Afterlife – Gareth Strange

Today’s Afterlife session was given by Gareth Strange a Graphic Designer who also has a passion for illustration and photography.

He spoke about his experience from starting out in University to progressing into industry.  It was interesting to hear about his story and quite relieving if I’m being honest. This is because he said when he looks back at his first year work, he thought it looked awful. I could see the progression made throughout the years in his work and like he said he is still progressing. The reason I found it relieving is because I feel I can relate to elements of what he said, particularly wanting things to be ‘perfect’ – this is something I still struggle with and am trying to break through, I have started sketching everyday, but maybe should be more experimental and ’embrace the imperfections’ (as he said).

I thought that some of the best pieces of advice he gave was in regards to ways of seeking work placement. One of my favourites was ‘be a bit cheeky’. This seems to be a recurring theme of putting yourself out there and just asking. Gareth spoke about the importance of creating networks – which makes sense because they are the ones that may potentially hire you one day.

Another piece of advice was to do your own personal projects. This is something I have already began to put into place after speaking to Lee Fairbrother last week. Gareth spoke of a time he created illustrations for fun and was later commissioned by someone in California to create illustrations for the members in his/her company. Gareth also told us that sometimes projects do go wrong – and that’s okay! Providing you learn from your mistakes, surprisingly good advice because I for one tend to assume that projects go well, especially with professionals.

He also strongly recommended two books to read – something for me to note:

  1. Design is a job by Mike Monteiro
  2. Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to Gareth talk because he gave a real insight into his journey of where he started to where he is now and it has made me feel better within myself that it’s okay if I don’t know everything right now. As long as I keep working, keep practicing and keep learning then I can become a great designer – a goal of mine.


Author: marislathamgraphics

I am a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying BA Hons Graphic Communication.

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