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To Blackpool with LOVE

Published on 11/03/2020 by DTHACK

ABI STONES reports on a visit by one of Manchester's leading brand experts who provided Blackpool School of Arts students with plenty of inspiration to get them started in creative industry careers.

Garry Calderwood, Creative Head of Packaging at LOVE, talked students through his childhood in Kilmarnock where he used to spend his time as a teen illustrating motorbikes.

This experience, coupled with a keen interest in architecture, led to an interest in the relationship between art and typography. 

Garry's early career saw him working between Glasgow and Manchester during a turbulent time in the design industry, post 9/11, and he often had to do temporary work in between design agency positions. His first spell in Manchester involved taking on shifts as a cleaner until he found a permanent role, but despite such setbacks he was always optimistic of getting his break in the design world.

Garry explained: "Most of my career moves have been more a case of being in the right place at the right time.

“Networking is so important, who knows who is connected and where those connections may lead.

"The design industry is small - everyone knows everyone. Use it to your advantage and start making those connections now."

LOVE has a global roster of clients ranging from LVMH and Umbro to BrewDog and Nike.

Garry explained LOVE's philosophy for design - 'We See What You Won't' - and how clients often come to a studio with an idea of what they think they need, but the solution could be something different entirely.

LOVE works democratically. Everyone’s opinions and ideas are valid, no matter your role or length of time in industry.

Job roles at LOVE vary from strategists, to heads of culture, to packaging designers, to 3D visualisers, to art directors, it’s very multi-disciplinary. It’s that pool of varied talent that makes LOVE so unique on the design scene.

Garry gave students the lowdown on creative territories, and how designers create branding options based on chosen or appropriate territories - leading clients into new or unfamiliar areas to push their brands further.

He talked the students through a recent branding project for Botanic Lab, including how the ethos of the company came direct from its founder and how this was key to creating a stand out in the marketplace.

Garry signed off by reminding students of the importance of maintaining their wellbeing - of mindfulness, good mental health in the workplace, and managing stress.

Tips for B&FC students

Garry left students with some great advice on how to get a foot in the door when looking for a job, and what life working as a junior might entail.

  • Research - you don't get good stories unless you research
  • Find the clue, get out there and speak to people who know the brand stories, history and roots
  • Look at brand archaeology. Get under the skin of a brand and see what it’s all about
  • Look to culture. Brand tends to follow culture rather than vice versa. Look to culture to see what is popular and how you can apply this to a brand. Be aware what people are doing all over the world and see how brands can follow
  • On beating designers' block:
    • Use mind mapping. It’s a good way of letting your ideas flow and then finding connections between them.
    • Talk to your team. You’re not alone and collaboration often produces stronger results.
    • Take a break. Instead of fighting the block, move away from your desk and get some fresh perspectives.