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  • Writer's pictureDrew

Professional Interview - Feedback 1

Updated: May 22, 2019

I have received my initial feedback for the professional interview process that we undertook for the Professional Practice module at Chester university and am quite pleased with the outcome. I understand that this section of the feedback relates to the interview discussion itself rather than the portfolio.

I am especially pleased that my beard balm project I lead with was considered to be "super strong" which is great because it was a project I did on my Foundation Degree course before signing up for university. It is a great example of how far I can take a project when given enough freedom to do so. I not only created an identity for the products, but I actually physically made real products, designed the packaging and branding as well as building a counter display box, designing other supporting materials, and collecting the right kinds of paraphernalia to show the brand off to maximum benefit. I had been worried about including it since I had been told that I should only include work that I have completed at the university, and preferably in the last year.

It is interesting that the quality of the briefs over the past two years have not allowed for the same level of creative output to be applied to them. I am currently seeking to change this president by exploring a range of production methods to achieve the overall aesthetic of my degree show piece(s). It is a shame that the portfolio interview was arranged at a time before the final project has been completed. The final project not only reflects where my skills and focus are at the present time, but it has also given me the creative scope to take a concept and develop it in the direction I want to take it in without the restrictions of a vague brief. It allows me to be creative and adaptive. I think that an interview based on the Degree Show work would have given me the right kind of feedback and interview practice on the work that I would be presenting in my portfolio in a real world situation. I think I was unlucky with timing for the professional interview as the work I had completed for my final project had been physically handed in the day before the interview which made it difficult to show much of what I was currently working on.

The piece of work I entered into the portfolio interview that got the worst feedback was a branding project that I did for Creative Solution NW Ltd, as it was felt that this simply showed branding in a corporate context. I agree with the feedback, it was corporate and therefore not very creatively exciting although it was a strong piece. It certainly surpassed the optional 'Branding' project from the second year that ran for 3 - 4 weeks and should be 're-branded' as 'slap a logo on it' since that is all that was actually covered in it.

Having worked at a marketing agency and at a signage firm, I understand that any kind of design is ultimately restricted to the client's wants and needs. The bottom line is it is those people who pay for the jobs and make the decisions about the direction of certain jobs, so it makes sense to include something that fits into that category. It is lovely to have the opportunity to go full 'crazy idea machine' and create a branding project incorporating a 50ft sculpture made entirely from recycled dairy-free yogurt pots, but sometimes the client wants simple, clean and corporate. The skill is knowing when to crank the crazy idea machine to full throttle and when to ease off on the crazy. The portfolio interview was after all a general look at a broad range of skills for a non-existent job as an 'unspecified role'.

For a real interview and a real position my portfolio would be carefully curated to specifically target those elements of design that best reflect my abilities to carry out the kind of work the interviewer is looking for and include my strongest work.

Overall, I didn't interview too badly and got a really good mark for the content and the way I talked about it, so I am happy with that result. In terms of the usefulness of the exercise, I feel like it is included within the curriculum because it is expected, much like the Branding, Editorial, and Illustration, but there is not enough thought around the logistics or practicalness (I checked, it's a real word). How does an external examiner second mark an interview that took place months ago? Do they take into account that the students within a discipline may have been split across several different interviewers?

It just seems odd that it is a very subjective thing to mark for. I could perform several interviews in the same way, with the same portfolio and in some cases I could get the job, but in others I might not. There are too many outside factors that prevent a consistency of approach. While probably not practical, it would be better to have an interview either after the exhibition, or during it so that the final work can be discussed and shown.

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