Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Chase - Manchester

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Last year I got a bit trigger happy doing portfolio visits and During my little feedback spree in London I visited The Chase where I got some really great advice on how to get the best out of my portfolio and also how to make the content relevant. I decided therefore to get in contact with The Chase in Manchester, as I thought it would be great to see how they compared and also to see how the reaction to my work differed, a year on. My visit was with Lise, who has been at the company well over 20 years and is only the second visit which I have had a woman look at my work, which was a nice change.

Coincidentally Lise and another colleague had been into Stockport the day early working with the Illustration students. Looking through their work and talking about how they work with Illustrators, this was great as it gave us a topic to start talking about straight away. It felt really comfortable talking to Lise and we talked lots about the Illustration course and our merge in the final year, that then spread onto talking about the structure of the Stockport course in general comparing that to Bristol (my previous uni) and the course she studied at MMU. We ended up nattering away for ages just about what we both perceived to be the best ways of being taught design, this was all taking place in the waiting area, where they have sofa's and tables and chairs and when Lise arrived she just joined me on one of the tables, which at first felt as if I was
a bit exposed because it was a little bit echoey and very quiet but in the end was fine!

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We talked through my projects and it wasn't so much a break down of each project more a general talk about how and why I had chosen certain outcomes. She really liked the idea behind the Ritz and Ted Baker brief saying the Ted Baker pages needed a little more imagery to help the explanation of the project, which I know is something I have needed to address for a while. The Helvetica Neue editorial spread again went down well. I guess it's the project that has lasted the longest in my portfolio and I have got to the stage where I am starting to question whether it should still be in there - mainly because it's a 1st year project but whether that matters or not I don't know. It still seems to be well accepted and I think its the best project that shows my understanding of type, maybe because I am so used to talk about it, it almost seems dated! She thought the end sting was a nice touch and making it into a flicker book was a great way to be able to show it visually. We had a good laugh about the 7x7 book as she had obviously seen and heard a lot from her previous day with our illustration students. She recognised the challenge that we faced working with not only other creatives but also class mates. She didn't feel the printing quality of the book hindered the
way it looked too much but understood how that would have effected certain individuals and maybe how we reflect on the overall project. I definitely feel at a stage where I can enjoy talking about the book and actually like it as piece of work. (Took long enough)

Before I came in for my visit I had mentioned that I was going on a placement so Lise, really kindly gave me lots of advice and generally just let me feel a bit more at ease about the whole thing. She talked through what they expected from the students they get in and the bottom line seemed to be enthusiasm and the willingness to learn and get involved. I talked to her about my worries and my reservations about the length of time I was there and the fact I was going to be paid but she just said not to worry and to be myself and try and get involved as much as poss. It was great to hear that from someone of her stature and experience because it's easy to get carried away and over think the situation ahead but her little pep talk was great and exactly what I needed. We also spoke about me spending abit of time at The Chase at some point which would be brilliant. We obviously realised with me being away for 4 weeks of my major project that it wouldn't be till the summer but I am going to try and fit it in just after we hand our work in and before our end of year show. The visit was great if more for the things that we spoke about and the topics we covered, rather than direct feedback on my projects. I think it's helped my confidence with the way I communicate with creatives and I feel I'm starting to build a nice range of contacts.

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