My third portfolio visit this semester was at Rapport, an ideas led events agency right here in Manchester. I'd heard about them from Chloe and Lisa who had previously visited them, so I dropped senior designer Paul Rose a line to see if he'd see me too! Luckily he got back to me and we arranged a time to meet.
I arrived in good time at their offices which are located in the Northern Quarter. The building they're housed looked pretty normal from the outside but it's really amazing inside. You walk into this 'indoor courtyard' with windows either side. Almost all of the windows had flower boxes on and there was lots of other plants which made it look so nice! Anyway, I went up to this little circular desk and the man behind it told me to get the lift up to where Rapport where.
As I said, I was quite early but there wasn't really anywhere else to go so I had to go in - better to be early than late I guess! Paul didn't mind that I was early though, he offered me a drink and said I could sit on this sofa until he was free. He was expecting an important phone call so I waited until that had been dealt with. It was a typical sort of Northern Quarter studio - a converted warehouse, with floorboards, big windows and cool artwork on the walls.
When Paul was finished we went into a meeting room and sat down. Paul told me Chris Platt (the Creative Director) might pop in when he had finished with some work but we could start without him. We had a brief chat about what I was doing at Uni and what I wanted to do afterwards. He was interested to know that I didn't just want to do editorials - I far more enjoyed 'physical' things, like installations and pattern design for products.
The first thing in my portfolio is the James and the Giant Peach book cover, which is very bold and colourful. I'm always slightly worried that people won't like that piece, as it doesn't bode well for the rest of the portfolio! Paul really loved it though and was impressed with my use of colour. He said that they usually steer clear of using too much colour as it can look quite chaotic but I had handled it well and it didn't look over the top. He loved the concept of the piece and agreed that it was wise to not just illustrate a peach. He said he could easily see me illustrating a whole series of Roald Dahl books using this layout - which is something I definitely want to do one day.
Next up was 8x8 and, again, Paul loved it! He liked the concept, the colours, the composition and said the black background really helped to not only make the colours stand out but to also 'soften' the piece. He was also really enthusiastic about the spot illustration and liked the fact I'd had it photographed in context as you could see how well it sat on the page of the book.
When we came to the Japanese book covers he once again said I used colour really well. The simple colour palette suited the subject matter and was well used across the two covers. He said that it was nice to see that I could use colour in different ways - wasn't bright and crazy all the time. He also said the figures in these pieces were really good and tied in well with the rest of my illustrations.
The Wellspring building is different to the rest of my portfolio as it is in black and white, but Chris said this was really good as it shows my 'adaptability'. He loved the arrangement of the elements and when looking at the photograph said the building sat really well on the page. The use of negative space around the shape made it look professional and draws your attention straight away.
At this point Chris came in so I went back to the beginning of the portfolio so he could catch up. He liked everything as well and it was so nice to hear Paul pointing out things that he liked to Chris!
We then got up to the Music piece and they were both really interested to hear about the project. They were also impressed to hear that my piece was the first to be chosen. Paul started to say it would be nice to see some photos of the final thing when I turned the page and there they were! They were both really enthusiastic about the installation and it was at this point that Chris said he'd love for me to do something similar for them! I was so happy to hear this as the Music project was so much fun so I'd love to do something like it again. At this point Chris had to leave but he said he'd write me a brief in the near future.
After this me and Paul talked for a little while longer and he said to keep emailing Chris until he wrote me a brief as he might be quite busy - but he'd get round to it one day. Paul asked me to keep in touch and send him new work when I do it, which I will definitely do.
Overall this was one of the best portfolio visits I've had - Chris and Paul seemed to love everything and they gave me some good advice on how to improve some bits of my portfolio. It really boosted my confidence and the thought that I might have a commission when I leave Uni has made me so happy! Thanks guys!