We kick it old-school with our very own Jade Hall to chat about her creative journey and how she ended up here at Casa MadeBrave!
GDFS is just around the corner (that’s one week to be exact!). With everything just about to kick off, we thought we’d shine a wee light on someone we first met during a live project at the festival: getting her take on GDFS, some chat about her creative journey, and how she got to be where she is now (which is with us, by the way!). Without further ado, here’s our very own Jade Hall!
*music plays, applause happens*
Hey Jade! Let’s jump in. Should we start with GDFS and how you first got involved?
Well my first year at college I was trying to get out to as many exhibitions as I could. I met a friend who told me about GDFS, which was at the Whisky Bond that year. That first year I came along for the talks to get a bit of insight into the industry. Getting involved outside of college and speaking to others about their journey was so inspiring and motivational. For me it confirmed that design was the right direction for me. It was great!
So that was you decided on design, then? What happened next?
Over the next couple years I went to more exhibitions and events just to keep myself involved in design as much as I could out-with my education. The third year of GDFS was the first one where I decided to get involved in a workshop. It was a branding masterclass with Studio Koto.
I had realised over the past couple of years studying that branding was my main interest in graphic design, and this was the perfect opportunity to develop my branding skills. I learnt an unbelievable amount during the workshop. Everything they said seemed to be a gem of wisdom. I remember going back to college afterwards to work on a branding project and my tutor said that he could see how much the workshop had helped me develop my branding skills, that I now “just got it”.
Right, a few exhibitions, a couple of GDFS…s—what was the next bit?
In the 4th year, now at University, I decided to take the leap and do the two day live project with MadeBrave. I’d been following MadeBrave’s social and their work for awhile and decided they would be the right fit since I was in branding. I was nervous because two days didn’t seem like enough time to answer a brief by comparison to the four weeks we got in uni. Truthfully, I spent the first day wracking my brain for ideas and only coming up with all of the obvious answers! But after talking with my mentor and picking his brain, I realised it was all meant to be a bit of fun and went in the next day feeling refreshed! I had an idea that I thought was pretty random, but it was fun so I just went with it.
Oh, we like fun things—tell us more about your project!
Well it was a little flip book called ‘Anon’ and it was filled with random facts about almost everyone taking part in the live project. From there my mentor helped me structure my presentation, walking the audience through the journey of the idea. Little did I know that I’d be delivering that presentation to over 100 people when I was picked for placement! I was pretty dumbfounded and particularly nervous to give the presentation, but the advice I got from my mentor helped gave me confidence and I somehow pulled through the other side feeling energised by the experience and thoroughly looking forward to my placement with MadeBrave.
So you won a placement and that’s when you came to meet us all the first time?
Yeah! After the live project I kept in touch and organised my week placement. It was so good to finally get to see inside an actual studio (and get a nice break from Uni!). Throughout the week I got to know all the elements that make an agency, from marketing to the account managers (and all the designers, developers and superheroes in-between) I got to be involved in ideation sessions (which involved anyone who was free, no matter their job in the studio).
Even though I was only on placement, I felt included and felt like my ideas were heard. I was told ‘an idea is an idea—it doesn’t matter where it comes from’. I got stuck in with photoshoots, sat in on client calls, and even got to play on the VR machine. Through the week though, the thing that became most important were the people that I got to know. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. When the time came to leave, everyone gave me their cards and asked that I stayed in touch.
Ahhh such good times! What did you do after your placement?
Well, from experience, I know friends have found this difficult… ‘stay in touch’. Stay in touch? What does that mean? How often should you stay in touch? What should I say? So the first thing was I emailed after to thank everyone for the experience and giving me such an enjoyable week, which is just polite really after having had such a good time.
After this seems to be where people struggle, and honestly I just followed a lot of folks from the studio on instagram (thank the lord for social media) I kept up to date with what they were up to and sent little messages now and again. I was just being myself I guess. Then as it turns out, when going to events you tend to bump into these people again, which happened at the next GDFS!
Okay hold on a minute, which year is this?
Hahahahaha okay, so this was last year – 2018. I bumped into the senior designers at the launch night for GDFS, and they invited me in for coffee again. I was curious about whether or not my portfolio was up to scratch and whether or not I was ready for the big brave world of employment. I thought ‘who better to ask for feedback than those in the industry and the people who had told me to stay in touch!?’
I popped along to the studio for a second time and caught up with everyone. We chatted about all things uni and I went through my portfolio with the senior designers, who gave me some constructive feedback. Afterwords I asked about advice on how to go about getting employment and was told ‘keep doing what you’re doing!’.
Luckily for me it was good timing that I asked when I did as it turned out MadeBrave was looking for a junior designer and I was invited back for a chat with Steven Hadden, the creative director who had been my mentor at GDFS the year before. Fast forward a few months and here I am, a MadeBraver!
Yuuusss! That’s the best bit. So, GDFS—you’re a fan?
Yeah, this wouldn’t have been possible without GDFS. Being a student, agency life seemed so far away and daunting. Going to GDFS each year opened my eyes, gave me the opportunity to meet people within the industry, and with each year my confidence and passion grew. I met like-minded creatives from all over the world and it helped shape the designer I was becoming. Also people that started GDFS, Beth and James are also such an inspiration to students since this was their dissertation project. They’re also pretty nice guys too.
Yeah they are. Thanks Jade!
Well, there you go. GDFS brings buckets and buckets of creative inspiration and value to students and creative pros, not just from Scotland, but from all over Europe and beyond. That’s why we’re not only sponsoring the event—we’re going along for it, too (and so should you!). Get your tickets here, then make sure to come say hello to us at Nitty Gritty, TopForm, or during the Live Project. See you there!