Monday, 11 May 2009

Compare and contrast practitioners.

Sky Broadcasting v Double G studios.

I have chosen to compare these design institutions for very specific reasons. They both produce work in the same field and this happens to be the type of work I have produced work for in my major project. It is a title sequence for a documentary documenting an Antarctic expedition. Also I have a personal dilemma that I am trying to resolve as a graduating student do I aim to go freelance or in-house?

Having met the creative director of sky and receiving a lecture from Grant Gilbert both heads of seemingly similar design companies, have notable differences. The most notable being the fact that Double G Studios consisted of one person who would hire extra hands when necessary.

The work they produce is for the same market, the television audience. The companies have to fight for the viewing majority in a saturated market with ever more important channel identities. This world of idents and advertising is increasingly slicker and polished especially with advent of HD, I always wondered what I was getting myself into. Sometimes deigns are so machine lead that they become sterile and face less. This is a problem I had with corporate design but after analysing the full spectrum of the designs that sky prepare for its hundreds of channels, it seemed to be that there was a need for a more human approach with room for simpler designs that steered away from the banality of the generic 3D logo spinning around. Some of the animation I was generating in the studio was very hand made and labour intensive I wondered in a world with such short deadlines would there be any room for such simple practises?

Before going down to sky I assumed they would have to look after themselves, thinking that everything they are concerned with has to be considered for the good of the share holder, there would be many rules and constrictions, a code of conduct that if it wasn’t followed their would be dire consequences, This is true to a degree but because of the variety of their production, with all those different channels, you can do something that you have specialised in or have better natural ability doing. This would mean that there is hope in enjoying the things that you like within such a big company.

I was pleased to see Gilberts designs for MORE4, they had a reserved corporate feel to them but their simplicity added to their charm, jut simple explorations on a theme that gave the channel a strong identity, without alienating the channel that spanned it. His ideas were not bound by software or production constraints, anything he envisaged could be created to a degree by any means necessary. He is a designer with universal roles and would see the design over at every stage of production. It is these qualities I suppose he learned from Channle4. Something that is apparent on Gilberts part is that he wouldn’t be getting such high profile jobs if he had not had the experience of working for channel4, bigger companies are probably more accepting to some of his more maverick ideas to design problems because of his affiliations with such a respected company like channel four, giving him greater creative freedom. Being a ware of this leads you to think that at Sky you may have less creative control; is that a sacrifice I would be prepared to pay for a secure job?. This is all hypothetical, but it does create a real dilemma about what to do after I have graduated.

GG studios pitched ideas to potential clients and nothing seemed certain, he said he would be paid more for a job but the jobs would be few and far between. Most pitches seem to get turned down. One would need a great deal of confidence in their abilities to approach such big clients without the support around you.

Gilbert, under his alias, Double G studios, has a similar role to what was described to me by Paul Butler of Sky. Butler said that the people working under his supervision become directors of sorts and have to come up with a whole array of things to contribute to how their vision will come to life. Anything that you are uncertain with like typography for example, could get assigned to someone else but its creation would still be influenced by what you have outlined in storyboards etc.

Gilbert said that he chooses and hires the people he needs through contacts that he has built from working within the industry, a benefit of this would be being able to pick people who you know are reliable and have maybe produced good work for you before. This process would be more streamlined because you could be very specific with the people you hire for each job. Working at Sky, with all of these hordes of specialists at your disposal I imagine the expected work turnover is very high. Compared to Gilbert Months of preparation for a single pitch. Sky would have more of an open discussion, more of a team mentality not just one persons vision, even though sometimes it could be; many other hands and eyes would oversee its production.

Gilbert firs job was in-house with a large company like sky, Channel 4 Television. Although nothing has been totally resolved this has given me something’s to think about. If I was to work freelance I would require a lot of discipline and self-motivation to get started and to get a name for myself self amongst the droves of graduates. But like Gilbert I could perhaps work in a place like sky, this would instil a better work ethic and sense of professionalism in me that I gravely need. Plus one would gain benefits of security and a steady income these would all ensure a better start if I chose to become freelance at a later stage. Obviously I would always keep an open mind about this kind of thing, yet all Jobs probably have compromising rigors and confines, and it seems to be obvious that you might have to do something that you had never envisaged to get yourself off the ground.

No comments: