"I wouldn’t be where I am today without that knowledge and support"
The degree in Design and Art Direction was a well-rounded course and the Programme Leader, Lenore Gristwood, really helped me believe in myself as a designer and encouraged me to explore photography as part of it.
My first role after graduating was as a Junior Designer at Conibear Design Associates, in Didsbury. I designed and printed my CV, which featured my own photography, and targeted businesses I wanted to work for and Conibear offered me a position.
I moved about a lot at first, 6 months at Conifer, 9 months an Icon Communications, the settling at Walsh Simmons for 5 years. It was important to be exposed to different levels of work, and types of work. Plus the knowledge and experience of so many different people. I worked hard. I worked LONG hours but it paid off. I spent 10 years working for a small design agency in Ancoats, on accounts such as BAE Systems and Balfour Beatty amongst others… but finally opened my own design agency to run alongside my photography business, Paul Grogan Photography, a year ago.
I love form, in both photography and typographic design, and find I still use these skills every day. Ideas are important in design and photography, but being able to execute them is equally as important. A good work ethic is vital in this industry – continual learning is important to make sure you stay ahead of your competitors!
Make yourself stand out from the crowd. Use your skills to create something that is different. Plus, contact as many people as possible and never give up. But the main thing is to remember you know nothing compared to the experience that surrounds you. Embrace this, learn from this and use this to become better! Education is fantastic, but you learn more from experiences and mistakes that you will make. Oh and always own up to a mistake! People respect this...
A number of people through my life… First up my course leader - Lenore Gristwood. She identified what I was good at and helped me mould my skills into a more commercially viable proposition.
Dave Kirkwood. My Creative Director at Walsh Simmons + Partners for 5 years. I learned more than you could imagine.
Jim Williams. Author of Type Matters, I worked alongside Jim for only 9 months. What a designer!
Mike Black, a good friend and UK wide renowned photographer.
It’s changed beyond belief over the years since I graduated, but it still nurtures talent and feeds our great city with the creative talent it needs! I wouldn’t be where I am today without that knowledge and support.