A "catch-up" interview with my old classmate who sometimes used to climb and sleep on the roof of LaSalle-SIA College of the Art school

Ever been tempted into buying a magazine because it looked pretty funky sitting up on the shelf? How about that new CD? You only recognised one of the songs but with such a cool cover, you decided it must be fantastic.

Well folks, companies are on to us. They know that we, the consumer, are more likely to buy their product if it is visually appealing. That’s why they employ the skills of the Graphic Designer.

Considered one of the hottest careers of 2007, a graphic designer is a specialist when it comes to this type of eye candy. Most of the visual communications you see everyday is the handiwork of a graphic designer – the packaging your Clariol hair dye came in, the pile of Marie Claire’s on your bedroom floor, even down to the design on that sexy new T you bought at the K’Rd markets last Friday.

So what is being a graphic designer really like? We caught up with one funky boy who is making his mark in the design world to find out all the gossip and how he got his career started.

Eddie Kang
Art Director

How did you know you wanted to be a graphic designer?
It could have been the years of my family enduring hand-made cards and presents from me. Nothing much has changed! But seriously – I just wanted to get paid for being creative.

What sort of skills do you need to get into the industry?
A creative flair is a must, attention to detail, lateral thinking, and you definitely need a thick skin to be able to take criticism about your work without becoming an insecure emotional wreck!

Where/what did you study?
I studied at LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts, the Diploma of Graphic Design.

Why did you study there?
I knew it was the best course around!

What was the best thing about the course?
You get realistic industry experience - fast! No mucking around for years at uni stacking up debts. I was able to start work straight away – and I actually knew what I was doing. (Being so close to Dunkin Donuts and several drinking establishments was also a bonus).

How did you get your job?
I walked in and told them I was going to camp out in reception until they gave me a job. I started the next day. I am still amazed it actually worked.

What is a typical day at work like for you?
Go to work, take briefs, panic, stress, work frantically, eat, panic some more, stress some more, check out the snack box, work even more frantically, go home, sleep. Repeat.

Do you get any cool perks?
Our company does events so we always get free tickets to them (like Rumba, Fat Freddys Drop, EA Games Final etc), which is fab. Usually t-shirts (if I design them), free CDs, sunglasses, lots of things really. We also do lots of work for several alcohol clients...

What is the best thing about your job?
Probably the satisfaction and thrill of seeing your own work out and about (in shops, on billboards etc) - it never ceases to amaze me. I am sure one day I will be blasé and jaded, but I think when that happens I should change my job.

Have you done any work for any interesting clients?
Farmers clothing and underwear brands (coming up with the names and logos) was probably the most fun (especially getting to art direct the photo shoot and pick the cute guys that were going to be the models). NZ Music Month was pretty cool too. Other jobs that were interesting - a Hallmark card range, All Blacks underwear range,
Villa Maria wine labels, and designs for a friend with a clothing line.

What advice would you give to a budding designer?
Put in the time and effort, suck up all the info and knowledge you can - be a sponge. Have confidence and be bold - life is too short to not be doing what you really want to be doing.

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