Two cents blog

Near and Far

by Thomas Butler on 3 December 2014

I love attending design-graduate exhibitions. They’re a chance to see design unrestricted by briefs, and to maybe glimpse the next big design trend. So I was super-excited to attend the recent showcase of QUT’s fresh graduates.

Titled ‘Near and Far’, the exhibition was described as a celebration of present and future — fine detail and big picture — individual and collective. In other words, a chance for QUT’s Interactive and Design Graduates to wow their way into the Brisbane design scene.

As a designer and not-so-recent-graduate myself, I was wowed.

My own grad-show required the traditional (boring) portfolio of seven or so of my best design projects. In contrast, QUT’s graduates presented just a single work each — the less is more approach. This freedom allowed designers to showcase work they were actually passionate about. And as 100% of their focus went into a single project, the work was generally amazing. Seriously, great work QUT on giving your graduates an awesome start in the industry!

Browsing the exhibition I was pleased to see diversity in the presented work. There was a lot less hipster aesthetic with Gotham typesetting, and instead a wide variety of design styles and formats. It also seemed the graduates had opted for a more literal understanding of their “interactive” course title. This resulted in the creation of bespoke leather brands, tech-based experiments combining human interaction with light sensors, and the more traditional app and interactive designs.

after-5th-paraBesides wishing my grad-show had been as awesome, Near and Far left me with a couple of great tips for designers and future graduates alike:

 The first tip, give your work the presentation it deserves. Use formats that engage and effectively tell your work’s story. Show your designs adaptability by exploring the idea across print, digital, and three-dimensional executions.

  Show your process. It’s beneficial for clients to see how and why you arrived at your final design concept, and for future employers to see how your process helps you tackle a variety of briefs. Why not use a time-lapse video to show your amazing photoshopping/retouching — my new favorite way to show process.

 Show your flexibility as a designer. You might be awesome at producing the latest trendy design aesthetic, but can you adapt to the style of an existing brand? Show the research that informed your trendy design in a different style, like an infographic. Or make sure your business card points to a portfolio-site showcasing your talents over a variety of styles.

Graduate Anthony Hearsey captures his retouching process in time-lapse video 

Finally, Congratulations to QUT’s Interactive and Design graduates of 2014, especially our latest digital design recruit Alex. You can check him out, along with the other designers at nearandfar14.com

Thomas Butler is a Experience Designer at BCM

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