INFOGRAPHICS: HOW I GOT STARTED
HOW/WHY YOU GOT INTO YOUR PARTICULAR LINE OF WORK
After doing a few general art and design courses from leaving school I was never one hundred percent sure where I wanted to end up. Being an architect or technical illustrator were on the cards but when I was studying at Newcastle College of Art Design a new course started up in â€œNewspaper Design & Information Graphicsâ€. The course was set-up to bring more creative flair into the UK Newspapers. I was sold and worked hard to get onto this course. Information Graphics seemed right up my street being quite technical and working in a newsroom was very appealing.
After finishing the â€œNewspaper Design & Information Graphicsâ€ course I was lucky enough to get a part-time position at the â€œThe Independentâ€newspaper graphics department. I only spent four months there and quickly moved to a full-time position at the â€œThe Observerâ€. From there I moved to â€œBBC Sport Onlineâ€ as I was keen to get into working on interactive graphics online.Â Eventually ending up at â€œReuters News Graphics Serviceâ€. I worked on many large interactive flash projects on major sporting events (The Olympics and The World Cup) and produced daily news graphics for over 500+ media clients worldwide.Â I worked over eight years in London and learnt a lot from experienced artists. But after Reuters moved their graphics department to Singapore, it was an opportunity to go it alone and I set my business up under the the name â€œAcute Graphicsâ€ and moved to Cornwall.
Working solo has itâ€™s ups and downs. I work in a studio just off the house (A converted garage). The major benefit to this is the time I get to see my family. I have two young children. If I worked the hours I did when I was in London I would only get to see them at weekends.Â Being in Cornwall is great as regularly in the summer I get the opportunity to hit the beach. I never dread Mondays getting back to work, I still enjoying doing infographics/illustrations thirteen years on.
The downs are I work on my own most of the time. This took a while to get used to after working in a bustling newsroom. It means that I struggle to get any proper holidays for a solid week or two, and if I do get any time off I find it hard not to think about work.Â Having the experience of working in a newsroom where there were tight time constraints has stood me in good stead as organising my work and working to deadlines are some of my strong points.
â€“ A â€œBIG BREAKâ€ THAT MADE YOU FEEL IT WAS WORKING OUT
It took me around two years before I built up enough clients to say I was working full time. What really got me going was getting regular monthly work for Menâ€™s Health Magazine. They were giving me three to five commissions each month and having my credit â€œAcuteGraphics.co.ukâ€ in such a popular magazine also acted as advertising with me picking up quite a few jobs from other magazines. But after losing Menâ€™s Health it was lesson to never get too reliant on a client as Art Directors and Editors move on. When new people come in, they want to implement their own style which could mean no more work for you.
â€“ YOUR ADVICE TO OTHERS ENTERING YOUR FIELD (PERHAPS ON HOW TO GET WORK OR GET NOTICED)
Marketing myself was something I have never had to do before. I always felt there was some magic way to get myself out there and get noticed but there isnâ€™t. It takes time and costs money to advertise. I create printed flyers/brochures and send them direct to art directors and editors. I feel this is better than email advertising as when they open an envelope I can put quite a bit of my work right in their hand. It is very easy to click delete on an email promo. I also have my artwork on portfolio sites like â€œContactâ€. There is plenty of them out there. I think itâ€™s important to have a good professional website that showcases the type of work you do. I think potential clients are always going to click through from portfolio sites and want to see more about you
â€“ THE TOOLS DO YOU USE â€“ ESPECIALLY YOUR MAC(S) AND APPS
I currently work on a iMac 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and have it linked up to another monitor to give me a good sized work space. Iâ€™ve had this around seven years and itâ€™s never let me down. I use Adobe Illustrator most of the time, but alsoÂ Photoshop and Flash.
â€“ WHAT INSPIRES YOU
Ever since college I was a big fan of John Grimwade, the graphics he produced for CondÃ© Nast Traveler are a big inspirationÂ â€“ www.johngrimwade.com
Also really like these guys:
Vault49 â€“ www.vault49.com