No More Retro: This is Implanted Nostalgia


The cult renaissance in 1990s style visuals / fashion has less to do with ironic retro references and much more to do with the hyper-stimulated tumblr generation and the endlessly scrolling web page. This fresh generation of creative curators are finding inspiration in a decade that saw the end of a human paced era and the beginning of a digitally leaping one.
Justin Solitrin
Retro culture as we knew it is over. Our western cultural past is no longer mainly served with retro irony by those too late or too young to join the party, nor by pompous posturing by those that were there first time around.
“Technology has been moving forward faster than we are able to digest, figure out, interpret and make use of. We are perpetually trying to catch up. I think the 90's mark the start of this or, at least, the end of what was before”
Baz &Chaz, Peckham Hotel
So says Justin Solitrin before continuing... 
“Maybe it's a grasping nostalgia trying to refer to a slightly slower time - the tombstones for a human-paced world,” he adds. “As far as I’m concerned it is not about retro at all, but more about creating something quite radical - and simple at the same time."
In the UK, curators Baz And Chaz lead the pack with exhibitions that are 'inspired by low-culture and the throwaway aspects of modern life'.  The duo bring together international artists and illustrators within an as yet unnamed movement. 
In the USA, Joel Evey, print director of Urban Outfitters is bringing the tumblr generation's thinking to retail, whilst in Canada tumblr bloggers and artists/fashion curators like Common Chant and Yard666Sale set the pace.
Common Chant, is run by a curator and artist by the name of Julie Eckert. She sees no distinction between her own personal memory and a virtual cultural memory she can tap into every day on the web. It’s an outlook that is echoed throughout her generation.
The Common Chant
“Being born in 1987, the visual aspects of the 90's and my ideas of art and design are interwoven. Often, I experience feigned/implanted nostalgia, which is definitely informed by the amount of imagery I absorb online daily. 
It seems to be a common strand throughout the net-art community. I don't find my self deliberately trying to    draw from the decade.” Julia explains. 
Jeff & Paul
New York based Jeff & Paul  work with clients including The Art Directors Club and Google. They explain the seepage of these 90s references into the mainstream: “Nineties design, (mis)use of interface elements and references to the early web feel like very deliberate choices to evoke nostalgia for that era. The web was weird and mysterious in the beginning - playing with the visual language of the early web brings back that feeling.”
Department International
The self-styled 'transatlantic design studio' Department International, run by the duo ‘Brian & Bobby’, works in print and identity design and has developed an aesthetic that is rooted in  Brian says: “There is definitely a naïveté to the 90’s that is very appealing to me - the idea of actively treading new ground without care if something is good or not… rejecting taste and doing something unconventional".

Baz And Chaz uphold the role of aesthetics. As Baz explains; “I grew up in the 90's. Early-internet aesthetics are important to me. I like the primitivism of it. I think there's too much [poor quality] digital design nowadays. So to look back at early digital aesthetics - the really lo-fi, primitive stuff - is a way of highlighting that.”
Urban Outfitters, Joel Evey

Joel Evey, Print Art Director for US retail chain Urban Outfitters coined the phrase ‘the tumblr generation’ when trying to talk at internal level about the company’s target market. 
He believes that it is crucial for mainstream creative companies like his to look to avant-garde visual culture and graphics.  he states Other retailers might not think this smaller segment of the market is worth going after, but I contend that it is, because they are the ones that are starting to influence taste.”                                                                                                                                                          
New York-based Body by Body are the prolific artists Melissa Sachs and Cameron Sorenwho have been producing T-shirts and artwork for a couple of years.
Their Lookbook created back in 2010  still seems fresh, incandescent, gleefully making use of seemingly disparate corporate logos like PayPal.
Body by Body
“There is definitely a lot of [pre- and early Internet] aesthetics prevalent on sites like tumblr, but there are also those who play with those aesthetics outside of the Internet realm or with aesthetics from two weeks ago, which is why we don't necessarily segregate them from each other" explains Sachs, “In a way it is more about the infinite sharing of imagery that has an overwhelming influence on our aesthetic output.”
Body by Body recently held an exhibition in March 2012 with longterm collaborators   Deke2 and (Parker Ito)grandly entitled  Anime Bettie Page Fucked By A Steampunk Warrior, which included a collection of video pieces that push the boundaries still further...

GreekNew Media Shit
Sterling Crispin

Sterling Crispin  is another agitator, currently studying for an MFA in Digital Media at The University of California. 
Crispin is Well known for his excellent comical stab at noting a movement underway back in April 2011, Crispin set up the site Greek New Media Shit to uncover the seemingly generic plastering of digital self referencial works. He's also a committed artist and when asked about how he sees the world, Crispin responds...“I think its much more radical to be in the world today with sincerity and optimism, rather than irony, sarcasm and cynicism. We all share the same Internet, which levels the playing field of distribution, allowing for ancient masterpieces to be viewed along side smiley-faced alien gifs, in a constant stream of tumblr posts and status updates.” 

Where is it all going? Common Chant sums it up... “The Internet is a giant echo chamber.   I feel in many ways Internet culture is moving away from the stringency of trends and towards a great omnium-gatherum of ideas.” 

Radical and simple at the same time, this is digital born of digital. 

The Distorted Truth In Glitch

The Distorted Truth In Glitch
Random, Chaotic, Unexpected and Unpredictable -  Not Just '®adical'

Glitch is honest. It's raw. It's the visual shorthand for the digital underground. Menacing, uncomfortable and oddly macho-geek, It's also beautifully inconsistent and a perfect foil for streamlined digital media culture. Fashion re-appropriates, design manipulates and art creates. This is all part of the constant remixing of culture, perfect for the feedback loop of glitch. Is glitch the last true art form or is it just a ghost in the machine? Perhaps our future depends on the kind of thinking being applied to the recycling of digital material and perhaps those working with the idea of disruption will balance an increasingly owned digital landscape. It's happening in reality...

'Forms of graphic 'distortion' are now common to the internet, perhaps complementary to the almost bathroom-like sterility of web standards, or to demonstrate the infinite shaping and reshaping of memes and visuals as part of an evolutionary process authored by everyone and no one.' Metahaven

The Dirty New Media

“There are those who would say that glitch art is a form of resistance, not just a representation,”  explains Jon Cates, New Media professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago is a centre of glitch momentum in the US, if not the world and Cates is at the vanguard of it's discovery. “Jason Scott, historian and archivist for, has called our Chicago-based community the 'birthplace of dirty new media' and Rosa Menkman has written that we foreground glitch art in a way which has become a 'pivotal axis' of the international glitch scene” explains Cates.
YouGlitch Logo
One way on engaging a global audience has been the recent birth of Uglitch an upload site based on the YouTube model. Site founder Benjamin Gaulon aka Recyclism explains the site's reference to YouTube and its users by saying  “We are building a database of glitch GIFs that can then be used for new work by us and others, we are starting to see similar types of uploads [to YouTube] with  short edited film clips and the like to create glitches”.

YouGlitch Logo
'Having networks that facilitate the sharing and creation of images (Tumblr,, and Google+) allow communities to form and build memetic value in a hyper-connected fashion. Information splicing with information.' Travis Stearns 

The GIF file format has been around since the birth of the internet and is a natural means for carrying visual glitches. Designer Travis Stearns explains the attraction: “their aesthetic is something digital natives are quite familiar with, but as an accessible art and communication medium they haven't been given much attention until this current point where democratisation of the tools for creating animations are universal and available to everyone. Having networks that facilitate the sharing and creation of images (Tumblr,, and Google+) allow communities to form and build memetic value in a hyper-connected fashion. Information splicing with information.”

Style V Substance
'Many artists do see glitch as a tool for critiquing popular culture, but many see it simply as a nostalgic--8bit generation--aesthetic, others as digital psychedelia, others as a lens through which to dissect language + linguistics, and others yet, as a purely structuralist/materialist practice.' Nick Briz

“Over the past couple of years the visual glitch has become commodified. It's now just another filter in the designer's arsenal, at least as far as the gliche (glitch cliche) is concerned.” notes Ant Scott one of the first glitch VJ's now staunch artist under the name Beflix. The Glitch community is as fractured and distorted as the work it produces. GLI.TC/H the annual global new media festival that brings everything together. Nick Briz co-founder and co-organiser of the festival explains the diversity of the scene and the balance between commercial and 'punk ethos as“[It's] evident from all the debates that glitch.errz partake in glitch art for very different reasons. We had plenty of 'punks' present but we also had designers who work at ad agencies.”
Beflix GL:QU

So what of the commercialisation of the genre? According to Briz this can be split up into two different concepts. One is the commodification of genre, the other is it's commercialisation. 

"Many glitch artists believe that glitch art can not become a genre, it defies codification in it's form" explains Briz, "That to combine the two words (glitch + art) and to imply that it's a genre or category is to undermine glitch's potential. They believe glitch is at it's best when it is random, chaotic, unexpected and unpredictable. While I appreciate this position and support the sentiment I do think it's a bit problematic and ultimately not true... of course glitch art is a genre, still it's important to address that such a debate is being had. 

' I got pretty upset when Kanye West released his video "Welcome To Heartbreak" almost exactly three years ago. I thought it was the end of glitch art' Nick Briz

Next is it's commercialisation. I'm not a big fan of this word, it simplifies a complicated process with inescapably negative connotations.  Rather, I think popularisation is a better term, it's a slightly more complex perspective. I got pretty upset when Kanye West released his video "Welcome To Heartbreak" almost exactly three years ago. I thought it was the end of glitch art. I had been making this kind of work for a few years, it was a complicated process and one I felt could only be executed with careful consideration of the material. I thought his video would be the end of such a process and the beginning of a commercialized gimmick. And in some ways it was, datamoshing (the technique he "popularized" but by no means invented) got really "hot", and hundreds of shit videos got uploaded to youtube in its wake. At the same time it transformed a community of maybe a few dozen artists (that I knew of at least) into a few hundred artists."

It's not just Kayne West that's tipping the scale, more recently CK One wanted to shock and sniffed out glitch to add some credibility to their campaign...

Music and entertainment need not be pimped and perfumed. Andrew Benson teaches at the Design and Technology department at San Francisco Art Institute and works for a number of musicians including the masterfully awkward Aphex Twin.
Following a more mainstream alternative, a well travelled field of light artists working with musicians, Benson explains the glitch scene in San Francisco as “The bay area has a really rich history of experimental non-narrative cinema. I  hate to say it but I also think the popularity of dubstep has been really good for introducing kids to weird sounds, glitchy artefacts and getting them engaged.”  Benson is at the top of his field, innovating live performance whilst handling engagement with a wider audience, manipulating and creating aesthetic.
Melvin Galapon

The graphic design community manipulates the aesthetics of glitch, harking back to halcyon days Melvin Galapon is a UK-based designer who works on both commercial and artistic projects using glitch and dot matrix as an aesthetic basis for his work. He suggests “there is a kind of movement where using glitches and dot matrix is retro-cool as the generation of people currently creating work come from an era where this was part and parcel of the technology we are all a part of"

We're comfortable looking at screens and connecting to networks that show nothing but beauty and an obsession with perfectionism. To this end, distortion is closer to the reality of our fractured, temporal information society.' Travis Stearns

Travis Stearn
Explaining the relationship that designers have with glitch Travis Stearns explains "I relate distortion in the current context of the internet to punk communication art, particularly xerox flyers and zines. HD screens are hanging everywhere now. The new objects of desire, our smart phones and iPads, favor minimalism and vast white space. We're comfortable looking at screens and connecting to networks that show nothing but beauty and an obsession with perfectionism. To this end, distortion is closer to the reality of our fractured, temporal information society."

The Accidental Anarchists
The design team at Bloomberg Businessweek have shown a passion for observing the glitch, error and disruption of graphics by recently publishing their printer errors, entitled Printer Tragedies as a batch of artwork on Flickr. This light hearted look at digital errors reveals a deeper attraction for 'wrong' graphics.
Printer Tragedies from the  Bloomberg Businessweek printer
Jennifer Daniel, designer for BBW explains “I guess what I'm attracted to is how these visual interruptions create spatial correlations that have always existed but no one else saw. Being able to find something that no one else has articulated is what so many creative consciously try to do. And it turns out you don't even need to have a conscious to do it.”

Eco and media conscious advertising campaigns have also adapted the 'warts and all' transparency of glitch. AnitaFontaine, digital artist and Art Director of Champagne Valentine explains her work for fashion brand Edun: “We were inspired by the raw textures from the collection and we wanted to make a digital experience that felt more organic than digital. We love the effect of being able to scratch away the truth behind the lies, or vice versa, and literally being able to do that as means of moving through the experience.”

Speaking of the relevance to glitch and branding, Fontaine suggests “glitch and disturbance makes a work or experience seem imperfect and therefore more real. It's important that we mix the real and the virtual, blurring the boundaries - it's what people are used to now in these new hybrid realities we immerse ourselves in everyday.”

WikiLeaks scarf
Design by Metahaven; Photo by Meinke Klein
WikiLeaks scarf
Design by Metahaven; Photo by Meinke Klein
Transparency also has a political connotation and the self appointed bastion for this is the notorious Wikileaks organisation. Dutch design company Metahaven took on the job of fund raising for the organisation and produced a number of products including a scarf, complete with distorted Louis Vuitton graphics as well as mugs and T-Shirts. The work was recently featured in an exhibition at the Museum of The Image (formerly The Graphic Design Museum) in Breda, Netherlands.

Metahaven explain the link between graphic distortion and the Internet are linked by saying “forms of graphic 'distortion' are now common to the Internet, perhaps complementary to the almost bathroom-like sterility of web standards. or to simply demonstrate the infinite shaping and reshaping of memes and visuals as part of an evolutionary process authored by everyone and no one.”
'...A whole new approach that combines today’s possibilities in technology, (neo)craft, social media and advertising to create a new world image' Dennis Elbers.
Dennis Elbers, curator at the Museum Of The Image explains the relevance of this “Designers have the ability to make this world transparent. This is what we need opposed to hierarchy. And I'm not just talking about 'green annual reports' but a whole new approach that combines today’s possibilities in technology, (neo)craft, social media and advertising to create a new world image."

As for far reaching impact of glitch beyond graphics, Benjamin Gaulon aka Recyclism, has this to say: “current technological design strategies, based on the notion of disposable devices and planned obsolescence, need to be challenged in order to find more sustainable models. By exploring other routes such as hardware hacking and recycling strategies of obsolete technology I believe we can to develop new sustainable models.” 

Glitch is not disposable, it is the error of our digital ways if we think it is. 

Print That Won't Dye

Why is screen printing, silkscreening and letterpress so popular?
What is it about print? Surely we should all be living in a Blade Runner world by now yet the only blades I see are squeegees.
Poster for Bloomington Print Collective by Izzy Jarvis,2011

Socially Attractive and Personality Driven. The craft movement has been gaining  popularity for past few years through the combination of social media and digital cottage industries as well as social scene craft nights and shared studio spaces dedicated to print. The fine art / design / illustration crossover has blossomed within university courses that allow for hybrid courses and the extension into print studio / gallery / art spaces. Design, illustration and print has been brought further into the fold of commercial art leading to the cult of the graphic design celebrity or 'one man brand'. 
The Economy Fad:  Desire for Individuality. Part of the craft explosion, ad agencies adopt a printed or childlike aesthetic which is shorthand for 'We're one of you. We're quirky enough to hire artists, also, please note we are sensible with cash' :The more fingerprints on the page the more friendly the brand. 
Also we're all obsessed with nostalgia, anything that involves graft, recycling, digging your own potatoes whilst wearing a tin helmet wins.
I suspect however that screen printing is popular because it's lots and lots of fun.
I asked a few print agitators what they thought...

Print Club London
'Expose your work to a world outside of the creative sector, It's really key in expanding what we all do." Kate Newbold, Director Print Club London.'
"When we founded Print Club London 5 years ago there were no other silk screen printing studios like ours, most people used college facilities or small beds in their houses, all very low-fi. But we thought that with the growing interest in the craft movement people would want/need space to print their own work and indeed they did. What emerged was the HUGE number of people wanting to learn silk screen printing. That the courses we run are hugely popular is testament not only to the popularity of silk screen printing as a product to be sold, but also that it is a process that is continuing to grow. I always imagined at some point we would stop selling workshops and the craze would die down but it hasn't. We also have a gallery on brick lane and such as been the demand for bigger facilities at PCL that we have now opened up a newly built unit in our warehouse for desk designers called Millers Junction. We see young graduates thinking about design as a business. Be good at design but also be better at selling your own brand and marketing yourself. Expose your work to a world outside of the creative sector which is really key in expanding what we all do."
'I think the overall outcome from the current wave of 'graphic design celebrities' is ultimately a positive one" Caspar Williamson, author of  Reinventing Screenprinting' 
"It is easier to sell artwork if it is marketed. I think a lot of people have seen the way artists such as Banksy have skyrocketed-- £50 screeenprints suddenly appearing for £10,000 in auction and the buzz that is created around artists and designers that become the 'it girls/boys' of the art world. Lots of auction houses, art fairs and art agents have seen this happen and are on the hunt for 'the next big thing' constantly. However I think the overall outcome from the current wave of 'graphic design celebrities' is ultimately a positive one, as it pushes people to be come up with continually more creative and original work if you don't want to simply be written of as a rip-off or copy-cat."
Dan Mather
'Experimentation is vital to the development of a solid portfolio, understanding and confidence in the process of silkscreen.'
"Developing my practice of the screen print process is not an individual accomplishment. Working in a shared studio not only offers a insight into the approaches of other printers but offers a chance of learning, critiquing, support and encouragement (and jealousy). When printing in a shared studio, for me, there is a noticeable difference between those who are designers printing for themselves and those more on the side of commercial printing. Experimentation is vital to the development of a solid portfolio, understanding and confidence in the the process of silkscreen. A sense of ownership is a part of a design and print occupation."
Dan Mather, still from film 2012
'Brands disappear overnight, record labels shut down as quickly as they start up, pop up shops and exhibitions are more popular than starting up a gallery long-term and working at a reputation because so many of these things are too inaccessible'
"With the prominence of social networking and the constant sharing of work and ideas which are then blogged and tweeted about, even the tiniest letterpress or screen printing studio in the middle of nowhere can now receive an extraordinary amount of attention in comparison to previous generations. I guess it's also fuelled by the state of the economy - as things get worse, people return to DIY and there's definitely been a zine revival... but also, small, independent businesses don't need to go to a big printer for a big order of merchandise. There are many T-shirt or record labels that put out 3 items and then merge or disappear into the unknown. I suppose the 'pop up' trend may just be a symptom of the general lack of permanence across the board."
Jennifer Mehigan,illustration and Found Images,2011

Brands disappear overnight, record labels shut down as quickly as they start up, pop up shops and exhibitions are more popular than starting up a gallery long-term and working at a reputation because so many of these things are too inaccessible. Ideas and brands don't plan for a legacy as much, I guess, and I think this is also largely related to the social media idea. The whole formal system idea to being an artist or a designer is changing, we are cutting a lot of the middle men cut out and I'm a fan.
'There is a huge opportunity for handmade products to include these [digital] interactions' Co-owner, Ink Meets Paper, Daniel Nadeau
"I think consumers are getting more and more comfortable with digital interactions. There is a huge opportunity for handmade products to include these interactions, but the challenge is to use technology in a way that authentically complements their handcrafted nature. Developers spend all of their time shaping and crafting code, just as a woodworker spends all his time shaping and crafting wood. I think we are just now becoming comfortable enough with technology in our daily lives to start exploring the dialog that exists between the physical and digital."
Ink Meets paper, QR Business Card, 2011
Once people are comfortable with that dialog, really cool opportunities arise. We are already working on geo-location features to point the viewer towards the nearest retailer, as well as sharing details of the card easily through social networks. I've been asked several times if we'll always use QR codes for our card backs. I always joke with Allison that in 5 years we're going to have to learn how to incorporate microchips into the paper. Technology moves fast, but it's constantly giving us more ways to authenticate the products we create. It can be overwhelming though, considering all of the nuances of these interactions. Sometimes it would be nice to just print cards, but when you see that dialog click and watch the viewer take that step to learn more about what they bought or received, it's all worth it.
'Consumers have lost faith I guess and the hand rendered / craft approach emotes nostalgia'
Kate Gibb, Hand 5, 2011
"I do feel that part of the success of the hand rendered approach also has to do with our current and past financial climate of the last few years.  Not just an aesthetic change in culture and creative trends. Consumers have lost faith I guess and the hand rendered / craft approach emotes nostalgia, feels familiar and subtly instils a kind of trust from a product."
'Letterpress and other traditional printing techniques are manual processes that perfectly coexist with digital graphic design' Christian Majonek 
Gebirge, Christian Majonek

"I began my graphic design studies at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig, in October
of 2009. This school is one of only a handful of schools in Germany where you can find
traditional studios for manual typesetting, wood cutting, screen printing, lithography, etc.
The school offers classes where students are able to study these old traditions, their origin and history. This is not only extremely interesting but also helped me find my
own personal art. Letterpress and other traditional printing techniques are manual
processes that perfectly coexist with digital graphic design. In my opinion, the two can
also inspire and profit from one another." 
Carey Ellis
'The smaller, more individual designers are keeping the traditions alive'
"Fashion, like any other art from will move with the times and reflect new technologies including the rise in digital print. Traditional screen printing goes hand in hand with fashion, and anyone involved with the industry will instantly see the unique craftsmanship that goes with screen printing that cannot be fulfilled by digital. I work with both techniques, but have more of an attachment to my work that i produce using screens because of the handmade element.
Carey Ellis, Sway, BA Textile Design Degree Show 2011
I think many designers today use digital print as it is great for mass production, but the smaller more individual designers are keeping the traditions alive and ensuring that screen printing is still fashionable. With the economic climate, the fashion conscious will be buying less and instead getting more one off special timeless pieces, which will help those designers who screen print as the item will be not only more unique, it will be special."
Trillusion - Final Major Project from Carey Ellis on Vimeo.

Is this a fair summary?
What do you think the current excitement over print is down to?

Another Brick In The Wall & The Guide To Common Courtesy

The ongoing saga of job seeking & intern hardship in the UK...

Yesterday morning I woke up to this. If it was enough to make Miss Trustram boil over then it was worth a read.
So I had a look and I wrote this...
Then later on, in an unrelated exchange, I read this. Not entirely the same starting line but for the sake of debate we've got a situation
Graduates feel like they are being taken advantage of
Design studios feel besieged by inappropriate advances

If you haven't read the @anothergraduate blog yet then go read it quickly now then come back, It's only been up for about a week, won't take long: READ ME

If it's one thing, it's honest. It could be the design intern equivalent  Secret Diary of a Call Girl with a bit of work, obviously less sex... I'm getting off the point, this is serious stuff.

The bit that stuck with @leblond and I was the bit about the tea, I don't make tea..." (@anothergraduate thinks it's demeaning). Ouch. If we all stopped making tea the world would grind to a halt. We could stop there and write @anothergraduate off but let's give them a chance. I emailed them.

"I really don't want you to think I'm some self-important arrogant graduate who thinks they are entitled to a job" explains @anothergraduate "[ As an intern] you're good enough to do the work but you're not good enough to get paid for it - it's undignified labour and I understand we have to do it but due to my financial circumstances I am aware that I will have to give this up soon"

Do I hear cries of Boo-Hoo from some of the longer toothed members? I asked @anothergraduate if they thought it was political and blamed my generation (35+) for the current economic situation. Turns out it's nothing to do with the economy...

We have a Catch 22
"Is it the current situation? or is it because people offer themselves for free design agencies take advantage" questions @anothergraduate. "They can afford to pay; they just don't. Why pay for a junior designer when interns are cheaper and you can get rid of them when you need to."

@anothergraduate I'd say, first part, absolutely correct. A Catch 22. Your peers put themselves up for free, you've got competition to get paid. We've all done a freebie, the people at the top probably did it too. They don't want to change the system because they think 'well it worked for me, why is X complaining"  Like hacking at NOTW it's a cultural thing. But it doesn't mean it's right. It serves a purpose but working for absolutely no cash is not fun.

Anyone in the world who hasn't seen this graph yet... It answers a few questions
I asked @anothergraduate what the worst character traits of design studios in dealing with graduates were... "I hate it when they don't get back to you, regardless of how many phone calls and emails. It's especially rude after they have interviewed you - they decide you're not good enough for them and forget all about you." Fair point. Let's see things from the other side. let's assume it's the initial contact that's the problem here for a moment...

Tomi Vollauschek, FL@33 On advice for Students & Graduates On How to Approach Seeking Work...

After our Twitter exchange I asked the formidable Tomi Vollauschek, Co-Founder of Stererohype and FL@33 for his opinion of what students and graduates should and shouldn't do when approaching a studio for work. This is what he said...

Please do your research: consider your interests/fascinations/strengths (and weaknesses) and prepare a shortlist of your favourite studios accordingly 

Write a personal email (addressing the right person, giving tailor-made reasons for your choice and what you can bring to the studio)  #sayingireallylikelondondoesnothelp

Consider the possibility that you are probably not god-sent and that many many many others are also sending applications—that should help finding the right tone of voice. #arrogancedoesnothelp

DON'T: Write generic email applications and cc your vast list of studio's email addresses... #bad #veryverybad

If you don't start your application by greeting a specific contact or at the very least mention the studio name you obviously didn't do your research and/or you couldn't be bothered writing a tailor-made application..

If studios mention that they are currently not hiring please don't ignore it. at the very least acknowledge that you read that bit of info but that you would like to try anyway (that's one hurdle overcome). #trustme

To sum up, Vollauschek says  "I know it's all fairly obvious and we all keep on talking about this mind-boggling lack of common sense. I just don't get why we continuously receive such an enormous amount of these kind of applications/enquiries? It currently feels like it got worse in the last 12 months or so... We surely can't blame everything on colleges..." 

Has it got worse? Is it a rotten culture? Internships are under the spotlight as more graduates find a voice amongst the general unrest with sites like Intern Aware questioning the legality of the entire process. 

What does a Creative Recruiter say?

We need to re-evaluate how the system works. But let's talk about REAL JOBS. I asked Darren Scotland owner of Character Creative, a  young go-between creative recruitment agent for design studios and ad agencies, based in Leeds. What are graduate pitfalls from a agent's point of view? "Surprisingly I don't come across as many of these as you'd think - don't get me wrong, universities aren't spitting out hoards of design geniuses but there's not many massive fails either - more a sea of mediocrity really" says Scotland candidly.

Universities are feeding students out of date information
"I was speaking at a graduate event before Christmas and there were a couple of students who had been to see the University's career adviser, " explains Scotland. "They'd been told to stick very rigidly to a two page CV as a word.doc and to include two mug shots at the bottom of the 2nd page. Very odd to see the same CV from several designers and I'm certain they'd have gone straight in the trash at any agency."

It's not any tougher now than it has been in the past
"I actually don't think it is any tougher this year than it has been previously - it's always been really, really hard! Getting that first role has always been the most difficult step for someone wanting a career in design - it's basic, way too much supply and not enough demand."

Alternative routes to education
"If I had my time again I'd seriously look at alternative routes. E.g Hyperisland are piloting a school in Manchester at the moment that I think will be a big success and Shillington College do a similar thing with traditional printed media. Many of the best designers I've worked with haven't been formally educated - they're self taught and have a genuine love for what they do." 

Advice for @anothergraduate (and everyone else) :
"I could list a few but I think, particularly relevant for @anothergraduate: Be humble; you're not the finished article - way off in fact - so be as good as you can be and have bags of enthusiasm. Make cups of tea, run errands, do whatever you can - don't be a walkover though - I think it'll be pretty obvious if an agency is taking the piss.

Obviously your work will play a part in getting you your first job but, in my experience, it's secondary to attitude.All it takes is one piece of work to prove you've got it. If the attitude is right, most agencies will be happy to mould and shape you to help get the good stuff out of you on a more consistent basis."

Definite No - No's:
No blind emails - Dear Sir/Madame, etc, etc…
Don't mud sling. Sending 10-20 personal approaches is always much better than 500 generic emails.
Don't be scared of the telephone! Always follow up your first approach to make sure people have received it. If not why not? Start the conversation...

Darren Scotland wrote a blog post on the subject last year that is worth a look:

In Summary

 BOTH job seekers AND job givers should follow the simple rule...

And thank you to all that contributed at such short notice to this piece, especially @anothergraduate for highlighting the problems. Good luck with the blog & job hunt.

Is it all about making tea? What's your view?