Shillington teacher Johnny Boardman recently recruited former Frost*collective co-worker Andy Lawrence for a guest industry lecture at our Sydney campus. Our students loved it! Now working at FutureBrand, Andy walked our students through the role motion plays in branding, case studies behind a few major projects and a discussion on job-hunting and studio culture.
Tell us a bit about your creative journey! What have been the major milestones, and where are you working now?
I started off my career as an intern at Interbrand London after winning a creative brief competition run for my university. During my time at Interbrand, I learned a lot about the branding process and learned a lot from the designers there, especially one who continues to be my mentor to this day.
I loved branding but felt the need to learn more motion in order to help bring visual identities alive right from the start of a project instead of being an afterthought.
I feel the way a visual identity moves is just as important as any other part of a brand’s visual toolkit and really allows you to push the identity to more exciting levels of creativity and emotion.
I then spent a couple of years working in the television industry to get my motion skills up to scratch—always with the aim to use these skills back in the branding world. I worked at places like Sky and Red Bee Creative, working for clients including the BBC.
I then decided it was time to go back into the branding world and worked for a few brand agencies, including Bisqit and Thinkfarm. I then moved to Sydney in May 2017 where I got a job at Frost*collective working on various branding projects such as rebranding SBS’s The World Game. At Frost* I learned the value of craft, detail and pushing creativity to the max.
I then moved to FutureBrand in August 2018 where I still currently am, working with clients in healthcare, sport, travel and tourism and other exciting industries. I’m loving the challenging and varied briefs and working closely with the strategy team here. Our aim is to create future proof brands in the growing times of change.
What’s the best thing about working at FutureBrand?
The best thing about working at FutureBrand is being part of a truly global network, working with colleagues in London, China and all across the world. We work on varied clients and industries which is really exciting as a designer!
How does the creative scene differ between London and Sydney?
The creative scene in Sydney is smaller than London, but I love the fact everyone knows everyone, which makes it friendlier. I think we’re very lucky in Sydney to have talented creatives and agencies, as well as great design events all the time with AGDA, Semi-Permanent, Creative Mornings, The Design Kids and Never Not Creative.
You’ve won a fair few awards like the Transform Awards, AGDA Awards and Creativepool Annual. What does that mean to you?
It’s always nice to see your work valued in the industry, but it’s not what drives me. My main drive is making working that has impact on the client’s needs and make a real tangible change to their business or organisation.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process?
At FutureBrand, strategy and design work together collaboratively to understand the client from three different perspectives. Their history and where they’ve come from, the true needs of their customer and then the future they want to create for their organisation and the people they serve—whether that’s technology, design or culture.
We loved when you said, “brands don’t actually exist outside how people perceive it to exist.” Could you elaborate on that?
Brands are intangible things. It’s all about your emotional response to a brand and how you react.
In your guest lecture you really honed on the importance “thinking in motion”, especially in branding. Why is that so important?
Thinking in motion is especially important in a digital age where everything needs to move, live and breathe.
Motion is a vital part of the identity toolkit as it expresses so much more meaning and emotion than just something that sits still on a page.
If a design student is looking to experiment with motion, where should they start?
First of all, I’d recommend immersing yourself into great motion inspiration to get an idea of what works well and what doesn’t. A couple of examples of studios to be inspired by are Never Sit Still and Buck (both Sydney based) but there’s so many out there!
I’d then use YouTube tutorials to help learn the basics of using After Effects. I’d then set yourself a brief which will give you a focus and a goal. I recommend learning by playing and experimenting and by making mistakes along the way.
Any tips for fresh graduates on the job hunt?
I’d research all the agencies that are doing the type of work you want to be doing. I’d then find a contact, asking to meet up for a coffee and to go through your portfolio.
I think designers, design directors and creative directors are genuinely happy to help mentor new graduates and are more likely to reply to these types of emails, instead of emails asking for a job.
If they like your work, who knows they may offer an internship or a job out of it.
During the student Q&A, we love how you differentiated between studio culture and work culture. Why is that important for designers to consider when carving out their careers?
I think it’s important to consider both the studio and the work culture. Studio culture is important as you spend the majority of your day at work, so it’s important to enjoy the people and environment you’re working with. Work culture is important too as you want to feel like you are doing the type of work you want to do in a culture that values creativity.
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