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Shocker-Logo-Designer-didn't-got-to-College

That logo designer referenced in the post title is me. Yup. I didn't go to any art or design based further education, and I get royally narked off when I hear creative toff's toot their own ivory horn about how, "one can't be a successful (define successful for a start) designer if one didn't get the appropriate qualifications to show how awesomely creative one is."

Update: Minutes after posting, a few people were exhibiting signs of emotional distress over my apparent blanket dissing of everyone who did experience further creative education. I've not edited the post in guilty response, just appending this little update. I think it's clear that yes, I have a personal problem with only those creatives that say, "if you didn't do further education, you can't make it in the big world.", and this post gives me a personal outlet to address that, for which I am quite entitled.

However, my main motive for the post is to simply explain, by example, that one can forge a creative career without the benefits of further creative education. I see and hear too many tales of talented individuals believing their route to a creative career is all but impossible, because of their lack of further education. My personal anger is directed towards, and at, only those that openly say one can't achieve a creative career, it's not a blanket dismissal of every creative who did achieve academic qualifications. Just wanted to be crystal clear on that…

It's almost like suggesting that mine/our ('our' is in anyone else who is working in design, earning a living and didn't pursue further academic creative education) collective contribution to the graphic design industry is one massive negative waste of time, and is actually harmful to the precious design industry, and makes one feel uneasy in some head-up-your-own ass kind of way.

However, whilst I didn't do creative cool school, I did do a 1 year apprenticeship at Guildford (that only lasted 4 months until the course was abandoned due to the other apprentices dropping out until it was just me) whilst working full-time, since the age of 17, at a commercial printers down here on the South Coast.

All my experience was hands-on, taught and handed-down by the most talented photo typesetters, typographers, paste-up artists, film-planners (those doing 4 colour film planning were beyond revered), platemakers, and all with not one toffing certificate to show for it.

Each one of my full-time jobs within the print and reprographics, design, advertising agencies, from the age of 17-35, was a small, and painfully, slow step-up the career ladder.

I was privileged, and at the same time, ungracefully burdened, with being in the print and designer industry during the 'age and rapid transition of the photo typesetting, producing bromides to be glued on card grids', as the relentless pace of technology such as DTP and the Apple Macintosh LE's and Classic's etc, forced many a craftsmen to lose their jobs, or face a hard road of re-education. I was made redundant at the age of 21, 3 or so years into my 'apprenticeship', because the company was slow to adopt the DTP side of commercial print. That in itself was one of my most significant life lessons…

Natural Creative Talent

I see, on a daily basis, such amazing creative talent coming from teenagers still kicking out their final High School years. What they lack in, oftentimes in technical ability and other useful skills that only come from living life for a few more years, is often gracefully glided over in preference of such amazing natural creativeness.

School wasn't good for me really, not an academic, and only got a GCSE Grade 'C'  in Art, for the shame of it. But that's sort of my point, in that natural talent, when forced down a restrictive pipe that aggressively narrows down to such a stressful situation as taking exams, is oftentimes not so beneficial for many types of personality. If you have natural creative talent, then the technical aspects can be self-taught over time, by various methods and not without the personal desire and ambition to do so.

I seriously feel like laughing, or being sick, when I see some supposed creative academic with all the arty diplomas one can receive, dishing out such shoddy logo and brand identity work, both aesthetically, and also technically. I have seen better creative and typographic talent on Dribbble, Behance, Flickr, Pinterest, (from creatives that I know are young—trying hard not to sound patronising—relatively speaking) than on many logo and brand identity city agency portfolios.

I'm SO not saying, or implying, or stating, that further creative education is a waste of time, not at all. However, it certainly isn't the only road that can be taken to pursue a career in graphic design, and lets remember please: many families simply cannot afford to send their 'naturally creative kid' to pursue further creative education!

For those arty know-it-all's that preach this poppycock, you are basically saying that those on low incomes, or those that have other family challenges, that makes it practically impossible to extend a kid's education, you are needlessly, and selfishly crushing desires, dreams and ambition. Or are you too torn up over spending so many years drinking and getting in debt? (classic student cliché and stereotype I know, sorry.)

The Moral of this Fluff?

If you didn't get to extend your education past High School, or even A-levels, it's not a foregone conclusion that you'll never make it as a creative of some kind, be it as an employee, or working for yourself.

Please please, just don't listen to those idiots who preach that you can't be a commercial designer UNLESS you did the arty student boot-camp thing.

All my experience was gained on-the-job, and at home doing freelance design work on the side. Don't be fooled: my apprenticeship was basically non-existent, it only existed in the form of such awfully low wages, BUT, the experience was completely invaluable. I took on a number of full-time jobs in my 20's with such appalling salaries, that one can't help but feel so bloody disheartened, but one also has to see that life often works in logical, detailed and seemingly painfully slow ways.

If you have natural creative talent, or have even yet to fully tap into it, or hell, even realise it yet, go with it if you possibly can. For damn sure, don't be put-off by certain individuals, web-o-zine posts, magazine articles, who say you might as well not bother if you did't get past A-levels.

It really is such degrading poppy-cock.

The one thing I know I can say, hand-on-sincere-heart, is that my technical skills were taught, and handed down, by such master craftsman, that I actually feel so very privileged, and that I'm, and with hindsight, not in any way regretful that I didn't extend my creative academic education.

If you want a career in design, no matter the particular niche/specialist area, it can be done off your own back, if you have the heart, passion and commitment.







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Affiliate Links: Links to Iconify in this post are of the affiliate variety. This means that if you sign-up to the paid plan I get a nice little financial kick-back. I don't usually do affiliate stuff, but I'm making an exception in this case

iconify.co: a clean, fast, responsive and minimal logo portfolio

I did an ever so tiny write-up on iconify.co a while back: Iconify—An Online, Responsive, Minimal & Downloadable Portfolio App before I had chance to use it myself. Now I have used it, uploaded all of my logo and icon designs, just wanted to do a quick follow up on this rather nice online portfolio.

I like it because it's so damn quick and easy to set-up and upload your work. No faffing around, no extraneous fancy extras to get in your way and slow you down from publishing a straightforward really accesible gallery of your work.

Don't think I have used, and continue to use, something as user friendly, both user and client end, as Iconify. You can view my Iconify portfolio here: https://iconify.co/imjustcreative

I have tried them all over the years, they come and go, with the more established ones like: Behance, Cargo Collective, Flickr etc staying the distance, but if you really want a super quick, mobile friendly platform to cleanly display your work then I can't recommend Iconify highly enough.

For me it has become the first 3rd party web based portfolio that I update, usually even before my own hosted portfolio here on imjustcreative, simply because it's just so quick and easy to update. After I have updated Iconify then I usually update the imjustcreative portfolio, then Behance and possibly Flickr if I can be arsed. I used to like CargoCollective, but just having all the customisation options there sort of makes me shudder.

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Because you can set up folders on the left side navigation you can basically create self contained projects, or smaller sub portfolios.

I have created a master logo portfolio, a portfolio for my monomarks, and a folder for the few icons I have designed. There are no text entry options, not even captions which I actually love because it forces you to just focus on the imagery and let it speak for it self, which obviously also makes uploading and updating the portfolio so blindingly fast and painless.

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There is a simple analytics page, as well as just two clean themes to choose from, and again: less choice means less time with draining choices to make, and I just love this about iconify.

One of the smartest features is it's mobile friendly nature, from being fully responsive on all devices right down to being able to download, from a mobile device, the portfolio as a mobile app.

If you're stressing because you don't have any kind of portfolio at this moment, then Iconify will enable you to get up and running in no time. If like me you maintain several portfolios then I think Iconify will also provide you with a version of your portfolio that is always ready and waiting to be updated in super quick time. I sometimes use my Iconify URL as I actually prefer the way it looks and works over my own portfolio on imjustcreative!

Sign-up

Got nothing much to lose by signing up for the free plan, then you might come to the same conclusion I have come to.

 

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Nice little video from the folks at Iconify:


Designer Expenses: What Do You Claim For?

Been very busy with client work of late, and so I decided to cut back on elements of blogging and twitteresque activities in order to better focus on the job at hand.

With that has come a nice sense of freedom and clarity, as well as leaving more time to deal with the annual accounts of a self-employed logo designer. I have nearly managed to get my accounts done in time for Christmas, which compared to last year is a massive improvement. Last year my poor accountant got my accounts around the 27th January!

This time round I have focused a lot more on 'expenses' and being quite rigorous with what I can claim as an 'expense'.

So, I'm somewhat curious, as a self-employed/freelance designer: what sort of things do YOU claim legitimate expenses for? Feel free to leave comments below as a helpful list for others.

Some things I have added to my 'expenses':
• Paypal Fee's
• International SWIFT/CHAP's process fee's
• Portion of household and premise utility bills (work from home)
• Studio refurbishment (3rd bedroom): decorating materials etc.
• Certain car expenses: mileage, parking, partial cost of buying car etc.
• Client work and consultation.
• Accountancy book keeping fee's. NOT preparation of tax returns!
• Advertising & Marketing: imjustcreative branded printing and stationery costs etc.
• Books & research: Self tuition/learning/training costs
• Computer Equipment & accessories
• Mobile phone bills
• BT Broadband bills
• Stationery & Postage
• Occasional client related expenses: meals, travel etc.
• Directory submission costs: logo galleries etc.
• Hosting & domains: 123-Reg, York Networks
• Web app subscriptions: Freshbooks, Vaultpress, Cage, Flickr, Evernote etc
• Application, software & typeface purchases for: Macintosh, iPhone and Android