Trudi Hewitt works at Design Dairy as an intermediate designer. She started there a year and a half ago as a junior and has become an integral part of their close-knit team. She went straight from working part time at Coco’s Cantina to Design Dairy. So she was well prepared for a team environment and working closely with others on the same wavelength. How does she see her career today compared to when she was fresh out of Uni? We find out!
Trudi is the perfect example of a hard working young designer.
Design Dairy is a tight team, how has that helped you develop so quickly as a designer?
Being a small studio means I’ve been allowed to work solely on projects and follow them from initial ideas through to print production. Having this opportunity forced me to develop very quickly. Having the guidance of our tight knit team only made this process smoother and not as stressful.
How has your first full time design job differed from your previous expectations?
My very first junior role was at a small studio in the city where I worked for about 6 months, I still had to work nights at Coco’s to afford to live, as junior salaries aren’t that great! I think my expectations before I got this job were pretty low; being a graduate who’s looking for someone to give you that first chance can take a big knock to your confidence. I was so fortunate to have Coco’s as it not only helped pay my rent but was also such a supportive working environment. When I finally landed the job at Design Dairy, thanks to Angel Annie, I was pretty excited, as it was the perfect place for me (it only took me two and half years to get there).
What is the most rewarding thing about your role?
I’ve always held strong values towards doing work for good people that are doing positive things, and I especially love working with owner operators. At Design Dairy I get to keep these values as we’re very fortunate to work with some great clients. Being a small studio means I also get to interact personally with these clients and follow their projects from beginning to end, which is another part I love.
How have you grown since leaving Uni? And did you feel prepared for the real world when you graduated?
I think I’ve grown quite a lot since Uni. Massey taught me how to think and to stick to a brief and deadlines. Having ISTD tutors also instilled a love and appreciation for Typography, I don’t think I’d be the designer I am today without those tutors. Being able to apply these skills to real life projects and brands has only developed them and made me more confident in applying them.
On the other hand, even though I had some great tutors I do also think the institution is really great at making you think the sun shines out of your ass. This may be them validating the $48,000 you had just clocked up which is great at the time, but the reality is there’s a swarm of other graduates who are just as good as you, and are all wanting the same jobs at the same studios. You don’t really understand the term ‘artwork’, your ‘studio experience’ is minimal, you’re too poor to work for free in an internship and the first class honors you worked your butt off to get doesn’t really mean much. But you know, you get over all that eventually.
How has getting your first agency job changed your career focus?
I think I always knew what I wanted to do; my first job has just solidified this. Branding, print and typography has always been my career focus since Uni and getting the opportunity to do all these things has just reassured me that I made the right decision (pat on the back Trudi). Being able to work on a lot of hospitality projects has also been great in connecting my love for food, hospo and design. Then of course there’s the dream, maybe one-day I’ll design cookbooks for Phaidon, who knows.
How do you remain inspired and on top of current design trends? What blogs websites do you follow religiously?
I love the design blogs itsnicethat.com and the-brandidentity.com. But on of the main ways I keep up with things is Instagram; it’s a great tool for inspiration and a great way to keep up with not only what other studios are doing but other creatives too. I follow a lot of studios and blogs and it’s great to see the caliber of work they’re producing. But really I think my main inspiration comes through other creatives, from potters to fashion designers to community initiatives and poets, seeing other people honing their craft and doing awesome things is the best.
What words of wisdom do you have for those who are just starting out in the creative industry?
Stay humble, chill the f*** out and try enjoy life. Jobs will come, it may not be the dream job yet but it’s a step in the right direction. Be realistic and keep persevering, if it’s your dream you’ll make it happen. I really like what Cleo Wade said at Semi Permanent – “failure is information” so maybe that too.
Cats or Dogs?
Both, sorry not sorry.
Design Dairy is a small design studio based in Auckland. Their clients range form large and international to small and local. They specialise in brand, print and packaging and pride themselves on creating intelligent design for good people. www.designdairy.co.nz and you can view their 2016 Best Award Entries here, including two Bronze awards.