Afterlife w/ Martin Grugel

Today sets the start of our Afterlife presentations conducted by successful designers in the field. These sessions will be interesting for us as it gives us a chance to speak to real designers and be able to ask questions on how they work and navigate the world of design. I will also be interested in finding out how they were able to get into the field after education as this is something that I definitely do worry about after finishing university.

Our first speaker is Martin Grugel who works at GolleySlater in Cardiff. Martin starts of the presentation beginning with his childhood. He states that he enjoyed art as a kid and would draw images from local newspaper articles in his spare time. His parents saw his creativity and supported him in his endeavour to pursue art and design. After school, Martin was accepted to London university. He spoke about the course being incredibly experimental and concept based which he thoroughly enjoyed and allowed him to create some unique things. Martin said that its good to experiment and fail as its all a learning process which you can improve from. He went on to say that when creating a piece of deign, we as designers need to say something more than just have a good looking piece. It’s our job as designers to think laterally and to mean something with our design work.

After university Martin had a few jobs working for agencies, however he didn’t feel as though he was being pushed creatively. He searched for new jobs and found his current job at GolleySlater which he says he thoroughly enjoys. He then showed us some of his recent work including this branding piece for The Museum of Military Medicine.

Martin spoke about the project being a really enjoyable one and felt pleased with the outcome. However, he did speak about some things to consider when dealing with clients. For instance for the logo design, Martin had two previous logos he worked really hard on and had a lot of thought behind them. They were conceptually really clever and timeless, which he was really proud of. He goes on to say that when presenting to the client they picked out a logo which conceptually was very simple and not as elegant as the previous two he had been working hard on. Martin continues that it may be disappointing for a client to not pick a design that you are passionate about but it is important in this job to stay flexible and to meet the clients needs. You may not always be creating design work that you personally like, however, this is part of the job. Nevertheless, I do think the outcome was still incredibly successful. The logo is clear to the subject. It’s still elegance and timeless, and these bright pops of colour are great for bringing in a new younger audience.

One of the last things Martin spoke about is to always create for pleasure. He says that he personally enjoys having some down time to create something real and work with his hands. Martin has some beautiful portraits that he creates. He says its important to get back to the basics and enjoy what you’re doing. On his long commutes home, Martin says he likes to play around with different software and experiment with design. He states that it’s important to always have a creative mind at work with whatever you do, whether it be something simple like doodling. Just create art to create art and enjoy doing it.

I found this session of Afterlife really inspiring and I will take away a lot from it. Some of the things I will start to do will be to experiment more, I know I sometimes stick to what I know so for this coming project I hope to experiment more with media and design. I will also continue to think creativity and always have this creative brain on. A pretty piece of work is nothing without a solid meaning behind it. I will also take into consideration flexibility when working with a client, hopefully in the future. Lastly, when asked by a peer, Martin advise for getting into the industry was to be proactive. Walk into the design agency that you would like to work at and start up a conversation. They may have many applicants and little time, so it’s important to get noticed. You have nothing to loose.


Sources Used:

(accessed 6th February 2020)

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