Top tips from a Graphic Design graduate
With a prior background in engineering and psychology before studying at Plymouth College of Art, and a motto of “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”, Rimma strives to ensure each piece of work she creates has meaning and purpose. While studying, she worked closely with The Agency, the college’s in-house design studio where external businesses and organisations pitch paid live projects and briefs for undergraduate students to work on.
Her work was recently exhibited in London for Secret 7", an annual charity design event seeing select artists from around the world designing record sleeves for well-known musicians, and sold to raise money for a great cause.
We caught up with Rimma to find out more about her time working with The Agency, and how she’s kickstarted her career as a designer...
You graduated last year with a degree in Graphic Design, what have you been up to since?
Since I graduated I started working at Brand Potential in Windsor, which has been an amazing experience, working with big clients and building confidence in the quality of my work and widening my skill set. I continue to work closely with The Agency at the college and also freelance when possible.
What projects are you currently working on?
Alongside my full-time job, I am working with The Agency on developing a website for the NHS pathology department in Plymouth and starting up my own unique clothing brand.
What would you say are the proudest achievements in your career so far?
I feel that the relationships I make with clients and people I work with are my best achievements because they last and become friends and create a reputation you can be proud of. Regarding projects, I am proud of everything I work on, some of my favourite clients I've worked with are Unilever, Twinings, Carr's, NHS, The Greedy Fox Company and Laila's Candy Cart.
What has been the hardest thing about starting your career?
I love freelancing and because of the amazing relationships I make with clients and employees I have been lucky with sourcing projects. The Agency helped me build and start my networking and with the guidance of Kamal from their team, I was able to learn how to build professional relationships, even while working at Brand Potential they would highlight the importance of always keeping in contact with clients and creating friendly professional relationships.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy the flexibility of my work, one day I can be working on websites and marketing, and the next print or packaging. I travel a lot and get inspired by different cultures and designers, so I don't box myself into any specific role, hence I have the freedom to take on different projects.
Can you take us through the design process for a typical job?
I start each project by taking some time to understand my client and what they want or need, once I have the basics I start to research, not just design research but also relevant consumer research. To design something that really works you need to understand the audience, once I have all my inspiration I can start designing and showing the client and working closely with them to create the perfect final outcome.
You’ve worked as a freelancer with The Agency as a student and now as a graduate. Can you tell us about this experience?
Working with the Agency has been one of the most enjoyable and beneficial experiences for my career, from building confidence meeting clients to learning how to deal with different situations.
Building confidence and experience are just two of the main things that really help a designer stand out from the rest, in the quality of work and how they present themselves which are both crucial in job interviews.
Working with The Agency as a student really helped me learn how to time manage and prioritise different tasks, you start to learn how long things will take you and your own limits and abilities.
Working as a student you can sometimes start to doubt your work, and that's why having Kamal's support is so important, as a graduate and having more work experience you learn to trust yourself and that in return allows you to become a more reliable designer. Working with The Agency both as a student and a graduate has taught me fundamental skills that help me form the designer I am, the work they have available to students can vary so much so you are always learning new skills and never outgrow the work.
Where do you hope to take your work over the next year?
I hope to focus on freelance work while launching my clothing brand. I will be traveling between Dubai, Canada, and the UK looking for inspiration and further building my network. Designing will always be part of who I am so if it’s this year or next I always want to push my skills and passion further, to grow as a designer and get my work seen and heard more.
Any advice you’ve been given as a graphic designer that might be helpful for others?
Always look and find inspiration. When I first started designing, I used to skip doing research and instead I just wanted to start my own ideas and run with it, but with experience, I've learned that research is truly the key to a good and strong idea, which can help develop initial concepts.
What are your top tips for your fellow recent graduates just starting out?
Always be open to learn and listen. Design is a subjective field and constantly developing and growing, and part of being a good designer is to learn and grow with it. You should always focus on how to be a better designer and open your eyes to new technology, while still holding on to the hands-on creative processes.