A Year in the life of KBE

One year on from my graduation and finishing final year of BA Hons Graphic Design and Illustration in Ulster University Belfast, I find myself working in Kaizen Brand Evolution for one full year. The time has truly flew in! I have learnt so much I begin to wonder how I little I actually knew this time last year. When leaving university I knew that I wanted to work in branding straight away. I particularly like packaging design, as in Northern Ireland the food and hospitality industry is thriving and I knew this is where I wanted to progress my career in graphic design, therefore getting a job in Kaizen was the perfect fit.

Starting in Kaizen Brand Evolution I asked myself the question what is brand? Branding is everything associated with your service that you provide, it is what people say about you when you’re not there. I have been lucky to take part in producing creative branding concepts for start-up businesses and also evolution of top established brands and providing creative concepts. When I first started I took part in small projects to get started, but now I am able to manage my own clients and solve creative solutions for a brief and I have the confidence to do so. I find it very rewarding working one on one with clients and coming up with a outcome that their business can be proud of also when you see the work you have done out in the public domain.

I have been able to take part in brand presentations where we as a studio would get together and do research on the industry and then we would pick out three strong directions to pursue that meet the brand strategy. I have been able to design brands from scratch with a logo, language, art direction, social media consideration and website concepts. It was my brand submission that was chosen by the client is Couture Effects, a costume designer for clients such as ‘Game of Thrones’ who wanted a brand to reflect the work that they do as well as sit with the top global brands. For the brand presentation I designed a modern classic logo an adaption from their previous logo incorporating the C and E with an aspect of stitching and cutting. I also produced language and art direction in advertising concepts, stationery, uniform and garment tags. I particularly enjoyed working on this project and I believe it has helped me develop as a designer.

Working in Kaizen Brand Evolution has allowed me to learn about print and production as their sister company Kaizen Print is close by to help. I have learnt about printing techniques and setting up jobs for print, including cut contours and the importance of bleed, and when and when not to use CMYK printing. This has helped me grow as a designer and be able to assist a client on their project to ensure the best possible outcome is delivered.

I have had the opportunity take part in many events with Kaizen, including Culture Night Belfast last year and I look forward to participating in it again this year. In February I was able to travel to Dublin to go to OFFSET 2017 the design festival and found it very influential as a young designer.

One of the things I have enjoyed working in KBE is being a member of the team and working with others. Being able to learn from others and their experiences is fulfilling. I have also been able to pass my own knowledge on to others in the studio and we all can help each other to be the best! Last week I went to go see the final year show with the studio it brought back memories of what it felt like to be in their shoes. I found it interesting to visit some of my old classmates and view their work only this time I was coming from a design company a year on.

I look forward to continue to develop my knowledge and learning in Kaizen Brand Evolution for the next years to come and I hope to progress as a graphic designer to work on many other projects. Watch this space!