I have been thinking about how much I love being a graphic designer and how passionate I am about being creative in everything that I do. I couldn’t imagine going back to a life where I was restricted from being creative and not doing the things that I enjoy, like developing a new skill, coming up with solutions to a brief or finding inspiration and creating something new.
Some years ago after I had finished my degree in 2009 I was struggling to break into the creative industry. I was applying for jobs like crazy and wasn’t even getting an interview, this was frustrating to say the least. After receiving rejection letter after rejection letter I was feeling extremely low, I had even considered giving up on being in the creative industry altogether, this was really tough for me to even contemplate, as being creative is part of who I am. I then started to steer my sights to management roles within a well known retail store known for its moving Christmas adverts. This was not a wise move as this was not something I felt was in my blood and delayed me breaking into the design industry even further.
After having a terrible day serving the rudest of customers, I did the most typical British thing I could think of, to rant of course, via twitter. I ranted about how impossible and frustrating it is to get a break in the design industry and finishing it with ‘how does Kate Moross do it’. Kate Moross is a designer/illustrator who I had admired since hearing about her in my first year at university, she was only a single year above me and was already a well accomplished designer.
I was lucky to have witnessed her (during in my second year at university) working in the Top Shop window in Oxford street creating an amazing hand drawn window display, which made me think that’s what I want to do. It’s funny the pictures I took of Kate working on her window display were taken on my old Sony Ericson phone, that’s how long ago it was, strange to think that technology can now define a period of time. At the point of my rant I was at the end of my tether with applying for creative job roles, then something I totally wasn’t expecting happend, Kate Moross sent me a message on twitter, she had seen my tweet and responded. I must admit as a fellow creative I looked up to Kate as she had achieved so much in such a small space of time, so this was exciting for me to say the least. In her response she said ‘don’t give up, the hard work will pay off’, I was wowed with her response. Her words at this point in time meant so much to me, all that frustration I had with the industry suddenly left me. I felt these words physically gave me the strength I needed to pick myself up and get back on track to do what I love and what I trained to do, graphic design.
I then looked at getting some experience within the creative department at John Lewis, this then steered me into a visual merchandising role within Peter Jones (John Lewis in Chelsea) working on window displays and so forth. The visual merchandising position finally allowed me to gain enough experience to land a graphic design position else where, allowing me to develop my skills and to live and breath my passion for graphic design once again.
For Kate Moross to make that effort to respond to someone she had never met before was such an incredible thing to do! If I met Kate I would first of all thank her for her words as it was her words that inspired me to keep going, then I would tell her how much of a fan I am of her work, which is just incredible by the way! Thanks again.
The strength of our words are always underestimated, but they really can change someones life, that’s how I felt when I read Kate’s tweet. The power of speech is limitless, it can be used for good or evil and has the power to travel far and wide. As a designer I have always been told that it is our responsibility to use our skills to endorse a positive message and take up the social responsibility we all have. Our skills are often used for advertising and branding but if we think about that power of visual communication and use it in what we do, whether it’s in a piece of typography or poster design, or whether you make a comment on social media, this power can help influence and inspire others on another level.
So I say to all the graduates out there be patient, work hard and if you still have trouble, work even harder than you did before! There is always someone out there going for the same job that is working really hard to win that role. Work out what your weaknesses are and work on developing them into strengths, it’s a hard and competitive industry but hard work will always help you climb the creative ladder of success. Believe in yourself and believe in your abilities as a creative, most of all don’t be afraid to fail, it’s ok to fail, but the important thing is to learn from your failures.