Taylor O’Brien portfolio visit

Taylor O’Brien portfolio visit

On monday I had my first portfolio review visit, as we’ve been asked to do by our tutors. The idea behind the visits are to get us out meeting people in the industry, talking about our work and of course, getting feedback on our portfolios.

My visit was with the art director Helen at Taylor O’Brien, a Manchester and Dublin-based design agency. As it was my first outside of the university environment, I wasn’t sure entirely what to expect but I am pleased to say it went very well. I arrived a bit early, due to the usual underestimation of our train services, but I was welcomed straight in by Helen herself. I was meant to see Lee, the head designer, but he was called away on a shoot in London over the weekend. Helen herself was very friendly and made me feel at ease.

We sat down and she asked me a few questions about myself before settling into my book. We went over my book page by page, and at each project she asked me about each brief. She told me I had a beautiful book and was looking forward to seeing more of my work in the future, also that it was presented professionally. She also liked how diverse my work was. Though she could see each piece was obviously created by me, they were all different and taylored to the feel of each brief rather than me just regurgitating the same thing/style over and over. As a designer, this is what she looked for in illustrators as it shows I’m able to envision different outcomes and am adaptable with my skills. She didn’t give me an critical feedback of my work as such, which I hope means my work is at a good place. She also avised me to look into selling limited edition prints of my poster work, as well as working as an illustrator. When asked what I wanted to do after graduation, I told her whilst I wanted to focus primarily on fashion illustration, I don’t want to limit myself and as long as I enjoy illustration, I’ll try any project.

At the end of our fifty-minute meeting, I handed over a little promotional packet including a mini printout of some of my work (each piece is approimately sized at A7), a business card and a little sticker I made with my logo on, all packaged in a little cellophane bag. She said I was the first student she’d seen so far that had a business card, which surprised me.

Overall, my first visit was very positive, which was lovely. As it is my tutors jobs, they are much more critical and apt to point out the negative things rather than the positive, so it was nice to have such good feedback from someone outside the college environment and currently in the industry. Sometimes I need that little boost, as I’m sure we all do, to make it feel like it’s worthwhile to carry on doing what we do.