After graduating from #shillolon Guy Pittard jumped straight into the design industry securing regular freelance work for Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and an extremely successful list of music clients including Annie Mac, Coachella and This is.
We spoke with Guy about how he found work as a freelancer, his approach to design and what he’s working on next. Read on to find out more.
What made you decide to enrol at Shillington? What made our course stand out from the rest?
Graphic design has always been my passion, I knew that was the career path that I’d like to take. Having decided University wasn’t for me I needed to find a viable alternative, Shillington turned out to be a great choice. You are taught complete design theory and detailed design program usage in a great workspace. Passionate teachers and inspirational guest lecturers are an added bonus.
I left Shillington with a bank of design knowledge and a presentable portfolio which ultimately landed me my first design job.
In my experience employers are more interested in your portfolio than your CV, so having presentable work was invaluable. The course cost about the same as a year at University—I would love to retake the course again!
You work as a freelance designer, do you have any tips for our graduates who want to follow a similar path?
If you work hard, show passion and persistence, you will eventually be rewarded. It took me 9 months of countless job applications before I landed a junior role at a print company.
Once your foot is in the door, everything falls into place.
Also, don’t lose heart if you’re unsuccessful in a design pitch. It can be really hard if you pour your heart and soul into a project just for the client to reject it. I still lose out on way more jobs than I win, the key to success is remaining positive and learning from each job. I still show ‘unsuccessful’ pitches on my website, regardless of wether the client proceeded with them. Oh, and get a website!
How did you end up landing Annie Mac as a client, and how did it feel seeing your design work associated with one of Europe’s most known DJ’s?
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a fascination with design in music. As a child, album artwork and branding really stuck with me and was probably the catalyst for my music design interest (The Prodigy branding was amazing!). Music is a great way to channel creative energy as the music itself acts as inspiration.
Landing Annie Mac as a client was the result of persistence, desire and a slice of luck!
My sister was working as part of the Annie Mac Presents (AMP) team in 2012 so I sent a speculative email asking if there were any projects available that I could pitch for. I was ecstatic to be given an opportunity to create artwork for a relatively small job, a ‘free download mix’ to be posted on social media platforms. I stayed up most of the night creating three concept proposals, the third of which was the Annie Mac ‘Head’ icon which went down well! Two weeks later the logo had been animated into DJ visuals, they were displayed on giant screens as Annie played a set for Fat Boy Slim’s ‘Big Beach Boutique’. I was completely overwhelmed with pride when I saw it for the first time, an unforgettable moment for me.
Annie Mac is a great DJ and an inspiration to many. Her rise in popularity over the past few years is unsurprising! I feel very fortunate to have helped develop and create her visual identity. My final Shillington portfolio contained fictional festival flyers that I’d dreamt up and spent my free time creating, so to get paid to create branding for real artists has been amazing.
Your work is very playful and illustrative, is this a style you’ve always been interested in or something you’ve developed a taste for over time?
I’ve worked with restaurants, pharmaceutical companies, plumbers, DJ’s, you name it! I choose to display the more playful client work on my website as this is my preferred design style and I feel it currently best reflects me as a designer. I’m sure that my style will change as I change as a person. I don’t aim to follow a particular design style, however I’ve always loved big, bold type and contrasting colours.
My current roster of clients often require vibrant and energetic artwork, so naturally the designs cannot be too clinical.
I’ve always been rubbish at illustrating (my art teacher told me so when I was 10!). I always looked at amazing illustrations and thought, ‘I really want to be able to do that’. So a few years ago I saved up and bought a drawing tablet and began to develop my illustration skills. I still don’t think I’m very good, but it’s so much fun creating illustrative artwork and clients seem to like it!
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on two wedding stationery projects, a restaurant menu design and various DJ event artwork for the coming summer months. Variety is the spice of life and all that!
What have been one or two of your favourite recent projects and why?
AMP Lost & Found festival. To design complete branding for a music festival has been an absolute pleasure. Logo, posters, flags, programmes, wristbands, stage risers, merchandise. I’ll be attending the event soon and cannot wait to see everything in situ.
How and where do you find your inspiration? Could you share a few of your go-to creative resources?
My best creative thinking is done either in the shower or in bed. Basically when there’s no pressure to produce and there’s time to think! I also try to create designs using mixed media. It can be stifling sat at a computer screen so things like buying some coloured card and sticking it to a wall can often produce inspiration!
I once read that you should look for design inspiration in a butcher shop, not in a design book.
Point being that convention challenging design comes from finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Although it’s easier said than done!
If you feel inspired by Guy’s story and would like to enrol with us, our next intake is in May for our Australian campuses and September for UK & US. If you haven’t visited us yet, come along to an info session or get in touch directly to arrange an appointment.