Russell Hancock- Graphic Design and the dotted line...

Russell Hancock came to talk to us about his experiences of being a freelance graphic designer after he graduated in 2006. Leaving university, Russell set up 'SOUP' which was a collaborative group who registered as self-employed. Having very little money the group worked for free to try and get established, however as Russel put it, they got 'shafted' as their first illustration he created got totally manipulated by 'Swell Music.' There were no terms and conditions in place and as the work was done for free they just had to let this one go.

The main point of the lecture was for Russell to give us some pointers in what to do and look out for within the industry:

  • Get money and signatures upfront

  • Getting people to pay for design isn't always easy

  • Be sure but be aware of your opinions

  • Assess free work carefully

  • Act professional and be treated professional

  • Ask your mum, i.e think about your design audience

  • Remember people and be remembered

  • Sometimes clients are bad

  • You need good interwebz

  • Become organised

  • Get out and socialise
All of these points are such important things to consider and Russell gave us prime examples to back these up which made us completely more aware that it happens. We also learnt how to 'price' ourselves in terms if freelance rates, Russell very kindly provided us with a set of documents including terms and conditions, fee proposal's, invoices and a cover letter which we can utilise if the opportunity ever occurs.

As well as talking to us about the above, we learnt of Russell's development within the freelance world. Most interesting was the take over of the art noveau 'Regal' cinema in his home town of Evesham. We were told of the rundown cinema owned by someone who wanted to let it rot in order to build flats on the land, Russell created a series of images which were to be used as simple decoration on the outside of the building. The work was declined, and Russell took the campaign  further by creating a very unique petition. To cut a long story short, he managed to raise enough signatures, the cinema has now been taken over and Russell is being involved in the entire refurbishment and re-branding of the cinema. Such a brilliant opportunity has come of this initially small, low budget campaign and it just goes to show if you want something really badly you will achieve it with hard work and determination.

A really fantastic lecture- similar to the 12in12 talk given by Craig Oldham there were many useful points to consider when we finally graduate in July. I felt reassured to learn that everyone faces difficulties and feel it is important for us to be shown the 'harsh realities' of the design industry. I relish at the idea of having my own company, so I found it a very insightful lecture and one which I am keen to take inspiration from for setting up on my own, finger's crossed that one day I will be able to make a successful career like Russell has done.

Some images from is campaign:

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