We speak to graphic designer Maria Sagun on making it into the creative industry. Sagun has worked with many notable clients such as Shortlist Magazine, whilst also creating and designing her own publication 'Self'. 'Self' is a zine that celebrates DIY culture and independendent creativity with exploring others in the space. They aim to document and record moments of creating, with the ultimate mission being to satisfy the self.
Previous Employment: Shortlist magazine
Education: Graphic Design/New Media, University for the Creative Arts, Epsom (2005-2008)
Social Media: instagram.com/themothersagun
What’s your job title?
What does a day at work for you look like?
I get into work just before 9am and finish around 5. I just started working at an events company. My main role is to create brand identities** for different events. I work independently as the only graphic designer for the projects but work alongside the project manager and the rest of the team closer to the event.
**(Brand identity: components that makes a brand recognisable to it's consumers; i.e the Nike Swoosh)
How did you get your job?
I got in contact with a recruitment agency and sent them my CV and portfolio. They got in touch about a role that would fit my experience and also wanted to change from editorial to create branding and logo design. I got an interview and then did a test which gained me a second interview and was hired a couple days after. My background was in editorial, so the switch to branding was great because I've developed a passion to want to work into this area and to gain more experience.
I realized that any change into a different sector had to start from your portfolio. In my previous role I tried to get as many logo and branding opportunities as I can, while also creating self initiative projects and seeking freelance work at the same time. Building a portfolio to demonstrate what you are passionate about and what field of design you want to work in while sending it to appropriate people gets you closer to gaining the work and experience you want.
Do you need a degree for your job?
Honestly, no. But that does not mean you should quit uni. I think university is a great way gain experience into many practices of design and to develop your unique way of thinking about design processes and problem solving. My advice is to get work experience as soon as you can.
Skills and experience is key to any role as well as an understanding of graphic design and feel that you can gain that in work experience, freelance, self -initiative projects. Ask companies if you can intern for while or start up your own website/ instagram account and post your work and learn as you go. If you decide not to go to university but don't know how to get around it - just do something, even if it's just research into what types of design is out there or asking questions today or anybody you have access to that can point you in the right direction..or google.
What would you say is the best part of your job?
The people and the projects. I love that I have creative freedom to develop my ideas for a project. Open planning so we can work on hot desks, sofas, bean bags or outside.
What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
Creative blocks where the brief is quite vague. Also there are some days where half the day is spent in meetings.
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by work, and if so, how do you manage stress?
My work is based based in Surrey, so if I get overwhelmed with work you can go for a walk and its very peaceful and quiet. We also have living rooms in the office and pods so we can just hide away from all the distractions if we need to. The team are very supportive and if we feel there is too much to do you can work from home or can ask someone to help with the work load.
What would you advice people like yourself aiming to apply for your position?
Best advice based on my experience is to create work. It can be freelance or a previous role or self initiative... But you have to put work in that YOU love. It shows who you are and what sort of designer you want to be. You will be selected and called in from the people who want you for you and that means putting in work you can speak passionately about and be proud to show. Apart from skills, experience and a portfolio of relevant work the only previous experience you would need is being able to work alongside a client and with the team. Other advice - be happy with rejection! It is a blessing, it may be that it's not for you and there is something far better suited to who you are as a designer. Trust that it's a good thing!