Interview with Graphic Designer Paul Braddock of TABAKA
Paul Braddock has created TABAKA as his online presence between the design industry, his future clients and himself. Here we share with you all an interview between Paul and ourselves, where we discuss his life after university, clients, projects, advice for design graduates and how social media works within his business and personal life online. Enjoy!
What initially got you started in the creative industries?
It was a design brief I got given in high school. I think I was in year nine (aged 13/14) at the time. The backbone to the brief was we had to advertise this new big movie that was soon to be released called Emerald Bay. It just caught my imagination straight away. From then on I was hooked. I knew straight away that I wanted to do something similar when I grew up.
You recently launched your own website, what was your motivation and ideas going into the design?
I needed some form of online presence where I could showcase my portfolio of work. By designing my own website I was able to put my own stamp on it.
What significance is TABAKA to yourself?
TABAKA is Paul Braddock. You often see websites named joebloggsdesign.com, but I didn’t want to be another one of them I wanted to stand out, I wanted to be different. I see the birth of TABAKA as the online presence between the design industry, future employees, current/potential clients, and myself.
How are you involved in the local design community?
I did previously live and work in the Leeds area for a few years before moving back to Bolton just recently. During that time I became a regular attendee at Hudds Digitals, an informal social event for the design and creative minds in and around Yorkshire. I also attended numerous design events including the Note To Self Creative Consortium and the D&AD Series, from the President’s Lectures too Exhibitions.
During my spare time I assist in the design and production of a free quarterly magazine distributed in and around Bolton. I am also a Creative Advisor to sixth form students at Canon Slade School, giving them feedback on their design work produced during the academic year.
Who would you say have been your biggest creative influences and which designers inspire your work the most?
For me it has to be Wim Crouwel and his team at Total Design (TD). Even though Total Design was only around for ten years (1963-73), TD and Wims work is timeless. I was fortunate enough to be able to go and see Wim Crouwels exhibition at the Design Museum down in London last summer. It is so refreshing to see work that was created nearly 50 years ago can be so inspirational to an up and coming designer like myself.
What route through education did you take to be the designer you are today?
After I left high school I did History, Art, and Product Design with Graphic Design at A Level. I then went straight to the University of Huddersfield to read Graphic Design. Being able to do a placement year during my time at University was one of the major selling points why I went to Huddersfield. Being able to graduate with a years experience within the design industry certainly gave me that edge over other graduates.
You’re involved with the social media and networking of today’s online creatives, which takes up the most of your time and why?
Social media is so easy for us to access whether it’s on your phone, ipad, laptop, and desktop computer. You can see why so many people can become addicted to it. It’s a great resource to communicate with your audience, and connect with the design community. I do believe that it’s healthy to separate yourself from the likes of twitter and facebook once in a while to continue that focus of what you fell in love with…design.
Which 5 people would you recommend we should all be following on twitter?
That’s a good question. It depends what your interests are. I think as a designer or a creative you need to surround yourself with those that inspire you and influence you in your work. Twitter is a great tool for that. By following the people that inspire you, you automatically keep that creative mind flowing.
What projects are you looking to take on with TABAKA?
I do intend to have my own design agency one day, whether it will be called TABAKA I don’t know. But for now I fully intend to get myself know within the Manchester area as a well respected creative designer, and as a major contact for a ever growing client base that I work with on a freelance bases.
Do you pursue writing online much at all? What blogs are added to your reader to browse each week?
I’m not much of a writer to be honest. I think that is why I became a designer. I believe you can say so much more through a piece of art, design, or film than you can through from a hundred words.
Your placement at university was obviously a big factor in your success in the switch after university. Was this all organized by yourself or the university?
Not at all. Some Universities do provide that facility but it was all my own doing. When people say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” that certainly was and still is the case for me today. It can be so frustrating being a junior designer because you’re at the back of a queue waiting to take that step forward. Once you’re given that opportunity you have got to take it with both hands and make the most of it, especially during this period of discontent.
What do you think are the key things graduates need to learn and prepare for when switching from university to the
When you’re at university you can be so unaware of what it is like out in industry. So by getting some experience whilst your still at University is invaluable, even if its one or two days a week your being able to put yourself in that mind set. Being able to adapt to any given situation is key especially in a fast working office/agency. Having a set routine can be quite strenuous especially when you’re just starting out. But most of all you need to have a willingness to learn.
Which five albums would be the soundtrack to your working and social life?
When I’m working I usually have BBC 6 Music on in the background. They play a wide variety of music and are very popular with other designers.
Outside of working and designing what are the things that you enjoy to switch off?
You could say I’m a bit of a fitness freak outside of work. Football (5 a side), Boxing (novice/amateur level), and Running, where I will be competing in this years Great North Run. I also support Bolton Wanderers…someone has to.