Business, project plans, communication, client relationships, insight, content and structure 

Notes from the lectures. 

I was particularly interested in the first podcast with Emma and Lucy from Build + Become publishers. It was interesting as part of my business plan is to make a book. I hadn’t actually much of an idea what this would entail until listening to this podcast. The key learnings I took from it were the following: 

  • Highlight areas of the market that you see as a place of growth 
  • Put together a pitch and present it to the publisher. 
  • Producing and publishing a new book is pretty expensive 
  • An individual book gets presented to sales teams and they will tell you if your book is sellable 
  • Make a budget sheet how much the book will cost and align that against what the sales team feel confident to sell:
    • Author fees
    • Designer fees 
    • Printing fees
    • Shipping fees

In the second case study Stuart interviewed designer Hamish Makgill about setting up his design studio. What I found most interesting about this was actually the research I did after the podcast. 

I went to research the studio and what I found was this statement: 

Following a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to close Studio Makgill.

During the past 15 years, we have worked with so many wonderfully talented and creative individuals and designed for some incredible brands. Hand on heart, I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve achieved together on this journey.

This decision is deeply connected to the state of the world right now. Whilst our industry is seemingly coming around to its role in aggravating and sustaining the social, environmental and economic crises we face, it’s acting too slowly. Currently, to thrive as an agency without causing harm (let alone do good) is too difficult.

I want to be involved in the challenges we face as we urgently find ways towards mutuality, equity and ecological flourishing. However, I no longer feel that an agency is the right vehicle for this.

This isn’t the moment to discuss where this decision is taking me (though, feel free to reach out if you want to ask me or share your views on what I’m doing). This is the moment to say thank you. Thank you for choosing to work with us – either as part of the team or as a client. Thank you for being interested in us and hopefully taking some inspiration from the work we created. Just a beautiful and simple… thank you.


This is exactly the argument I’ve been having in my head for the last almost ten years since graduating as a graphic designer. It’s why I’ve been on the path I’ve been on… but on that path I feel I haven’t been able to fully develop my design skills to their best potential.

I was actually really quite pleased to see this statement as I’ve been really conflicted and struggling with this module so far. It hasn’t acknowledged where we’re at in the world and how we contribute.

I read an interesting article this morning by designer Sophie Thomas 

“It is not acceptable for designers to be unaware of the carbon impact of their creations”

Sophie’s words are taking into account design as a whole: product design, building design, fashion design and us too… graphic designers.
She sets out some rules in which designers should respond to briefs / make products in accordance with. 

It got me thinking again about Hamish, I’m making assumptions here because I know nothing about him, from the podcast and statement on his website I can assume Hamish must be in his 50’s maybe 60s. After a career as a successful graphic designer this probably is a good response from him about how he can best tackle the climate crisis.
He has some high profile clients and they will see he has taken a stand. 

However in my context, if I did that before I’d even started I wouldn’t be proving anything. I just would be doing nothing, and that has to be worse than doing something? 

Another piece of writing I stumbled across today which helped me on this strange mental argument I’ve been having with myself for years was this one from my old boss:

Hugo is talking in relation to the ocean but I think ocean can be swapped with design and the sentiment is the same. We need HOPE, we need AMBITION, we need to TRY. 

“We must imagine and create the future we want to see for our ocean. All our actions will depend on a hopeful vision of the future. Our future seas will depend on visionary and hopeful ideas. Everything humankind has ever done started in the mind. An idea to be brought to life. We need to believe in what we can achieve. We need to develop radical hope for our ocean. Think big. Deliver even bigger.

We must respond to the accelerating climate and biodiversity crisis with big ideas, new stories, new visions, infectious hope, collective inspiration, and a blueprint for a future that people want to live in. A future we can all get excited about again. Protecting and restoring our ocean will be central to this. Blue hope will carry us all to a better future.” 

Hugo Tagholm, Oceana 

There’s one more bit that is worth pulling out: 

We need to be bold, progressive, radical, and rapid. We don’t have time to waste. We need to create the future we want to see. A future where we live in harmony with nature. A future where we live within in our limits. A future where less is more. A future where we have less pointless ‘stuff’ and more meaningful time with people, more time in nature, more time in the ocean.

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