Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Gin and Tonic - Tim McCracken

Tim McCracken owns his own agency, Gin and Tonic, which is an ideas agency, that works graphically, but also works 100% digitally. He is currently based in America. The aims of this talk were: to tell us about his journey through college, his inspiration, your era and culture and key people.

Tim started this talk by asking the question, 'Are you in the right place?' His answer? HELL, YES! His reasoning for this was that it's not where you are, it's the people and lecturers around you that make your experience. I agree with this. Though, I believe that part of it, is where you are. You have to make the most out of the people that are around you, after all, they will be your competition, but they will also be your friends, and ways to collaborate with people. You also have to make the most out of your time with your tutors, as they are there to help you become the very best you can be, and know what they are talking about.

Tim came straight to art college from high school. During his first week, two of his tutors (surprisingly, the same tutors that I have now), set a mark-making exercise, which he had to complete pages, and pages of work for it. This was his first ever case of hard-work. This is how I connected with Tim, as I came straight to art college from A-Levels at high school. I found that first couple of weeks very intimidating, as I was surrounded by all these people, who all seemed to have more knowledge about the industry than me, and the work that was set, was a lot more than I was used to at A-Level.

One piece of advice Tim gave, was, if not you're already doing so, look at your era; i.e. the movies, music, typography in these etc. (the fine details that make up all of these things). Lately, I have found that I am doing so much more of this, for example, when the credits come up in a movie, I pay attention to the typeface they used, and/or the way they laid the text out using grids. I am starting to appreciate typography as an art form itself nowadays, and a lot of that is to do with the fact that we have had several briefs set about typography, and this has really helped me look at things more critically.

Tim wanted to do T.V., but didn't have the experience, so any company he went to, wouldn't hire him. This led to him animating in PowerPoint, and then started learning Flash.

Catalyst Studios saw his work, and hired him. Clients of this company included, Hello Kitty, Target, and fashion labels. While here, he had one of his most important learning curves, he was told his designs were too masculine, and had to get in touch with his feminine side. The main point he learnt from this was to listen to the consumer!

He eventually hit the big time, when he moved to Boston, and started to work for Arnold! Here, he came up with an advertising campaign for ESPN's Fantasy Baseball league. This was a spoof of a American soap opera series. The website is still active now, you can visit it here.

Tim ended the session with asking the question, 'So, you've made it, what next?' He answered this by saying, just be happy, and maybe you could also start your own company. This is a extremely important factor, and piece of advice, as if you are not happy, then you aren't going to be motivated to do your work, and it wont be worth it in the end. You have to have passion, but also be happy doing your work.

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