Today we were given a presentation by Lise Brian and Mika Shephard from a design agency called The Chase. They came to Stockport primarily to talk the third years about their portfolios but very kindly agreed to talk to us as well. They gave us some excellent advice on approaching design agencies and how we should prepare our portfolios.
They had contacted several agencies for us and asked them what they look for in new designers; their responses were as follows:
- CIA (Central Illustration Agency) - look for originality, good communication skills and a positive professional attitude.
- Heart Agency - look for someone who is different from anything they've seen before.
- Lemonade Illustration Agency - treat illustration as a real business.
- Folio Illustration Agency - know what illustration the agency works with.
Lise also gave us her own advice on how to approach an agency:
- Make sure you spell the person's name right.
- Don't attach too many files in an email.
- Follow up with a call.
- Be nice to receptionists.
- Try not to be too nervous on an interview.
- Know something about where you're going.
- Be enthusiastic.
- No job? Ask about a brief.
- Turn up unannounced.
- Can you help with anything?
Finally they gave some advice on preparing your portfolio:
- Take work out you don't like.
- Have a good mix of work.
- Keep your folder spotless.
- Treat it like any other layout job.
- Seeing the original piece is lovely.
- Don't put foam board in your folder.
- How much time have you got?
- Given advice? Don't take it all to heart.
- Practice talking about your work.
- Start and finish with your strongest work.
Lise and Mika had some excellent tips and I found the presentation really useful. Some of the points were quite obvious but it's amazing how you can easily forget about them. When I graduate I will contact as many agencies as I can to try and get representation. They have access to major clients that you couldn't reach on your own and they will scout out work to fit your style - they're well worth the effort!