When I think back to my years at Regent’s I remember how excited I was to live in such a dynamic city. I was moving from San Diego, USA and it was my first time living abroad. There is something about being in a foreign place that sparks a sort of personal renaissance and London is a city that has inspiration at every turn. At Regent’s I was surrounded by progressive students and professors who pushed me into a new headspace and during my studies I made the conscious decision to absorb as much of this creative energy as I could. Some of the best memories from my studies were being a part of projects that got students out into the community and interacting with people. Not only did we have a lot of fun, we created work that we were proud of and that helped us to really prepare for life after university.
During my studies I took on several internships and in between homework I would focus on getting real work experience. By the time I graduated I jumped straight into a job at an agency called B1 Creative in Kingston-upon-Thames where I worked mainly with athletic industry clients like Reebok and Adidas. By 2012 I was ready for a change and decided to move to the UAE. I have to admit this wasn’t the easiest decision, but by changing environment I do believe I was able to catapult my career position in a location where I could challenge myself by stepping even further out of my comfort zone. I contacted nearly every creative agency in the country and met with them to share my work. By doing this, the agencies were able to put a face with my work and were more inclined to contact me when they needed help on a big project or pitching for new business. I freelanced for most of 2012, where after I accepted a position at the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather as Head of Design where I led a team of designers and interns. At Ogilvy I was able to be a part of regional and global projects for clients like Coca-Cola, Volkswagen and Al Jazeera Media Group.
In the creative industry it is easy to be taken in by ego. As in a lot of art-based fields, the focus can become more about the person creating than the content. One of the best feelings is being able to use creativity to make a change for good. I was fortunate enough to take part in a campaign that assisted in helping three Al Jazeera journalists in their release from an Egyptian prison. By creating content that was featured in The Guardian Newspaper in the UK and on screens in Times Square in New York City, we were able to bring awareness around the severity and injustice of this particular situation to regions where there is less publicity on the topic.
The best advice that I have received since graduating is to never stop having fun in the work you create. When you’re completely uninhibited and genuine in your work, your best self will shine through and success will naturally come your way. Also, even if you don’t feel completely ready for the professional world, just dive in. The more hours you spend with your passion, the more you will perfect your craft. The best way to hone your skill is to experience it.
You can see some of my work at www.jessebraydesign.com