Thursday, 6 May 2010

Russell Hancock

Visiting lecturer - Russell Hancock 27th April 2010

Russell Hancock came to our uni to give a brilliant talk about his journey from college to present and he came to give us a similar lecture like his old class mate Craig Oldham gave us. He wanted to help us transition from a student to a designer, easier than he did. He was very charismatic and funny, he kept us all interested with the fast pace and fascinating stories.
Like I have said, he was in the same class with Craig Oldham, at the university college Falmouth and graduated in 2006. And he has worked himself up in the short space of 4 years.
He described his mistakes and his success when he first left uni and he got ‘shafted’ quite a lot, but also put himself out there. He made connections in his town and graphic designed for basically his whole town. He did what ever he could big or small and made connections in the industry while doing this.

He has had internships in studios as well as jobs but is a freelance designer now. And I have learned that ‘self-employed’ means you work for yourself and ‘Freelance’ means work for studios and companies.

He was going through some of his design work and he started to talk about a old derelict art deco cinema. And you could see he got excited, this was a cinema in his town that was owned by a awful guy. And Russell brought it on himself to design the boards that cover up the doors of the building, just to make it intriguing and to bring back some of its magic. 

He pitched this to the awful guy and he turned it down, but months later some else bought the building and he pitched it to them and they loved it, and now they have asked him to design all their promotions packaging and design for the inside as they are making it a cinema again. This is an amazing achievement and he should be very proud, from a small illustration design to a huge campaign is brilliant.

This shows that you don’t just have to work for big companies to get up the ladder. But he doesn’t knock London and its wide variety of design. He has worked fro ASHA, an amazing design company, and has produced some winning ideas with them, like the ‘gadgetshop’ campaign which was to produce posters, packaging and business cards that all represented a gadget.  He showed us some of the fantastic work he did at ASHA. 

He also told us how in the past he was over working, working very long days and weekends, which isn’t a life.He warned us of the danger of over working and how he had become ill form it. He was very strong on his opinion that life shouldn’t all be about work and it was such a relief to hear, as some designers are too focused in my eyes and live eat breathe design. 

“life and a work balance is so important”

After working at Asha he became self employed and told us some GREAT tips on how to go about self employment, hourly rates and terms and conditions.
No one else has Ever told us or spoke to us about these kinds of things, not even hinted so this was awesome.

Hourly rates- £25
Freelancing Day Rate - £100-£200
Web/flash designs - £300 or more per hour.

As well as these valuable tips he also was very voiced about keeping in contact with everyone and anyone, if you have done past work with a client, keep in touch, they might use you some day. And to Listen to clients, they don’t see the way we do and sometimes cannot see the potential in ideas. Even showing your mum would help; if she cant get it then you need to re work it.
When working for a client, get the money up front and a signature, assess your designs carefully before presenting, if you act like a pro, you will be treated like a pro, remember people and you will be remembered. Become organized get out and socialise and remember some clients are just plain bad.

During his career he has worked under Marksteen Adamson at ASHA, for clients such as JCB, Gadgetshop, Tearfund and The Duke of Edinburgh Award. Also for Jamaha and Digital Vision with Freeman Christie and The Royal Mint and London Olympics 2012 at Fixel.

He is now based in his studio in Clifton, Bristol, and works as a freelancer for clients such as The National Autistic Society, Stratford Armouries, Blue Mouse Disability, Research Media, M.U.S.E., Lumiere Kinesis Cinemas, Mentos Mints, TL&G and Made London.

After his marvellous lecture he came to our studio to speak to anyone who wanted. So in small groups he had a chat with us. He has given us basically gold dust to any student. He has produced a: proposal, cover letter, terms of business, fee proposal and invoice. These are invaluable pieces of paper work that we need when we leave and I had never even thought about it, because no one ever said anything about it. He talked us through the paperwork, what to do and not to do and things that should be written into your contracts.

He has reassured me as a designer and has helped me immensely with the paperwork that is essential, he was a brilliant speaker and was very approachable, I think I will keep in touch with him as he is just so straight forward and a brilliant designer.

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