When the brief is ‘get a job’, what’s acceptable?

I’m a third-year graphic design student at Northumbria University.

We recently completed a brief entitled ‘Make a Splash’, aimed at helping us to think about what we want to do and how to market ourselves to prospective employers.

I decided to make my brief ‘live’ by targeting a design consultancy I want to work for. My project involved a week-long campaign to try and grab its attention. This involved making a logotype of my name to put on various objects which were planted in its office.

Here’s the breakdown of the campaign:

– Monday: Viv? appeared on the wall outside the company, applied using ‘clean’ graffiti
– Tuesday: A mug with Viv? was planted on the managing director’s desk
– Wednesday: A block of post-its with Viv? was placed on the MD’s desk
– Thursday: The staff there were ‘persuaded’ to wear Viv!-branded badges
– Friday: A company sketch book with information about me, my contact details and images of the campaign were put on the MD’s desk

I was able to receive daily feedback from my ‘mole’ in the company who, by Thursday, told me some staff felt that my campaign was overly aggressive and not the right way for a student to attract attention.

Thankfully, the MD wasn’t one of these, and loved the project and my idea.

With the design sector saturated with new graduates every year and the devaluation of degrees because of the numbers going to university, what is the best way to attract the interest of a company?

Is ‘aggressively’ marketing yourself a step too far? Is the simple CV and portfolio still the best way to show your skills as a designer? When the emphasis is on creative and unique solutions to a brief, is going to the edge a bad thing? Where is the edge?

There’s no doubt my campaign won attention, but was it acceptable, or wise? The thoughts of other readers would be greatly appreciated.

Viv Prior, Student, Northumbria University, by e-mail

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