We love Josh King. He was one of our favourite grads two years ago – his ideas and way of looking at graphic design with actual humour rather than just making stuff look nice was totally refreshing. When we asked him what his best mistake was while studying, he answered: “I once made petrol scented candles. It wasn’t a mistake but it could have been. Luckily no one got hurt.”
In the past few years he has perfected the art of latching on to stories in the media and making quick, funny projects around it, usually with his friend and partner in crime Andy Dawes. Together they were responsible for the somewhat legendary Fergie’s Gum project which saw them put a piece of pre-chewed gum on eBay and watch the bids skyrocket to nearly £400,000. We asked him to come and help judge our Graduates competition because, well, we think he’s a genius. Here he is with some true pearls of wisdom.
What impressed you about the entries you judged this year?
That I feared for my job. The majority of the work we saw had such a high level of polish and execution it was scary.
What were you looking for?
1. Originality – work that was clever, fresh, experimental and inspiring.
2. Ideas that made me feel some sort of emotion – make me laugh, cringe or cry (unfortunately I didn’t get to cry).
What did you see too much of?
1. Projects with no context. I’m all for nice aesthetics but they need some sort of justification. Saying that, work that simply looks good is great if it’s alongside a project with a solid idea behind it.
2. Work that could have been pushed further – “Why has this young lad with nothing to lose made a dull, flat, typographic poster about his love for potato waffles?”
3. As said before – wiggly lines haunted us for most of the day.
What are the most common mistakes young designers make when trying to sell themselves?
Parents at degree shows are usually the best critics. Most of them haven’t got a clue what’s going on. If they don’t “get it” instantly or the caption is too long to hold their interest, then it probably doesn’t communicate effectively. The simpler and smarter the work, the more accessible and enjoyable it is to everyone else.
What would be your main advice for Graduates about to enter the design world?
Be relaxed. It’s a stressful time, but I doubt anyone has come up with a good idea or plan or aced an interview whilst nervously chewing on the corner of a Weetabix box. And don’t stop designing. If it’s your passion you’ll have finished three more projects since graduating and bagged a job in no time. Good luck. Call me if you want a pint – 07447490305.
Supported by Represent
We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2014 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduate scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2014.