Interview with Emerging Graphic Designer Mel Bailey!

This afternoon we share with you a recent interview with Melanie Bailey, another talented individual amongst the North West’s best up-and-coming creatives. Throughout the interview we pick Mel’s brain for her latest work, her activity in the local design scene as well as her online recommendations. Enjoy!

Who is Mel Bailey and what first drew your attention to be a designer?

I’m a Graduate Designer from Manchester. I would describe myself as inquisitive, adventurous and thoughtful. I’m not afraid to try or do something new. I initially got into design by creating flyers and posters for a society I was a member of at university, I was studying art at the time but I found a real interest lay in design. Looking back, the art background has really informed and enhanced my design work.

Was there a particular designer who you loved in school whose work you wanted to emulate?

At college we were taught that the foundations of good design lie in the understanding of typography. Classic designers such as Vignelli, Brockman, Tschichold and Fletcher were whom I initially took inspiration from. The route to good design can often lie in the styling of the typography. I found at this time I always wanted to put a personal twist on work that I did, and alongside this I loved the work of hand-drawn typographers and illustrators. I tried to combine both influences.

Which designers and artists inspire your work today?

I appreciate classic design from the past, but also admire many illustrators and designers on the scene at the moment. Studios such as Airside and Designers Republic who have a distinctive attitude, vector style and deal mainly with colour really appeal to me. I like simple design, which can often give the most impact. However, sometimes it might be necessary to include more than just a line or single colour, some ideas are too complex and require more than the bare minimum. So, I also admire the work of Sagmeister, Vaugn Oliver and other more expressive designers.

You’ve got an ever-expanding portfolio of work already on the go, which has been your favourite project to date?

Possibly my favourite piece whilst at university were the book cover designs. I really enjoyed reading the novels and then being able to transfer the ideas directly onto the covers. Having such a strong source on which to draw ideas from really gave me a lot of inspiration. I also, when the opportunity is there, love to design around music. So the album artwork is another favourite. Conceptual work is possibly where I am strongest, and I like to use different styles to suit the brief I am working on, so in that sense I think I am more of a traditional designer.

What kind of work are you undertaking at the moment and are you more freelance or in-house?

At the moment- I am working as an In-house designer, previously I have done freelance Infographic work and various placements in studios. In-house can be more restrictive in the brief being so simple, but the necessity to get work out can often be more important than the idea behind it. So work is often simple, accurate and to the point.

What targets have you set yourself for 2012 and beyond?

At the moment I have been building up professional experience in studios and trying to get my name out there. My main goal at present is to gain a position in a studio full time… working in a studio abroad would also be something I would love to do!

Which 5 people on twitter would you recommend the most we should be following?

@weandthecolour – Blog about creative inspiration, art and photography. They always update daily with new work.

@SoupKitchen_Mcr – A cafe in Manchester which serves great food, and is also a place for art events, talks and a venue for live acts. There is always something interesting going on there!

@TheDrum- The latest news, opinions and reports from the creative and marketing world.

@McrFinest – THE site to look at for whats happening in and around Manchester. Eating out, Music gigs, cinema listings are all featured.

@weareyoung – A small design studio in Manchester who cover branding, advertising and animation. They have a lovely colourful, playful style.

Are you a fan of the new brand of social media and networks? Which consumes your time the most?

I think Twitter (@mellem25) is great from the point of view of a graduate who is on the journey to make it as a professional designer. It makes the opportunity to be recognised far greater, and you can get a peek into the world of your favourite design studios or designers. I also use LinkedIn, which is purely for business and Tumblr. I’m not as keen on Facebook from a professional point of view, as it doesn’t open your network up to as many opportunities, its mainly personal.

How are you involved in the creative community around manchester? Are there many networking or creative events you frequent socially?

I know of the regular meet ups hosted by CING (Creative Industries Network Group) and Northern Digitals. These give you the opportunity to meet others, and discuss the goings on in the industry -I try and get to these when I can! Islington Mill also host regular events, private viewings of art exhibitions and nights on which are really good.

I recently went to an event called Unconventional Women, which was organised by Unconvention Hub- an organisation that hosts creative events world-wide. This discussed females in the field of broadcast and media, and also encompassed Graphic Design.

Having such a grounding and appreciation in art of the past, do you feel this is something today’s designers often forget about?

As a designer its important to keep up to date with what is currently happening in the world of art, media and design as much as looking back in history. Appreciating past designers or artists can inform and inspire, but equally so can the film credits of your favourite movie or colours of the button on your top. I don’t think people forget, but if say, a certain level of art history isn’t taught on courses designers may not think to cover this in their research or inspiration. When it could lead to a really good idea.

Outside of design what do you to relax in such a busy city and industry?

I actually like to involve myself in what’s going on in Manchester when I get the opportunity at the weekend. It could be going to one of the art exhibitions, a drink or two with friends or a night out on the town. When not doing that-I also like going for bike rides, which lucky for me is often down country lanes, to discover a nice café or quiet area. I also like baking.

What 5 music albums would be the soundtrack to your favourite afternoon of music?

Simian Ghost- Curtain Call
Pulp- Different Class
Explosions In The Sky- Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
The Smashing pumpkins – Melloncollie & The Infinite Sadness

Thanks Mel, all the best for the future! 

Follow Mel on her website at http://www.melbailey.com/, her Tumblr blog as well as on Twitter @Mellem25.

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