23 August 2012

Getting a job in Social Media.

Hi everyone!

I know it's been ages since my last post, but I've been super busy at my new job with Glasgow 2014 and with a few other 247 Design side projects!

I've been thinking about what to post recently, and coincidenlty have seen quite a few articles popping up recently to do with getting a job in social media - which is quite apt as I've just started a new job as 'Social Media Assistant' with Glasgow 2014 - and it was quite an unusual recruitment process! (which I'll tell you about now :) )


I was on Twitter one day, and saw a retweeted post from Glasgow 2014, saying they were looking for a new Social Media Assistant with the hashtag #2014lovessocial. I was intrigued so went onto the website to find out more. There I found out that the recruitment process involved tweeting everyday, showing off your creative skills, with a tweet showing the types of ideas you'd have if you had the job - to promote the Glasgow 2014 account.

Thinking caps on! and off we went. I completed the 11 days - you can see my tweets here and was then asked to submit my CV, then had a number of preliminary phone interviews, then the main interview and here I am!

It was definitley a unique way of recruiting, and allowed the candidates real ideas and creative thinking to shine through!

My tweets & ideas!

Here's a wee infographic I quite like too:

Source site

Thanks for reading!

Do you know your twibbons from your twandanas and twadges? (anyone else watch Twenty Twelve?)

Melissa x


2 July 2012

On the road to nowhere....QR codes.

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I started a new job as 'Social Media Assistant' last week with the 2014 Commonwealth Games, so things have been a bit crazy! 

One thing that I've been wanting to post about for a while is QR tags. My pet hate has become randomly placed QR codes that seem to 'go to nowhere'. They don't give the user instructions or guide's as to where they lead when used / what the user can gain from using them, or are just pointless!

In case you haven't heard of QR codes, they stand for 'Quick Response tags'. They are used on product packaging, shop displays, printed and billboard advertisements as well as in emails and on websites. They work by the user scanning the code with their smartphone, and they are then taken to a custom link such as a website. 

More and More I have been seeing them used in silly locations, the best (or worst) example was at the end of a TV advert, when it was on screen for about 2 seconds - even The Flash couldn't have managed to get a shot of that! They seem to be just getting stuck on everything these days as they are popular, everyone thinks they they should be using one too!

Have a wee jive!

I'm going to be creating a round up on this page of bad examples of QR Codes I find in real life, so if you see any remember to take a picture and send it over to me so I can include it!

Thanks for reading,
Melissa x

20 June 2012

Time for a crash course in illustrator!

A few months ago, I decided to teach myself how to use Adobe Illustrator, as it was surprisingly something we were never taught how to use at University. Whenever I had opened the programme in the past, my initial reactions had been 'Jeeesh! How the heck do you use the pen tool?' and what on earth is a 'blob brush?!' 

I was looking for tutorials online to get me started, and stumbled across the 30 Days Illustrator Training Course from Vector Diary. It claims to be a crash course in Illustrator and "one of the best courses for starters and beginners. So don’t miss this chance to learn Illustrator."

After completing the course in a few days, (If you do more than one lesson a day it can be completed a lot quicker than 30 days) I cannot recommend it enough for any beginners out there looking to learn how to use the programme! I went from not having a single clue about the programme, to not only being able to use it, but enjoying it too.

If you have a few spare hours check it out! - Vector Diary - Illustrator Training Course

Below are some examples of work I created in the lessons, and some work that I created myself from my own ideas after completing a few of the lessons and mastering the basic techniques!

Iphone Lesson
Octopus Lesson

Panda - own creation

'Scotland in a Day' - own creation

Download as a vector here - Vecteezy

Buy as prints here - Art Flakes

Series of Scottish animals - own creation

Have you found any great tutorials? let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Melissa x

12 June 2012

Ready, Steady......Draw!

Throughout my time at University, I found that although we worked on a fair amount of creative projects, few of them produced work that was suitable to include in a portfolio. They were either not visual enough or mainly essay based......or just plain cringe-worthy when I look back at them now (some efforts from 1st year are stuffed firmly down the back of my sofa) 

Seeking out a way to build my portfolio, I began to scour the internet looking for design competitions. I quickly caught the bug and to date have entered about 20 (although my friend's will say it's more like 2,000) and have been lucky winning a couple, you can check out some of my entries at the bottom of this post if you fancy. Just to clarify, I'm talking about actual 'competitions', not spec work sites such as 99 Designs - that people enter in their spare time because they want to, not as a way to subsidise their income. 

I've found that, although it's a nice bonus, entering design competitions isn't all about winning. There are loads of benefits, including: 

  • A chance to build your portfolio.
  • Raise awareness of your work & yourself as a designer.
  • Joining in the buzz and excitement as the deadline approaches.
  • A chance to expand your experience in different mediums / technologies.
  • An opportunity to learn a new piece of software (Illustrator etc...)
  • Your work can be spotted by professionals and could lead to further opportunities or even a job!
  • A way to get your creative juices flowing / imagination working which could help benefit other projects you're working on.

If this sounds interesting to you, I've collated a list of some current design competitions, why not have a go at one! (or a few)

MINI space design competition
Closing: Friday, 15 June 2012.

Design a T-Shirt for Ed Sheeran
Closing: Wednesday, 27 June 2012.

Stereohpye Button - Design a badge competition
Closing: Friday, 29 June 2012. 

Beermat character design competition
Closing: Friday, 29 June 2012. 

Eco Bike Design contest
Closing: Friday, 29 June 2012. 

Poster for tomorrow design competition 2012
Closing: Tuesday, 10 July, 2012

Design the 'body' for LimoLand's Mr Limo
Closing: Tuesday, 10 July, 2012

Design an Ipad Sleeve with Papernomad
Closing: Wednesday, 11 July, 2012

Design for Adidas Eyewear
Closing: Tuesday, 31 July, 2012

Hiiibrand Awards 2012 - international awards honouring brand design
Closing: Monday, December 31, 2012

Tshirt Design Competition 
Closing: Ongoing

USA only
Design or Photograph for P!nk
Closing: Monday, 2 July, 2012

Other links for competitions, resources and opportunities: 

Over the years I've entered my fair share of competitions:

Doritos 30 Second Advert Competition.

Rat Entertainment 10 Second animated logo Competition.

design competition entry

design competition entry

design competition entry

design competition entry

design competition entry - Biffy Clyro

design competition entry

design competition entry - Black bottle whisky

design competition entry - Nine West

design competition entry - drop by drop

Good luck if you enter any competitions, let me know if you find any other great ones to enter and I can include them in this list!

Thanks for reading,

Melissa x

8 June 2012

'Scent Marketing'....sniffing out a good idea.

If you have been walking down the high street, or waiting for a bus recently and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge for a bacon roll or a gasping sensation for a cup of coffee, you may have been subject to a new advertising craze - 'Scent Marketing'

The aptly named marketing technique works by allowing Brands to stimulate their potential customers sense of smell to try to lure them into their venue and tempt them to make a purchase. 

Although this may seem like a new-fangled technique, it's actually been around for years, in a more rudimentary form. For years, estate agents have warmed up fresh bread in the oven to create a homely atmosphere, and boutique owners have perfumed the air with flowery (expensive) welcoming scents.

'Mood Media', a company which provide 'smell stimulation' as one of their marketing services has this to say: "The feelings of well being and harmony that are generated from the fragrances we encounter make us react without thinking, subtly altering our perception of time, and majorly influence our experience"."

Some well known companies have been using 'Scent Marketing' as part of their major marketing campaigns, to great success. 

Greggs 'Taste Rescue'
Greggs - Scent Marketing campaign
Greggs serves up £1 million campaign including 'smelly bus stops' to promote breakfast and coffee. The bus stops radiate the scent of coffee + freshly cooked bacon.

McCain 'New - Oven baked potato in 5 minutes'
McCain - New oven baked potato - Scent Marketing campaign
Potato maker McCain has unveiled its latest advert and is set to make commuters' mouths water with its 'scratch and sniff' concept - where the ads literally smell like freshly baked potatoes.

California Milk Processor Board - 'Got milk?'

Got Milk - scent marketing
In 2006, California's Milk Processor Board launched a series of "Got Milk?" billboards in San Francisco's bus shelters. The ads were typical except for their scent -- the sweet smell of chocolate chip cookies.

Wagg - 'Not to be sniffed at'

Wagg - not to be sniffed at - scent marketing campaign

In a bid to get pooches’ tails wagging, North Yorkshire-based Wagg Foods has developed the first dog food advert that smells of its product’s meaty goodness.

Instead of just food companies using this new marketing technique, I think there are some great opportunities available for other brands. 

Holiday companies could use advertisements that give off the smell of sun tan lotion / coconuts as I know myself whenever I smell anything like that, it always makes me think about setting off! 

Also, maybe the most obvious one, but perfume / aftershave companies could have adverts that smell of the actual product they are trying to sell. Surely if someone can smell what's in the bottle, It's more likely to catch their attention and they are more likely to buy it...

I think if done correctly, 'Scent marketing' can be part of a successful campaign, and if it doesn't directly result in sales, it will at least generate a heck of a lot of PR coverage. 

Have you sniffed out any great 'Scent marketing' campaigns? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Melissa x

30 May 2012

Workin' 9 till 5...before the interview?

As part of a recent job application for a role as a 'Tourism Marketing Officer' I had to create a  7-8 minute presentation, to show at my interview.

The focus of the presentation was to answer the question 'How would you market Carrick's most attractive tourism facilities to a domestic tourism audience?' 

Needless to say, my first reaction was to Google where this 'Carrick' place was! I had 4 days to work on the presentation, so most of my weekend was spent working on it. I found myself falling back into patterns learned at University, which certainly helped in laying out the order of the presentation. First of all I conducted research about the domestic tourism market in Scotland, other popular places to visit in Scotland the area of 'Carrick' and its facilities. I then devised a marketing campaign named 'Carrick Rocks' and designed it's logo, based on the Gaelic word traditionally used to name the landscape based on its rocky terrain. I then outlined which digital platforms would be used, with a focus on new and emerging social media technologies in order to attract a younger audience. Although in the end I didn't get the job, the feedback from the employer on my presentation was excellent, and it allowed to me to discover some exciting new technologies which will be useful in future projects. 

I think it's a good idea for employees to set their candidates a small task before interview, as from how much effort they put into the task, the employer can gauge how enthusiastic they are about the role. It also helps to highlight their talents when sometimes a piece of paper headed CV and questions like 'How would your friends describe you?' don't really let the candidates true potential shine through. 

Here are the slides from my presentation (uploading the presentation to Slideshare has made the kerning / font go a bit crazy, apologies!)

What do you think, should you have to do a lot of work when you don't even have the job yet?
Have you ever had to prepare a presentation for an interview?

Let me know, Thanks for reading!
Melissa x

22 May 2012

Hey! teacher, Give that grad a job...

Writing this post has been a bit of a blast from the past! 

For a couple of months last year I was unemployed, having just finished my 3 month internship at the Scottish Youth Theatre, and graduating just before that. I found it really hard to even find any design jobs, that didn't state you needed at least 5 years experience and have mad skillz of every type of website coding - not what I was looking for at all!

Anyways, during one of my many job searches on the computer, I stumbled across a blog about graduate employment written on the 49th Floor, and it really struck a chord with me, so I emailed them just to tell them that, and ended up being invited to write a guest blog for the site! I decided to write about my experience of being a graduate, how University's really need to step it up a notch in terms of preparing graduates for the big bad world, and some tips on what finally helped me get a job.

Cast your minds back, to October 2011...(do do do do do chimey noise)

Envy, Design graduate illustration

"Hi, my names Melissa Reilly. I’ve just graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a 1st Class Honors Degree in Applied Graphics Technology. So the next step is to get a job, which should be the easy bit, right?
So far this doesn’t seem to be the case. Despite working hard all year on group projects, industrial briefs, dissertations, it seems our lecturers forgot to tell us that all of that work, although it is very important to do well in, is not the ‘be all and end all’ when it comes to impressing potential employers. I am currently applying for numerous jobs, pretty much anything with ‘graphic, design, or creative’ in the title, and so far haven’t had much luck in even securing an interview (some don’t even bother to reply) This is apparently due to the fact that I don’t have enough experience within design agencies/commercial environments – and it’s true, I’ve never worked or set foot within a design agency during my 4 years at University, something which I’m kicking myself over now!
I have however tried to redeem myself for this by starting my own graphic and website design business during my 3rd year at University, called ‘247 Design’. Juggling client projects with coursework was difficult at the time, but it has been invaluable to me in building my portfolio, meeting contacts and in challenging myself to learn new software and technologies (teaching myself how to make a JavaScript gallery certainly took a few strong coffees!) 

Although I do love working for myself, the prospect of constantly working from my room with only my laptop and Photoshop to keep me company doesn’t fill me with the greatest amount of excitement. I want to be a part of the Design Industry, meet people, go exciting places and maybe attend the odd office party. So therefore my quest to find a job shall continue, while still working on projects for ‘247 Design’, and you never know, in the future it may be the 247 Design office party people are getting ready for (I wish!)
From my experiences of 4 years at University, starting my own business and beginning the hunt for a job I’ve come up with a few hints/tips or whatever you might call them that have been useful to me!
  • During the long summer break from University, try and fill it with something useful such as getting an internship or placement within a Design Agency. This will greatly add to your experience, and may even lead to a job when you graduate!
  • From my experience, most of my clients come to me from ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. So you have to do as much as you can to make sure people talk about you, in a good way of course. Get your own website to show off your portfolio and make it easy for people to contact you. Definitely have a Facebook group that you can update easily and regularly with new projects, work and more informal updates.
  • Don’t forget the traditional business card! Lots of people like to have a tangible way to contact you. As you never know who you’re going to meet, always keep some on you, as it will be very frustrating to miss out on a potential client if you’ve forgot your card!
  • Join Design Networks – such as Deviant art to meet like minded people and share your work.
  • Enter Design competitions, two of my favourite websites for finding them are talenthouse.com and student-designers.com. They are a great way to build your portfolio and winning isn’t too bad either! Displaying your entries to competitions on your Facebook group is also a great way to show off your skills and extra work!
  • Read emails from lecturers – sometimes they contain little gems of information! One I recently read (that most of the people in my class didn’t bother to) led to me winning a Black Bottle Whisky T-Shirt Design competition, getting a nice little cheque, exposure on the University homepage and a story in my local newspaper! – all extremely useful in building your reputation as a designer.
  • Check out gumtree.com for people looking for design work. This may be in the form of voluntary work, so don’t be too proud to do this as you never know what opportunities or contacts it may lead you too! From working voluntarily on a Charity website I was able to meet many contacts, and if you do a good job the clients are likely to recommend you in the future"

Since writing that blog post, I have started working as a Marketing and Media Graduate, through the Graduate Jobs Programme, with Routes to Work South. I've also picked up a couple more tips:

  • Set up a Linkedin profile, and actually populate it will information from your CV, there's no point setting one up if it doesn't tell a potential employer (who will probably try to look you up online) anything. Use the 'Behance' app to link in your creative work, and the 'blogger' app to link in your blog posts.
  • Watch as many 'Webinars' as possible, they are a great source of information, and 99% of the time are free! One of my favourites from the past few months is this one by Mari Smith and Guy Kawaski -  http://www.marismith.com/7smtrends/
  • Start a blog, It's a great way to get noticed and gets the old cogs turning! Use whatever works for you. Create more of a visual moodboard on tumblr, or write actual blog posts using blogger.
  • If you get the chance, attend as many networking events as possible. There are some great industry specific ones happening all the time. Check out  New Media Breakfast ,  Communications Breakfast ,  Be Good Be Social - be warned, a lot of them involve getting up realllyyyy early. (but you usually get bacon rolls, so I'm not complaining) 
  • Apply for your ILA - its £200 towards a course, which can help you brush up your skills or learn something a little bit new. I just completed a 'Get into Marketing' course with the Pitman Training Centre in Glasgow.  BE QUICK THOUGH, as of the 1st of July if you have a degree you aren't eligible to apply!  do it, do it now

Hope something in there was of use to any recent graduates, or anyone graduating this year! Good luck! :) 

Oh, Here's a a link to the original blog post on 49th Floor - http://www.49thfloor.co.uk/component/k2/item/51-young-design-talent.html

Thanks for reading!

Melissa x

17 May 2012

What a cork up!

The apprentice, marketing episode

Anyone who watched episode 9 of The Apprentice last night, will probably feel in need of a stiff drink this morning. The candidates had the task of devising a strategy and producing a digital campaign to raise awareness of English Sparkling Wine. (Hopefully, Silver Bay isn't anything to go by...)

The result from both teams was nothing less than cringe-worthy, with both of them completely missing the mark in the video advert. One was duller than a wine cellar in the middle of winter (liking the references?) , and the other was reminiscent of a 'Carry On' film. 

There were some positive aspects from both teams. Gabriella's logo of a rose in the shape of a wine glass was clever, and I liked the idea of creating a forum for wine drinkers, included as a social media icon along with the usual suspects (Facebook, Twitter etc...)

I can't help but think that the candidates missed the boat a little, with the raft of potential ideas they could have used to help raise awareness of the wine, especially as all things British are very trendy right now. For example, the Queen's Jubilee, the William and Kate frenzy,  'Keep Calm...', the crown icon, red white and blue everywhere, and I can't go into a shop without noticing a plethora of products with union jacks emblazoned across them. 

Instead of shouting at the telly, I decided to jot down some of my ideas for the task. The main aim of the task should have been to make the general public realise that England produces fizzy wine, make them talk about it and intrigue them to try it.

Here are some of my ideas:
  • Play on the theme of things that are usually associated with being made in England (Marmite, Hovis etc...) displaying a selection of them throughout the advert, with short clips of them being made, as well as a clip of vineyards + sparking wine,  then a sort of 'Which one do you think is the odd one out?' visit _______ to guess + find out! This will lead to a microsite where they will find out that in fact there is no 'odd one out', they are all made in England! ( with a link for the user to then post on their facebook/twitter...'I guessed, Can you?...' with links to the wines website / social media channels)
  • A campaign which encourages consumers to create cocktails with the sparkling wine. Recipes can be provided with suitably British names such as 'The Duchess', which sounds quite refreshing if I say so myself! Although it isn't quite cocktails, this method of using the product seems to have worked very well for jaagermeister - a particularly rancid drink on it's own, which is now extremely popular due to the infamous 'jaager bomb'
  • Twitter campaign - tweet us your pictures of what it means to you to be English (win a case of fizzy english wine yay!)
  • 'Host your dinner party' competition - campaign to get people to tell us who their top 5 dinner party guests would be and why (alive or dead) and win a dinner party package, - English fizzy wine, chef for the night etc. 
  • Advertisements before and during the ad breaks of 'Come dine with me', 'Loose Women' and other daytime programmes aimed at the target market.
  • Jump on the discount offer bandwagon that has exploded over the past couple of months! Host a Groupon offer for a 'Wine tasting Experience' to visit an English Vineyard.
  • Perhaps a high expectation, but some sort of endorsement from William and Kate (who women are going mad to emulate recently!) Imagine the product placement in a nice double spread in OK Magazine or Tatler of the couple sipping on some English fizzy wine, celebrating their first anniversary! 
William and Kate, wedding

Thanks for reading, bottoms up!

Melissa x

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