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Guest Speaker @ LSAD – hat-trick

I haven’t posted in ages so just to warn you… I probably will ramble on and make up for lost time!

Yesterday was the finale of the TALKS series hosted by the third years to raise money for their end of degree show! And what a way to finish; hat-trick are ranked #1 in the 2010 Design Week Creative Survey!

Here’s Sam, Tom & Dani getting excited about the talk next to the screen printed poster designed by Jim Sutherland himself for the talk!

… and a quick ticket pic outside of the lecture theatre whilst waiting. We were in the confusing maze Architecture building again and the queue was massive – the biggest turn out to any of the talks I think!

It was April fools day yesterday, but it was also the 10th birthday of hat-trick!

Jim Sutherland, creative director and co-founder of hat-trick, started with some simple facts & figures…

10 years old today
9 people
49 live projects at the moment
990 projects so far

49 live projects at the moment!!! That is just crazy & there was a bit of a gasp when he explained that!

He then talked through 20 projects – all quite different but all quite brilliant – here are my favourites (it was hard to choose):

hat-trick have done quite a lot of work for Land Securities…

A massive light switch in the middle of London… why not?

My favourite of the  54 maps created for the Land Securities offices… this little piggy went to market!

A poster to celebrate 200th birthday of Darwin:

When I saw this next project I got really excited…

Typographic playing cards – a personal project by Jim Sutherland… eeek! I love typographic playing cards (as you may already know) and own 3 sets! 🙂

hat-trick love/ are good at/ royal mail love hat-trick designing stamps…

hat-trick are responsible for the funky branding for Natural History Museum…

… and also for the branding of SOS (Sumatran Orangutan Society)

I think that the series of trees created for Oxford Brookes Uni is interesting…

What I loved most about Jim (& hat-trick) was the enthusiasm. When he first began the talk he explained he wasn’t the best of public speakers but once he got into talking about the projects his passion shone through. I found these descriptions on the New York Festival Grand Jury website where Jim is on the advertising awards jury: ‘Jim loves designing and does it more than is strictly healthy.’ & ‘Hat-trick has a habit of over-delivering on every project. This is down to an enduring enthusiasm for design’. I know this is a bit big headed of me but I think/ would like to think that kinda sounds like me – enthusiastic. There have been many occasions where I have looked like a loser because I got over excited about design related things, but I don’t care. Design is what I do, what I love and it’s my life!

This week I have been reminded twice that it’s a tough struggle to get a job in the industry with so many graduates and only the best will survive. I hope my enthusiasm and passion will get me there one day! ( but until then I will just be the girl who loves her blog!)

Jim concluded the talk with a Q&A session and he even offered prizes(Check out Tom with his pencils and typographic playing card poster – SO JEALOUS!!!)! Here is a summary of Jim’s advice:

– Jobs with the non-obvious clients are rewarding (e.g. for hat-trick Salvation Army)

– Share ideas in teams – at hat-trick they put all their ideas together and then go through what could work. Jim said he wouldn’t be able to remember whose original idea any of the projects belonged to.

– The design industry gossips! If they are looking for new talent they will ring other agencies and ask if they have seen/had anyone intern that is good. So making a good impression is important!

– Be the best placement they have ever had. This will make them remember you and recommend you if they get a phone call (see above point) OR maybe even offer you a job! Lucky!

– When showing your portfolio, don’t be arrogant or over confident… unless your work is amazing, then you have reason to be 🙂

– When showing your portfolio, don’t make excuses up – ‘I wanted to do _______ but I just went with this in the end’

– When showing your portfolio, show work you are passionate & enthusiastic about

– Do lots of placements for experience

– Stand out from the crowd! Don’t just email saying ‘Can you look at my website?’ – how many other students do you think will have done the same?!

– Be an ‘all round’ talent! Nowadays you need to be good at a bit of everything to be an asset to a small design company team like hat-trick!

Lastly, a point which Jim made about hat-trick not having a ‘style’ made me happy. The other week when the LSAD Japan poster campaign was being set up, the task was to design a poster in your ‘style’ and a comment was made about how I don’t really have a ‘style’. Not going to lie, it did worry me a little bit: ‘people won’t instantly recognise work as being mine?’ But then Craig Ward posted his thoughts about ‘style’ and it made me realise; yeah, I don’t want to be a one trick pony? hat-trick’s work is all brilliant, but there is nothing that immediately links it to them. I think this is a good thing because every piece of work is individual to the company they are designing for needs!

I know I have rambled quite a lot in this post, but it was the last talk this year 🙁 Boo! I attended 5 of the talks but I think this one was the most helpful/inspiring/meaningful out of the series for me. I definitely got a lot from it, so thank you Jim! And thank you to the Talks team! 🙂


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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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