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AfterLife #1: Jack Renwick Studio

Jack Renwick & Susie McGowan

We were fortunate enough to have Jack Renwick and Susie McGowan from Jack Renwick Studio talk to us today as part of the afterlife series. I remember hearing Jack speak at the 4 designers conference back in first year and finding her work really inspiring. Her story of working really hard to get to where she is today shows me that perseverance is a key part to finding a place in this industry. Hearing her story again story just re-inspired me and got me thinking about myself as a designer.

Susie is one of the designers at the studio and hearing her perspective on work was interesting too. Her story of how she was picked up by jack really highlighted to me the importance of entering these competitions and young designer awards because that’s one way of networking other than messaging designers and studios.

Blood, Sweat and Tea was a mantra that Jack shared with us and I thought it was really inspiring as I think I too want to try and work by this. I think in a nutshell it tells me what might be needed as a designer. Below are bullet points of the notes I took thought out the talk.

  • Studio based in London Whitechapel
  • ideas first, pen and paper. Sharing everything is important in order to remember. Working in a team really helpful can share ideas others can help and feed into the project.
  • Has studio across the the world.
  • Studio culture is really important – adapted through covid – Friday nights are fun.
  • Really adapted in the covid life – social, health, culture, education minister.
  • Branding Agency

Tips for Project

  • Keep it simple – hardest thing to do. taking simple things are merging them together.
  • Get under the skin. – do your homework, can approach a problem if you don’t understand the problem. Understanding any history or connotations of the problem. Don’t always take the easy short cuts.
  • Make it Different – always thinking why that restriction? think about the message.
  • Don’t be precious – take feedback on the chin. Don’t start research by looking at Pinterest – start by looking at obersvations etc. Sometimes shit hits the fan.
  • See opportunity in everything – sometime you’ll be asked to work on projects that aren’t your thing but try see the poitnential in everything. You don’t know where things are gonna take you – what else can I do to help them.

Top Tips for Students

  • online talks, free online learning. remote internships, industry appetites to help, don’t ask – don’t get.
  • building a network – people in the industry are gear to help
  • changes a lot of their design process because they use google sides etc. Communication is harder making sure you know what everyone else is working on. Taken time to get used to. Making sure that your looking after the rest of the team. for jack.
  • Never gonna be the finished product at graduating stage continuing to develop and learn.
  • Clients tend to want to see 2/3 ideas – personal taste must go out the window. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want in my portfolio.
  • Don’t take free placement or work because it’s not right to start.
  • Don’t be afraid everyone is human even designers. If you don’t ask you won’t get.
  • Make sure the skills are stronger.
  • People are being careful in taking people on because of the current times. The more desirable you can make yourself, constantly learning, making personal projects can help differentiate you.
  • Don’t let the pandemic be negative about the projects.
  • Use this time to really polish skills and projects.
  • Don’t care what people think. Confidence is important, show me a confident designer and ill show you an average designer. Nothing bad can happen.
  • Don’t be afraid
  • Personal Projects are really useful


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