Blog Entry #11

This week was our studio visit week, where we had to go out and visit a studio relevant to our course and ask questions, and try to gather as much information as we could. Myself, along with three of my friends asked Simon Cunningham, the director of design at Value Retail. At first he said that he was far too busy to have us come round to his studio so we thought we’d have to find a new place to go to, however, after speaking a little he agreed to do a short telephone call with us to answer any questions that we had. The four of us sat around a table with a phone on loud speaker in the middle and called Mr Cunningham.

Q1: How did you get the job?

To get the job he was head-hunted from a previous design company that he worked for. This happened about 3 years ago, and his job title is ‘Director of Design’.

Q2: How many jobs does the company manage per week?

2–3 jobs per week on average, but they’re a year ahead. They design all of their work about a year in advance, so right now they’re planning and designing for Spring 2018.

Q3: How do you like ideas to be presented to you?

Simon said that he likes things to be professionally laid out, in a smart looking portfolio. He also enjoys to sieve through different ideas, so print outs are vital. He mentioned that he used to print out a lot of mock up ideas went meeting clients in his previous job.

Q4: What do you look for in young designers?

When looking for young, up and coming designers he looks for a few things. They need to be able to work well to tight deadlines, and be able to stick to specific briefs/design styles. They must have a strong portfolio which shows a range of capabilities.

Q5: How many people work on one job at a time?

It depends upon the project, Simon said. On average he has 7 people working on one project, each having their own role to play. He has a graphic designer, an illustrator, even someone to pick the type of paper that they print onto. Everything is carefully thought out, especially in a company as big as Value Retail.

Simon did give us a lot of vital information which I can take on board, and take into the industry when I graduate. I would have loved to have travelled down to him and seen his studio, but I guess that can be done in the future!