Elbow Grease Magazine: Afterlife


Elbow Grease is made up of a team of 3 and they are Tom the art director, Josh the editor and John the business man these three combine to design, create and publish their magazine. Tom is the main guy who basically came up with the idea of creating the magazine, he decides how the magazine looks and flows, he is inspired by great content and hates minimalist magazines he wants people to get the more for the money they pay, his idea of a great magazine is something fun interesting full of ideas and something that can be put in your back pocket, it can be ripped apart and used for ideas. 
During their talk they gave advice how to start up a business by using their journey as a example and in fact they are still currently on their journey to really push this magazine further, but during their talk I managed to take notes and take away some key advice in starting my own business, I was bit disappointed that he didn’t really come forth with the actual design of the magazine talking about their spreads and so on but I did take away other lessons. 
First lesson is to know what I want to do and then know how to hit my target audience, once I know I need to consider what I can bring that is different to that audience, something for them to keep coming back to, something they cant get somewhere else, something that separates me from others. 
Now I have realised what my brand or product is, what it does and stands for I need to produce an example. its has to be on point, it has to sell, it is the first impression for that person or client so it needs to be perfect. 
Now I have an example of my product and it has been produced, I now need to consider how I can sustain my product and analyse how I can get a income to start creating more to fit demand. Then comes the important part where it will be placed how will it look in that certain environment does it fit and can it be apart of the environment as well standing out from the rest. These are all important thoughts to have, because if I just chuck my product out there its more likely to fail. A great piece of advice from Tom is that individuals that are involved with the product, as with his magazine they should give you important feedback, Tom would ask the shop owners advice as they need to make profit so they will tell the truth. 
The best thing to do when you start growing is to make sure you have the right people around that you all have the same direction and know where you want to take this product make sure that the people around you want to succeed and are not just in it for the ride. 
Now that my product is selling and its evolving, it’s important to analyse how much income I am gaining and how I can use that money to gain more resources and grow over the country, but I always have to be ready for failure most businesses, do but it shouldn’t ever end there, I just need to get back on the horse and come back stronger. 
My opinion
The look of the magazine is really professional and is great but the price is £10 its way to high for a student and so which falls against ripping it up and being a thing that isn’t so important I know for a fact if I spent £10 on a magazine I would highly value that magazine I wouldn’t want to rip that up at although fold it to put in my back pocket so in this I say the value needs to drop. Tom also said he hates minimalist design but that features in the magazine, I understand his view on the pace of the magazine so some times it does need to be slow downed, my feedback is that to lower the price try find ways to cut cost even more because for what the magazine stands for doesn’t really express in the design and most importantly the price, Tom said himself that magazines are going back to the old ways where they are printed on cheap paper and binned together by string why not research that and find away to get ahead of the game find something different in that.  
Todays afterlife was very interesting and was very helpful, if I considered a future in creating my own creative brand, its given me a more insight to the the main pillars I need to have in place before even considering creating my product and so on, but I also learnt that its important to know how to collaborate and how great it is to consider the peoples practices can help better my own Tom, John and Josh seem to have a great working environment and its always important to have that, the magazine looks great but I did notice some faults to their pitch and actual product.    

Neal Hubbard – Hearthwick Studios: Afterlife

Neal Hubbard is a designer who works at the very well established Herthwick Studios which have created some phenomenal work over the years, Neal started as an intern but became part of a team of 15 then seeing the company grow to over 200 in the last couple of years which is truly remarkable, while at Hearthwich Studios Neal has worked on some amazing projects form the London olympics fire bowl to the new London Buses that took two years to complete, as well as this he shown some truly inspirational work from Hearthwick Studio and how he worked through these projects, then the lessons he learnt going through them.   
Neal would number the essential lesson and then give some solutions and mini lessons he learnt during the time on the project so I attended to present them in the same way. 
  1. Read the brief
       Read the brief make sure you do it over and over again, make sure you got the brief and what it needs. What it needs to do and how you can achieve that and more for that brief. This can be achieved by first plaining, planing where you value is, bring in your money in a place where you can using it effectively. You can always find great new things from the old, always look back it allows you to build on something and let it become greater than first planned recycle when you can it can save some money. 
2. The brief is all the inspiration you need
     But finding and sharing your inspiration with others can be hard, but I have to work with these people, finding out how they rather work, use what they know to better the project, don’t get caught in the old ways and more importantly, the life of designer is to question, expand and together create, find new ways to produce beautiful design. 
3.Know your content 
    Knowing your environment and what can be recycled, revalue as much as you can, that in its self can lead to beautiful things, as within that environment. 
4.Create theatre 
   Creating that feel, that movement, making it work and give the impression that, you want them to have, making them come back for more. 
5.Zoom in and out 
   I always have to pay attention to the detail finding the smallest perfections in my work, look at every piece and make sure it fits the experience and the brief and it will in its self become a great design, when it hits all these requirements. 
6.Avoid Cliche
   Create something new, keep testing it every day, challenge more from yourself and the brief. 
7.Not just an idea . ‘The idea’! 
   The most difficult thing is to convince the client, I need to present ‘the idea’ the best way I can to to turn the client from saying no to them saying yes! that they want it or need it to be built or produce it needs to be in their life and its going to work. 
8.Making it real 
   Once thought of, its got to then be produced or brought to life, but this is where experimentation comes in, I need to understand and work out how it’s going to work, how it can be achieved, how this thing on paper can be replicated in to real life, but design can funny in it’s ways of working,  you truly got to look at every part, never mind how weird or unnecessary it may seem, its all a process to finding the solution. 
9.The importance of making
   How to find your idea? create and make keep going it doesn’t matter how far long into your career you go, you got to still produce and create to refine then that process will come to an idea its all about putting in the time and effort to get the best possible outcome or idea. 


Neal Hubbard, was truly inspirational  and the talk was amazing seeing the future project and theories behind that, how they challenge themselves and the world around to produce some of the most fascinating projects I see in a while in architecture, my favourite project that Neal shown was the bridge that folds it self up and the new way they are taking that theory and applying that to a new prototype bridge they plan to produce in another year or so but its some truly modern design which is a joy to learn and hear about, but my real lessons was how to approach a brief and get the most out of the brief for the client as well me and also hope it challenges the world.  

Lee Fairbrother: Afterlife 

“Good is the enemy of Great” – Lee Fairbrother  
Lee Fairbrother is a creative thinker who is an art director/ designer who is based in London, he is a very keen entrepreneur and has founded several digital businesses and is currently working at a digital company as an art director this company is called ‘Accelerate’. 
Lee’s talk was very specific and formal on what he expects as a art director from a designer and how he believes a great designer should work and needs to do to be a great success in this industry, so these are the notes of his advice and learnings I taken away which I thought was most helpful. 
  1. First is my portfolio that its essential part of the process in getting a job in the design industry, my portfolio must show my skills and potential, its got to show that I can bring something different and then its got to portray my personality through out the portfolio in my work and my presentation. 
  2. I then need to research what job I want, I need to know whats out there and consider where I want to go, what working space I need how will it challenge me, how they can improve me as a designer and can I produce award winning work at this agency, studio or company. 
  3. On top of this as a designer, I always need to keep learning its important to keep up to date with all the new trends and technology I need to be an expert in all aspects of design to have that awareness whats happening in the world around me and else where. 
  4. I need to learn a process that works for me to produce work efficiently and at good pace, its always best to learn a process that works for me sooner rather than later as it will help me in future projects to always  achieve great outcomes and keep on top of all my projects. 
  5. Always consider the process between the idea to the execution it will always look great on paper but I always got to consider how it will work in real life, can it exists in the real world, your idea is always going to change as you go through your project but its important that you are ready to adapt and to carry on find a alternative outcome that works for you and still keeps within the brief. 
  6. Its a great to try to keep you design simple and easy to grasp and read in turn the design will communicate more if its done right and it always looks nice, simple and modern.
  7. Its a must that you scamper and sketch get all of my ideas down and that I don’t forget because one of them could be a award wining idea its more likely to will be if you keep producing the ideas.
  8. I now need to get into the habit of understanding the process of feedback I need to know its not personal that its for the good of the brief that if something isn’t working that your team has your back to make sure your hitting the requirements of the brief and when you give out feedback make sure its always constructive, don’t just tear someones work apart for the fun of it. 
  9. Its a great idea to start my own brand it allows me to produce my own work then style and it allows me to claim it and stamp it out there for all to see. 
  10. Its important to find a creative environment where your comfortable, ideas flow easier and then you can produce work effortlessly,  a great creative environment it can be any where. 
  11. Its a big must to take every opportunity that comes your always should get paid don’t work for free because at the end of the day your there because they want to use your skills and you should be getting paid for your time and effort don’t sell your self short.   


Todays talk was very simplistic and straight to the point, there was some great advice and ideas to consider taking forward in my quest to create my career in graphic design, but most importantly it was great to get a view from a art director finding out what he looks for in a designer and how he consider them to progress and expect off his employed designer. 

Gareth Strange

Gareth is a graphic designer with a passion for illustration, photography and experimentation, his career has taken him between two companies one being ‘ Brand Sixty Eight’, these companies has lead him to some great projects, such as working with UFEA Champions league to brand Cardiff to then rebranding Cardiff City FC with his warm expressive typeface, he now has his own brand called ‘ Strange Love’ and has recently started a business with his fiancé ‘John & Jane’.

His talk was very passionate, his  views on graphic design and shed light on things he wish he done when he was in uni and what advice he would give himself leaving uni as a student.

He begin by saying that its always best to know how to sell your work and gave a example of how bad selling will result in and his version resulted in his client saying “you look like a designer but you cant walk the walk” this has shown me that things cant always go your own way and always just take the experience as it is and then learn from it.

He moved on to say that great design is what you do with the tools you are given, you have to adapt if you can adapt you can near enough work anywhere, a great point he said was find you passion and what you good at because that can separate you from the rest and could give you something different to offer clients and companies and then you can turn your passion into money.

He taught me the difference between subjective and objective and that both should always be considered at the start of the project what you want from the brief and how you can achieve that within your view and pleases the client, he then went into how as a designer you should be always evaluating your work and to stop think and see how much you improved because design agencies wont tell you what level you at sometimes it takes confidence to say to your self you should be earning more, on top of that he also said its important to keep experimenting and taking up your own projects because it allows you to explore thing sin your own way and allows you to take your work to another place then not allowing a brief to restrict you everything can be a opportunity to make money should never work for free, have confidence in your self.

There is no such thing as a shit project he suggested which I didn’t agree with but I did agree that you have to make the best out of it and you could also try change it if not just have to bite the bullet and try find something within it that you can relate to then adding that no matter what we create that we should love and share are work because that allows people to see it and it could again lead to an opportunity that then lead to him explaining the importance of social presence that it can be achieved by just getting out there and talking to other designers or creating an Instergram account and sharing your work on that.

Gareth gave some personal views on great books to consider to read and considers reading a great way to learn new methods and inspire you to become better and direct me to these two books ‘Design is a job’ and ‘the elements of typographic’ he then finished on the best way try get work which his advice was be a bit cheeky doesn’t always hurt to ask as you might not see them again, if you have a chance at a placement do it don’t be afraid they actually are really helpful, always get involved in controversial conversations on design you can end up talking to one of the greats and they might remember your name and it be a great icebreaker in the future if you do see them and finally never take criticism personal its for the good of the brief always move forward with reason.


Gareth’s talk was more a personal side of the industry and was very interesting to listen to it allowed room for trial and error for him and to think that it taken him 8 years to get his creative process shows its more than just a job hearing that made me want to get my creative process down by the time I finish university that is one of my aims, I also felt it was great to hear that everything always doesn’t go perfect when you do get the job and theres always more to achieve in the industry, I must admit Gareth’s journey is something to remember and to always consider to reflect on in future times to make sure I am getting paid enough because at the end of the day that keeps us progressing in the world but I enjoyed todays afterlife and I felt I came out with more to ask about my self which is great in my eyes.

Afterlife: Matt Bonccorsi 


Matt has worked for a coin making company called the Royal Mint for many years it has taking him on some amazing projects and journeys from making the rarest £2 pound coin in the UK to working on a project on creating African currency images, but his proudest moment was when he worked on the 2012 London Olympics medals which was a fascinating to hear about, the real lean over chair moment for me was when he went into to talk about his free lance career, it was interesting to see the process he went through to start out to then creating his own business and to think it all started by creating a coin for a client who wanted a portrait of the new Pope on a coin. The other inspiring thing that he introduce was he runs and creates his business in an office that is only 9ft by 10ft and is literally only made up with his home built computer and some other devices, its insane to think someone working in a professional manner is working in an office that is small, but it has shown me that it’s not all about the look and being flashy, all what matters is the finished product.


Matts reflection on his career

upon reflection, Matt went into some details on how learning these lessons really could help you in future and to really inspire you now, he moved on by saying at first you just got to be driven that is for every thing, if you’re not driven no matter how good you are it wont take you anywhere, he also added it helps to find something you enjoy and are good at, the other lesson he gave was in your career you always got to be ready for when your career hits a low point most of the times it happens you just got to fight through it, but he did inspire me by saying “Theres always events that are going to bounce you around always put you in a place you never thought you be, but you always need to keep an open mind and work hard but the exciting thing is your never know where you going to end up” this really was enticing, was a great obviation from Matt and really hit home to the reasons why I wanted to go down this career because the design world is so loose and exciting, the last lesson Matt said is ‘never work for nothing” because its nice to produce work but at the end of the day it really doesn’t help you, its better to gain something from it, bit more than experience but like he said these are his views.


Listening to Matt today allowed me to see how being resourceful can help you through most struggles, in this case it worked for Matt by helping him to create his business and that its always a bonus if you are already there, the journey from starting from nothing to gaining your own business was also very impacting in the fact he did it all using an office the size off 9ft by 10ft, it is very compelling as student, it shows it ways doesn’t have to be flashy and great to produce such professional standard work and designs, I did heed the advice Matt gave about trying to find the shortcuts because it will help you produce work faster and gain more from it. I need to develop them sooner rather than later and refine my techniques. Lastly it was a great insight talking about when do we draw the line when expecting projects, Matts reflection made sense because even though it might not be your thing it could lead into something that is and will never make you look back, I’m looking forward to learning from Matt for the year we have him and hope to gain more experience from him.