London Trip – 4 Designer Seminar

On the 19th February we left Cardiff and travelled to London for our Graphic communication trip. On this trip we will be going to the European study tours seminar called the 4 designers and then on our last day we will be visiting Dare design agency.

The first day we went to the 4 designer seminar which started at 10 and finished at 4. First designer to talk to us was Matthew Shannon who works as a group executive creative director with a company called Brash Brands and has had 20 years experience. In his talk he gave us 5 key things we need to think about when working in design.

The 5 key words were:

  • Approach
  • Agile
  • Adapt
  • Affect
  • Alternate


In his 20 years experience in design he came across many clients, the easy ones and the difficult but all of the jobs were approached in the same way. One of his hard customers was Skoda and back then Skoda was known for poorly built cars. Skoda came to his company asking them re design their brand so while everyone knew that Skoda had the bad repetition, the company wanted to spark new life into the brand to give people a reason of buying a Skoda. In his research he discovered that Skoda is owned by Volkswagen who also owns Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Seat and that Volkswagen are using the technology from these companies to build the new Skoda. So he designed a new brand by giving it a new logo and a revolutionary Slogan which was “It’s a Skoda. Honest.” In the line of wor we need to do alot of customer and client research and Matthew told us to think of it like this:

DO – Do it

RE THINK – Checking

THINK – Explore / Research

In this way, we would of done all of the exploring and research (The Hard Work) which will make the DO an easier and less long of a process.


The second point was adapt and this goes for every brief because you wont know what will happen when you are working on a project. This happened to Matthew when he was working with BP oil. He was designing stuff for them but in the process BP oil had the incident when one of their oil rigs failed and spilt oil in the Ocean. He had to adapt by changing and re designing to recover BP’s good repetition.


 When he worked with Sainsburys they wanted to show customers that they have good produce in the food so he used the staff to tell this to the customers through video. By thinking about effect we need to use of skill to produce work that can effect people. As Matthew told us look what your work is effecting.


Matthew Shannon told us and many other designers in the afterlife sessions have said that we designers should be exploring our work and alternating between them. We should be using animation, illustration and many other things and this is were field comes into our education.


Needs to come from YOU!

It’s in us as designers to dream big and make big ambitions.


Joanna Davies

Next talker was Joanna Davies a entrepreneur of a company called Zak that does alot of Graphic Communication and design jobs for companies such as BBC, NB, Easy Job and Vodafone. She created the company when she was in the early 20s and she tries to aim her work for audience in her 30s. Unlike Matthew Shannon she talked to us about what she expected in a designer to work at Zak and also what you need to be to stand out of a crowd if you had your own company.

Find your personal brand

To start a company you need to find what’s gonna make yourself different to anyone else, this can lead to in rich yourself in what you can offer to the world of design and by doing this you will stand out from the crowd. Also be cool and different because it attracts people. Example of this is Jack Wills they sell high end clothes but they have a different logo which stands out of the crowd unlike the other high end companies.


Joanna spoke about that a designer/worker that’s crazy and full of ideas is great because in business and specially in design the best and most brave decisions can be the success of a business in design because it breaks down walls and making the business stand out. All this is backed up by drive and big ambitions by being positive and hungry for better work, pushing yourself and make things happen.

Although she said to have a successful business or be a successful worker you should have unique ideas, she also told us to make sure that you are down to earth and likeable, that would make you a great partner in the workplace.

Matt Baxter

Matt Baxter is a designer and illustrator who is based in Brighton in a company called Baxter and Bailey. They are a small team of designer work on many jobs with many companies like Radisson Blue and London. He started off the talk by saying that it takes 10,000 hours for anyone that can be expert at anything. That’s many hours of hard worked hours but following Baxter’s speech i could see his hard work and expertise . In his experience he told us about 6 point that we should carry forward in our work.

  1. Never talk yourself down – We should be confident with our work and should always back ourselves with a reasons.
  2. Try something different that you haven’t done before – By doing this you could discover new skills. Also this will widen your experience and stand out on your CV.
  3. Over Deliver – Every presentation of work to a customer always deliver more than they expected. For instance if you don’t agree with a brief of the client do some work inline with the brief and then if you think you could deliver a better brief which will make the client feel special because your helping them.
  4. Hard Work – Hard work goes far, because you make an imprecation and also shows that you have plenty of ambition in the work.
  5. Need to Research – By researching plenty you get more ideas and also by reading and being with people who have the same beliefs make you grow stronger in your imagination and increase your knowledge.
  6. Don’t worry for mot having the answers – You never stop learning. Everyone has different knowledge and by meeting other people you mix knowledge and get answers here is were getting experience is helpful because you get answers and can ask questions.
  7. Always Leave Them Wanting More – Be special, keep clients hooked make them feel happy and being put first. Make sure your work grabs attention and make them wanting to come back. Give them an experience and show your talent.


Brian and James – Webb&Webb

Brian and James are a father and son company who are focused on designing mail stamp designs and are very well known by royal mail for doing unique versions of stamps for different causes and celebrations. They talked about protecting your work because they had lost many design to other agencies because they didn’t give them protection. Also spoke about how important it is to get yourself out to the world of design by trying competitions to make a name of yourself and a good way to advertise what you have to offer.


The design seminar gave me a big boost in inspiration in design, specially Graphic Communication because they gave me ideas and goals to achieve in my studies and further in my future. My favourite and more memorable quote i remember and i will take forward from this seminar is “Always leave them wanting more” – Matt Baxter. The reason why is that it make us designers sound powerful and gives us the impression that we designers are the source of people’s ideas. We can create possibilities and have the world at out our finger tips. Also Matthew Shannon’s pyramid is another key point to carry on with me in the career because it will make my work organised and more successful in my final piece.


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