“Sloppy” design students prone to “appalling” mistakes

THE SENIOR Creative Director of the UK based Chellomedia Group believes too few design students graduate from University with the necessary skills to succeed in the creative world. Speaking earlier today at Coventry Conversations, Dean Stockton said it was hard to comprehend how “sloppy they are in a professional environment”.

Stockton encouraged design students to "reinvent themselves" at every opportunity

Stockton said that in order to readdress the current working model, those within the creative industry in positions of responsibility needed to show lesser compassion to the “appalling” mistakes made by undergraduates who are recruited soon after their time at University. “Nowadays, I see work people haven’t looked at properly,” he revealed.

“When I came out of college, I worked for BBC News, and if you made a mistake you were given a warning.  If you made two mistakes, you were fired.  It was only spelling mistakes, but it was crucial, and everybody was utterly professional about what they did and how they did it.”

He admitted to his audience that maintaining high levels of professional practice was particularly difficult, as “everyone is under stress nowadays”, but claimed meticulousness was a fundamental trait from a creative perspective.  He also suggested that some of “the best ideas” are the “ones that haven’t been over fussed”.

Stockton was also critical of the mindset many graphic design students adopt towards creative thinking, and how the reliance they place on computers to put a concept into context was inadvertently “constraining” them and their willingness to make use of alternative processes.

“I agree that the computer is an important tool, but it just isn’t the answer to everything.  I want people who can be really creative and have great ideas,” he said.  “Your mind is better than a computer.  It really doesn’t matter whether you are in business or not, it is all about new ideas, creating ideas, and going forward.

I agree that the computer is an important tool, but it just isn’t the answer to everything. Your mind is better than a computer

“It is so important the way you see and perceive things.  The computer is not the answer to everything.  It is just a tool, so don’t let it constrain you, and don’t let it train you down.”

He added: “Reinvent yourself, but don’t just sit there and say: ‘This is what I do, I only do this, and I’m not changing’, because you will get left behind.  The world is moving so quickly – even I can’t keep up with most of it.”

Despite 2009 being the worst time to graduate for 20 years according to a study conducted by The Times 100 Graduate Employers, with the original number of vacancies to be filled being cut back by 7,000 to 33,000, Stockton remains optimistic that those graduates willing to succeed will do so in time.

The majority of Chellomedia’s positions are in mainland Europe, such as Holland, Romania, and Hungary, leading Stockton to add that a degree coupled with the ability to speak more than one language would give students a “pretty useful” head start.

“You have forty years of work in front of you.  You might not get a job tomorrow, and it might be hard, but just keep at it.  It won’t happen straight away, and even if you do, you will probably just be a runner.  But if you believe in what you do, then stick at it,” he said.

Dean Stockton’s previous employers include the Carlton TV company, the BBC and BBC Worldwide, BSkyB and Channel 4.  He was also the Director of Television at World Rally Championship TV (WRC TV).

Listen to Dean Stockton’s recorded lecture

Image courtesy of Jason Craig



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