Patrick decides it’s time to go freelance
PATRICK BYRNE – UK
FORMER GRAPHIC DESIGN STUDENT
Here is one of our regular visits to our ex-students who want to share with you their experiences and journey to being a professional designer. Patrick was featured in our previous issue, but here we look at how he has progressed since studying and graduating with us here at the school.
Hello all. I’m Patrick Byrne and I’m a graphic designer based in Leigh on Sea in Essex. Well, the last couple of years since I completed the course have been quite the rollercoaster I can tell you.
After a few years working in retail and making textile pieces on the side, I realised I wanted to focus more time on creative work and less on retail. Although my passion had always been in textiles and sewing, the element that I was actually enjoying the most of my little side-business was designing the retro repeat patterns for my fabrics. As I enjoyed this a lot more than the sewing, I decided to look further into digital arts which lead me to Graphic Design.
I’ve had 3 different jobs (including a liquidation of one company and being made redundant from another) and moved twice so it’s been hectic. I actually moved 2 weeks ago and finished at my full time job 1 week ago to go freelance. I don’t advise doing both at the same time as it was a tad stressful.
So a bit about me.
I’ve always been creative but got into the print industry as a mac operator /artworker as I thought it was a good way of learning the software and giving myself exposure to the industry. Having no qualifications in art or design I thought this would be the route for me. 17 years later I was still doing the same thing and hungered for something more creative.
After looking at university degree’s and realising I couldn’t handle the cost, I stumbled on the Creative Design School. The price and time frame seemed perfect so I dived in, eager to learn as much as I could.
There were some late nights and frustrating days, but ultimately I learnt so much about the design process and really enjoyed the course and spreading my creative wings. I look back at the work I created and I can see a progression and increase in quality and though process. It gave me exactly what I wanted. Confidence that I could do the work I aspire to create and a base of theory and composition I so desperately sought. I posted some of the work I created on the CDS diploma course to my social media pages and Creativepool.
They actually featured one of my projects on their homepage which was a proud moment for me. I also had an interview with one of the biggest advertising agencies in London, but unfortunately they found someone before I had a chance to go, but still. It gave me confidence that people were seeing something in my work.
When I was made redundant from my second job I went through a bit of a hard time mentally. Not being happy in that job, being let go from it and having to move into a new flat by myself after 5 years of sharing with a friend. It all got a bit much. But after a few months I started working on my own projects and self promotion to get myself back out there into the workplace.
I signed up for the 50 day logo challenge. It’s free and you get a very small design brief every day for 50 days. I only completed 10 when I was asked to freelance in a local design agency, which after a month turned into a full time job. The Creative Director said he saw a lot of potential in me.
Unfortunately that job turned out to be very artwork, admin and print buying heavy. That had pretty much been my career to date but I was looking for something much more creative as I wasn’t enjoying the work. I decided to take the plunge and go solo. Having gone through a tough time last year, it made me put things into perspective and evaluate what I was ultimately searching for.
Once I have completed my current course, I plan to continue working in my current in-house Graphic Design position whilst aiming to gain more freelance clients and projects too.
It’s only very early days yet, but I’m looking forward to having more control over the work I do and being my own boss. We’ll see if the decision pays off.
I’m in a privileged position at the moment as I have savings to fall back on. Would I have gone solo if I didn’t have those savings. Probably…but I would’ve had to build a client base first to guarantee the bills were paid.
I don’t think I’d be where I am without the course and Pete’s help along the way. We still keep in touch and he’s always available for advice. Hopefully we’ll work on a project at some point.
If there’s one piece of advice I’d give, it would be do what you love. I spent years in jobs I didn’t particularly enjoy. I would absolutely recommend Creative Design School for the course if you want a grounding in design theory, thinking and execution. It’s not easy, but when was anything that’s worth pursuing.
creativepool: Patrick Byrne
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