Things We Learnt in 2013

If you are reading this then congratulations, you made it. You’ve probably just about recovered from the obscene amounts of cheese, chocolate and assorted roasted animals that we challenge our digestive systems with at this time of year, and now all that’s left are the Quality Streets that no one really likes and those miniature whiskey bottles that Auntie Judith got you with your novelty TV show socks. It’s time to bask in the glorious knowledge that you won’t have to try to explain your creative uni course/career path to your relatives for another twelve months, and also time to reflect upon the twelve that have just gone by.

You might be getting ready to start a new term in January, or maybe you are still working out how to function as a proper human being in the ‘real world’ if you graduated this Summer. Some of you will be rolling back in to studios this week and some of you might be sharpening your freelance talons with your beady eyes on some new commissions. You’re also just as likely to be broke, back at home and wondering what the Helvetica you are even meant to do with that nice piece of paper someone dressed as a wizard handed you on graduation day. And don’t worry – that’s totally fine and normal. We’re all at different stages of learning and developing in this never ending journey as creatives, so we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve picked up ourselves in 2013. We hope you enjoy this mini platter of life lessons and here’s to a 2014 full of COOL SSZ SHIT for you to get involved in with us.


Alex Vissaridis – Design Lead

1. The Swedes know how to make a casserole.

2. Unless you’re really lucky, your first grad job will most likely include very little creative freedom. You’ll be working for the man. Don’t let that discourage you though; start a side-project to keep those “creative juices” everyone keeps talking about flowing.

3. if you get woken up at 4am by a mouse scuttling around your room, it’s time to move out.

4. Go to events, make friends with your colleagues at internships, meet people, be friendly. Employers are looking for people they can get on with on a personal level as much as they are looking for people who are good at what they do.

When this asshole moves in, it's time to move out.

When this asshole moves in, it’s time to move out.

Jonny Burch – Founder

A grudging respect for Miley Cyrus

This time last year miley Cyrus was a teenie bopper, and arguably a sideshow in modern pop music. Then came the infamous awards show twerk, open talk about drug abuse, the tongue, the nearly nude… well everything, the nude wrecking ball swing and the hammer.

Queen of the Disney club and every 7 year olds idol she may no longer be. But she’s garnered more YouTube hits than anyone else this year and she’s far more interesting to me now than she’s ever been before. Plus I quite like wrecking ball.


Sam Ailey – Talent Lead

It doesn’t have to be a something perfect, it just has to be something.  The internet does such a fantastic job of delivering a seemingly endless supply of incredible design and illustration work to our various dashboards, it can be a little daunting if you’re not super confident in your own stuff. It’s important to not get discouraged to the point where you stop creating. Disconnect regularly and make time to create something every day, even if it’s small, and even if it’s crappy. Quantity over quality, improvement and confidence will come naturally when you are constantly flexing your creative abs.

This year I also learnt that I was right all along. Dogs are unequivocally better than cats.

James Atkins – Build Zombie

1. Plan. Unless you have successfully got through the whole of university stumbling backwards recoiling from the Jägerbombs you did the night before, and still managed to get a 1st, Chances are you need to plan, give yourself a fighting chance.

2. Earplugs. Whether it’s a noisy housemate, or drunken students, earplugs are a worthy investment.

3. Don’t spend a fortune. You can do a lot with very little, keep it simple and it will work just fine.

4. Boring stuff. A decent work ethic will get you through the boring work, don’t give up stay creative and the rewards will come later.

5. Sleep is good. Sleep is good, caffeine may help you with that last minute deadline, but unless you want to end up as a walking zombie the rest of the time; make sure you get that well-earned rest.

6. Sambuca. Just because it exists doesn’t mean you have to drink it.

Don't be this guy. You don't have to be this guy.

Don’t be this guy. You don’t have to be this guy.

Emily Salinas - Twerking Bass Zombie

1. The clichés are always right – work smarter not harder, love is a rollercoaster just gotta ride it, whoever smelt it dealt it, and, of course, don’t wear white after labour day

2. Never underestimate the power of LinkedIn. After months of searching for that elusive first proper design job turned out it found me – on LinkedIn. A week later I had the job.

3. Don’t get RSI – working seven days a week may seem like a good idea in this job climate, but you will soon regret it when you’re standing bollock naked by the bathroom door, arm outstretched through the gap to receive some shampoo off your flatmate from the bottle you now lack the strength to squeeze. Nobody likes a needy naked person.

4. Don’t get lazy- chances are you may find yourself on the dole at some point during your first year of graduation, but don’t get sucked into the vortex of lunch time lie-ins and daytime telly. Make the most of the extra time you have around your job searching because it will be a while before you get it again- do some personal projects, yarn bomb your local Tesco or learn how to grow the perfect potato. Just don’t mistake being able to recite all the tenets of Barney Stinson’s Playbook for personal development.

You can't make lazy cute like this guy does.

You can’t make lazy cute like this guy does.

Ash Billinghay – Online Editor

1. Never trust a girl who says she enjoys your sense of humour. She’s lying, potentially for profit.

2. The popped collar look no longer makes you look hip. People will laugh.

3. If you want something, go out and try to get it. It might go wrong and if it does you’ll look like an idiot, but at least you can say you’ve tried and you’ll have a story to tell.



About this Post