Represent are a free recruitment agency and carers service for professionals in the design industry. Two representatives from the company came in to speak to us about our careers after graduation as part of our professional practice lecturers. This was a particularly interesting lecture as it was the first professional practice lecture where a practitioner was not simply talking about their work, instead we were being given information that is tailored specifically for our own careers. The information they provided advised us on career paths as well as the best way to get noticed by employers through CVs, portfolios, online presence and getting into contact with studios.


Before sending a CV and portfolio to a studio it is best to tailor them both towards who you are applying for. Within a CV the tone of voice used in the wording can be tailored to the personality of the studios and their influences, this can also be applied to portfolios as you can tailor the work you present to work similar to their own so that they know you would fit in well at that studio.

Also make sure to keep your application simple, don’t over design the CV. Make sure that the CV is short and simple, this can easily be done by removing any words which you would not use normally or don’t understand, as well as removing irrelevant information like interests which are not relevant to the job you are applying for. A good way to make sure your CV represents you is to read it out loud, if at any point you cringe at the wording change or remove the wording. It is also important to avoid using cliches such as “I am a good team player”, these phrases are often over used and therefore lack genuine meaning.

At the top of the CV the first thing is should communicate is “who are you now?”. A CV should constantly be updated and a small personal statement at the top of the CV should always convey who you are at that point in time, e.g. “I am a graduate from …”.

Getting in Contact

When contacting a studio highlight work by them that you enjoy or find other interesting ways to start a conversation with them such as by sending an interesting article you think they would enjoy and you could discuss with them. Also ask for a meeting to further discuss this conversation and so that you can some them some of your work, this is a much more relaxed than asking for an interview and they will be more open to sparing a few minutes to have an informal chat with you than they would be to offering an informal interview. In the e-mail you send they will normally open the e-mail, then open the attachments (CV and digital portfolio) and then rea the email body, so keep it simple as all the information they will need to know about you will be contained in the attachments.


It can be handy to keep a spreadsheet of all of the studios you have got into contact with. Keep a record of when you first got in touch with that studio and make sure to mark off any follow up correspondence as well.

Be Proud

When organising your portfolio make sure to put your 2nd best piece of work at the front and your best piece of work at the end. It is also important to tailor your portfolio to the studio you are applying for, so make sure to include work that would like to see relevant to them and the role you wish to get. Furthermore your portfolio shouldn’t be distilled, for example 3 pages with loads of small images on them, when you first graduate it will be more effective to send out your full portfolio as you won’t have a few key pieces of professional work to show. The images included should be large images, sometimes even full bleed, accompanied by information on the project. Text should be included as a divided page before a project, and should state the project title, brief, who you worked with, technical information, and a brief explanation of how you came to that solution. Including text is more relevant when sending out digital portfolios as you won’t be present to discuss the work, however small text prompts can be included in a physical portfolio to act as an aid when discussing your work in person. Digital portfolios should not be information heavy however, and they should aim to be under 10mb (although ideally not that big).

PDFs vs Websites

For a portfolio it is often better to submit a PDF to the studio instead of a link to your website, this is because you can curate a PDF specifically towards the audience and you can tailor how they navigate through out the work. Where as a website is unpredictable and they could easily miss key pieces of work, or see weaker pieces before the stronger pieces and lose interest. A website should be used as a brief introduction to who you are and as a way of contacting you, not as your digital portfolio.


During the interview lead the presentation, which should normally be around 15 to 20 minutes. Open confidently, such as by saying “can I show you some projects?”. In the interview you should aim to show how you think and how well you can articulate your ideas.

The 5 second rule applies to interviews, when you meet someone you make a snap decision about them within the first 5 seconds. Therefore it is important to make sure you present yourself well, e.g. body language, smell, sweating, and how well your clothes are put together. Furthermore having a firm handshake and being an active listen during the interview helps to positively add to your impression.

The day after an interview it is best to send them an email thanking them for their time, this will help to keep your fresh in their minds and may give them a more positive impression of you.


After graduating from university the best way to get a head start in your career is through internships. You should ideally intern for 6 months to 1 year in order to build up a strong portfolio, learn new skills and try out different areas of design to find which is best suited to you.




Miriam Elia

We go to the gallery by Miriam Elia

Miriam Elia studied Graphic Design at the University of Brighton before going on to graduate from doing an MA in Illustration at the Royal College of Art in 2006. Since graduating she has done stand up comedy, short films, radio comedy, prints, drawings and animations. Her diverse body of work created since graduating includes illustrated books such as ‘We go to the gallery’ and ‘The Diary of Edward the Hamster.’

Her work has been very controversial, with her book ‘We go to the gallery’ causing issues with Penguin due to the book being based on the branding of 1950s Ladybird books. This dispute led to her books not being allowed to be sold, however once she changed the branding of the book she could finally release the books to the public.

Another controversial series of work that she created was ISIS in Sylvania. This series included small sylvania family models in everyday scenes, however small models in ISIS outfits have also been placed into the scene. This series was exhibited in a gallery next to Buckingham Palace however was taken down due to worries that it might encourage a terrorist.

What intrigued me particularly about her work was how she always managed to include a sense of humour and satire in her pieces, despite them not visually following the same style. Furthermore I was interested in the public’s reactions to her work, and the outrage that can be caused simply through producing artwork.

Andy Vella

Andy Vella has been working as a prolific and inventive designer for 30 years in publishing and music. Before he had completed his MA at the Royal College of Art he was already creating album covers for The Cure after forming Parched Art design company with Porl Thompson, some-time guitarist from The Cure. His diverse work led to commissions and collaborations with other famous bands and artists, such as Swervedriver, The God Machines and Jeff Buckley. He has also worked for major record companies like Chris Parry’s Fiction records and Chicago-based acid house label Desire.

His inspirations and influences come from the colours, textures and compositions used by some of his favourite artists, naming Picasso, Miro, Georges Grosz and Saul Steinberg. As well as the designers Saul Bass and Storm Thorgerson, and the photographers Man Ray, Georges Hugnet,Brassaï, André Kertész and Germaine Krull. However he also draws inspiration from unlikely places:

“Go out and experience the world and you never know you might just see the way that two bits of metal have been joined on the quayside somewhere and the way they’re rusting and you’re looking at that thinking, ‘There’s a bit of type.’ I do really think it’s all around you.”

During his talk he highlighted four key principles key to a designers career: play, own your idea, fear and risks.


Proposed Book For Factory Records by Andy Vella. A laser etched, stainless steel airtight time capsule, printed on waterproof plastic paper. Once produced a selection would be launched into space and a selection would be buried around britain for future generations to find.

In his professional practice he plays with process, techniques and formats regularly, examples of this include creating time capsules, burying canvas and metals to let nature erode and warp the material, projecting imagery then photographing and projecting it in a cycle, scanography, type created by applying bleach to photographic film, potato prints, scanography, ink applied to surfaces and then printed onto other surfaces, embroidery and creating a typeface based on John Bull rubber printing stamps.

The Cure – Disintegration By Andy Vella. Produced by photographing projected imagery several times, giving the appearance of digital manipulation. 

Own Your Idea

The Cure – 3x3x3 by Andy Vella. A photograph of a copper sheet that was buried underground for a period of time. The weathering on the surface appears to form a face.

In his work work he does not stick to one style and embraces exploring and playing with process, techniques and formats, therefore owning his ideas. Through his creative process he uses unconventional techniques and does not produce stereotypical album covers, this approach can be risky but also makes him a unique and desirable designer.

St Vincent Digital Witness (Secret7) by Andy Vella. Package with record and decalcomania applied varnish.


Peter Hook: The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club by Andy Vella. Glow edge perspex case, hand blocked case with window mount and record (signature edition)

An example of a time he has felt fear during his career was after the release of Bill Bruford – The Autobiography. He designed the set to visually describe the sound and passion of drumming, Throughout the book a single line ran across each page representing the continuation of the music and geometric rings would appear signifying the drummers actions. However once the set was released five people returned the books, complaining that there was a strange line running across each page. Therefore, what he and his peers believed was a good design was not what some of the public considered a good design.

Bill Bruford – The Autobiography, 2012

Contents page


Michael Ryan – Secret Life, by Andy Vella

Throughout his career he has taken many risks, for example with the Secret Life book by Michael Ryan. Many book shops refused to stock the book due to the explicit nature of the book cover. Another risk he took was when he created a book for Bloomsbury, they requested a very avant-garde book however instead he created a book based on the imagery of bar codes as bar codes had recently just come into use.

Overall I found the talk extremely interesting due to my interest in music and album covers. I also enjoyed the visual qualities of his work and his insight into his own creative process as in my work I love to explore process and traditional methods whilst also not conforming to one particular style.

Jack Sachs

Pick Me Up Festival 2016 Work by Jack Sachs

“Jack Sachs is an illustrator and 3D animator based in London. Jack studied BA (hons) Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts. Having trained as a ‘traditional’ pen and paper image maker, he suffered a serious injury to his drawing hand before starting his final year at university. To confront this Jack began to learn to use 3D animation software to make his work while his hand healed.” (Paul Burgess)

Once completing university he went on to work for Fox ADHD where he produced funny weekly animated GIFs based on current news. He also went on to work for Blink Ink, helping to animate The A-Z of 90s Slang and worked as a 3D Designer for Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared among many other projects.

His other clients include: Tate, Spotify, Zeit Magazine, The New York Times, MTV, POP magazine, i-D magazine, Converse, Vice, Fox Network, BBC, Lazy Oaf, NTS Radio, DFA Records (Factory Floor), Activia Benz, Doug Aitkenstudio, Pick Me Up graphic arts festival, Thump, Arena Homme +, Yawn Magazine, SB studio, So Young Magazine, 15 Folds, Tate Britain.

During his talk he gave 4 tips which he believed was vital for pursuing a career in design:

  1. E-mail studios and designers who you want to work with, many of the jobs he has had in the past has been due to e-mailing studios and designers asking for work
  2. Carry on producing work that is most important to you throughout your education and career, despite being a animator and 3D designer he still draws for his personal work which is another side to his practice
  3. Share your work on social media
  4. When freelancing there will be loads of knock backs so don’t put yourself too much on the line to avoid constant disappointment

He also talked about his practice, he mentioned about his hand injury and how he became a 3D animator/designer, also about how he still draws as part of his practice. Something particularly interesting to me that he mentioned was his editorial work. Due to many newspapers and magazines now having digital versions he is being commissioned to produce more gifs and animations for use in editorial. Finally he mentioned his love of motion tracking, which he explores on a high tech level (professional recorded footage) and on a low tech level (creating phototage using high quality iPhone clips).

To get into 3d animation and 3d design he recommended the software Cinema 4D as it is the most accessible in his opinion. This is the software he uses for most of his work, including motion tracking where he can feed in footage, match up the footage to plotted points within a digital space and then add his 3d objects into the footage (as seen in the video above). He also recommended the software Sculptris, a free virtual sculpting programme which he used in a workshop he hosted teaching young adults the principles of 3d design.

When asked about his inspirations he replied with early animations created at the beginning of the 3D industry, mainly from the late 80s and 90s. Videos he noted as being particularly influential were The Minds Eye and Computer Dreams, which can both be seen above. This is a style I still being used today, for example amongst those in the vapourwave subgenre.

Vapourwave is an electronic music subgenre that originated in the early 2010s and spread over the next half of the decade among various internet communities. It is characterized by a nostalgic or surrealist fascination with entertainment, technology and advertising of the 1980s and 1990s, and styles of both corporate and popular music such as lounge music, smooth jazz and elevator music. Sampling is prevalent within the genre, with samples often pitched down, layered or altered (earlier in a classic chopped and screwed style).

Many have interpreted vaporwave music as a critique or reflection on consumer capitalism and popular culture, as its name alludes to vapourware, a term for products that are announced but never released. The visual style of vaporwave (as seen on album covers and music videos) is commonly referred to as aesthetics (often stylized as “AESTHETICS“, with fullwidth characters). The style often involves classical sculpture, web design, surrealism, low-poly computer renderings, glitch art, VHS recordings, cassette tapes, Japanese art and cyberpunk tropes. – Wikipedia


Festive Installations

Whilst researching contemporary sculpture as part of my transmogrify I came across a series of festive graphic installations, illuminated sculptures and eclectic tree decorations currently being displayed in 2016. Although not necessarily relevant to my project they are interesting examples of new takes on festive design / decorations.

Shirazeh Houshiary

In collaboration with The Crown Estate, James Glancy Design displayed installations above some of the most popular streets across London, illuminating the shops and public below.

André Fu

In the Upper House hotel’s ground floor lobby in Hong Kong this 3.3m modernist-style Christmas tree was unveiled. The tree consists of 80 layers of pinewood planks, all hand stained by André Fu, the hotel’s designer and local architect.

Your Studio

In a main square in central Melbourne a real 9m Christmas Tree encased in crystal has been constructed by the graphics studio Your Studio. The installation is part of the QIC Eastland shopping centre festive experience where inside you can also find an iridescent ‘snowstorm’ and a ‘Christmas glade’ featuring over-sized mushrooms.

Alex Chinneck

In Granary Square, King’s Cross a two-storey high Christmas tree appears to be encased in a large block of ice, seemingly melting into a pool of water (actually clear wax). However it is all in fact created from resin, illuminated by the glow of the surrounding fountains.

Samantha Lippett

Samantha Lippett is a University of Brighton alumni who graduate with a first class honours degree in Illustration. During her degree she produced a video consisting of various YouTube clips of home births in the United States. These clips were accompanied by disturbing comments made by men who would use original videos as pornographic material. This video was then published on YouTube under the tags that these men would have used to find the original videos. However the film was removed from YouTube due to containing ‘inappropriate content’. Her final piece was part of a body ownership movement and birthing activism, and confronted todays society and the way in which things are over sexualised. She also challenged topics such as feminism, social politics and intimacy in her final dissertation.

Once leaving university she went to New Mexico on an internship with Birth Rites Collection, there she worked with native midwives. Her work there explored their perspective of birth.

The Birth Rites Collection is the first and only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated to the subject of childbirth. The collection currently comprises of photography, sculpture, painting, wallpaper, drawing, new media, documentary and experimental film. It is housed in the University of Salford in the School of Nursing Midiwfery and Social Care in the Mary Seacole Building. –

In 2014 she moved on from New Mexico and returned to the UK to complete a masters at Goldsmiths university in Curating, where she has organised many talks discussing maternity, and has since been producing work back in the UK.

Personally I really enjoyed her work, I have a strong interest in ethical and social issues, such as feminism and body ownership, therefore it was interesting to see how another artist tackles these topics. I have revisited feminism several times throughout my A-Level, Foundation and Undergraduate studies, and I am confident that I will continue to revisit this topic in the future, therefore seeing how another person has made it a core topic within their work and given back to communities through their work was truly inspiring.

Suggested Artists for Further Research

ST. GENEVIEVE (1999) by Kiki Smith

An Earthwork Performed (1970) by Mary Kelly

Seb Lester

Seb Lester is a graphic design student who is Brighton based, he currently work as a type design and calligrapher. His clients include Monotype (where he designed well known typefaces such as SOHO, Neo Sans + Neo-Tech and Scene) and British Airways (where he designed the typeface Mylius Modern).

His type work has explored a lot of methods such as animation and illustrative typography, and he is skilled in a variety of different practices from oil painting to drawing. His eagerness to explore a variety of materials and methods has allowed him to develop his work to where it is today. As part of the creative process he stressed the importance of sketchbooks as a a way to collate ideas and inspiration as well as for developing an idea.

His recent work explores calligraphy, a practice that takes .a lot of time to learn. He initially learnt through ‘play working’, this is where he would practice and experiment with various typefaces in order to further his knowledge.

“Hard work and focus is a major factor. Self belief is critical. I believe almost anyone can achieve almost anything in life if they put their mind to it. They key is to find your passion. Aim high. Set goals and pursue them with all of your heart.” – Seb Lester, 2016

In recent years his work has gained a lot of publicity due to his internet success. This is in relation to his calligraphy, where he would beautifully hand render words and phrases however they would often be of swear words or insulting messages, this contrast creates an amusing yet beautiful outcome. Before the lecture I was aware of Seb Lester’s work and this was due to his online fame, I personally throughly enjoy the simplicity of his work which creates an effective and amusing outcome.

Through out my formal art and design education I had always studied fine art, up until I did my foundation where I specialised in graphic design, this however wasn’t until very late in the course. Consequently this means I have had very little experience with typography up until recently, so it was interesting to hear how he learnt typography and calligraphy and his tips for developing your work.