruining on the best albums of the last decade.

Thankfully Justin Vernon seemed to realise this, or at least be too tempted by the possibilities that his new position in the music industry offered him. And he really is in quite an impressive position, anyone who can sell out major Manchester concert halls in 10 minutes has clearly succeeded financially in the music industry. And this self-titled album delivers a sound large enough to fit such a venue. For Emma felt like it barely ventured out of that mystical cabin that perpetuates stories of the record’s production, but this album feels like an almost global affair, reflected in the track titles mostly representing place names that reach far out of Vernon’s Wisconsin. And the variety of textures and sounds available on the record embody this appropriately.
Yet for the most part it’s still a nicely organic sounding album, as if not all ties to that beautiful first album have been severred, like no bad experience in life, like the ones that catalysed For Emma, should be simply discarded.
And whilst this is a reinvention it’s in this way that this album ties together so nicely with its predaccessor. A sense of healing permeates throughout each song, as if this is a direct reply to every heartbroken whisper recorded in that cabin years ago. Whilst it still pales in comparison to For Emma it’s still an incredibly beautiful record, regardless of infamous closing tracks or a lost sense of intimacy. What matters is that it still all feels sincere, when crooned in that soothing soft falsetto.

All this goes to show that despite having hit the bigtime Vernon hasn’t become part of some corporate machine. Bon Iver still feels very human, as does its main author. Which is frankly a godsend, as to lose a musician like Vernon to the corporate music tycoons would’ve been a disaster worse than X-factor…


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