When I comes down to jobs Sandy didn’t really go in depth about them however she has worked for the best of the best. After graduating from Central St Martins and going on to do her Masters at the Royal College of Art, she went on to work as a designer at Pentagram. She then went on to work as an Art Editor at Time Out, a Senior Art Director at Apple and then became the Creative Director at Wolff Ollins. This in itself was amazing and made me a little bit starstruck when we had our talk from her, however she didn’t really go into depth about her commercial work at all. You could see her true passion was in more of her personal work. This showed me that personal projects are so important to a designers life and that you must always continue to do them alongside any job you do (even if that job is working for Apple.)
When it comes down to her work I absolutely loved every bit of it. As someone who loves and studied photography anyway, to see a combination of Graphic Design, Art Direction and Photography all in one, i was completely in love. My favourite project of hers was her Things and People series. This stemmed from her sisters independent shop having a book made with actual customers from the shop pictured next to items they bought. Sandy fell in love with this project and stated that at one point she was taking new images for it every week. I also adored this project. It’s very similar to work that I did in my A Level photography studies and I was fascinated by every story she told. This project showed me that commercial work can easily turn into an amazing personal project and that I shouldn’t be afraid of doing something just because it’s not ‘designy’ as such and that I should do it just because I love it.
She also showed a lot of work that was photography that she didn’t actually take the photographs and to me this seemed alien. She was showing work as her own yet she didn’t technically do it and this opened up my eyes to Art Direction at it’s simplest form as I thought it was only something that was done in large companies on big productions. I think this is something I would be really good at as I am much more of an ideas person than an amazing artist/designer.
Sandy did mention a few tips throughout her talk and straight away she mentioned about the importance of listening. This seems really obvious but she then went on to say don’t just listen because you have to and this really stuck a chord with me. So many times we just listen to clients because we have to see what they want but we really should be devoting ourselves to them in that moment. She also said about how she was a shopkeepers daughter and this opened her eyes to customer relationships. As their shop was an independent shop a lot of the same people always came in and everyone knew everyone. This was carried through to when her sister owned a shop and when creating the book that would become the ‘Things and People’ project, her sister named all her customers, where they lived, what they bought and when they bought it without having to look up anything and she said this just showed how customer engagement and the relationship made is absolutely everything.
When it comes to her work she said she buys a lot of things on eBay and in charity shops because personal projects have to be cheap however she did like how this effected her work and I did too. Quite a lot of her personal work has then gained her commission work and this all stemmed from really cheap projects and it goes to show that not everything needs money so it should never be an excuse.
She did also mention that if you love someones work you have to try and meet them. She did this with a fellow designer and then ended up going for coffee, showing each other their work and then working together. Obviously this is something that may be quite hard at the student stage however it is something I am definitely going to aspire to do. You could also tell that Sandy had so many friends in and out of the field that would always help her and would work with her. This leads on to another ‘tip’ she gave of which was the power of favours. In one of her projects she used a model and the way the girl was paid for modelling was by getting headshots from the photographer.
The lasting thought from Sandy’s talk was that she was constantly inspired and loved what she did, every project was beautifully executed and some came from the smallest idea.