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Have you thought about the topic of branding and it’s importance in business? You could look into how well designed brands can change the face of a company and its perception, this includes typefaces, colours and styles of photography.
A good place to start might be looking at companies that have been re branded recently, some for the better and some for the worse. Take Waterstones for example, they rebranded in 2010 and started using sans serif FS Albert as there corporate typeface but reverted back to their previous, more traditional looking brand which used Baskerville in 2012. Look into the reasoning for this and why it didn’t work out for them.
There are also rebrands that have worked brilliantly so look at them also and maybe do a short case study on each?
I hope this helps, good luck with your essay. I’d be interested in having a read when its done.
Sam / I am Sam Creative
Full brand overhaul for Cloud 9 Hang Gliding and Paragliding.
I think personal work is a key thing to include, it’s shows initiative and tells the employer or client that you’re keen. It can also demonstrate your skills outside of graphic design be it short films, painting or even music.
A lot of young designers leave personal work out either because they don’t have any or they feel uncomfortable about putting it in because they feel its not relevant. Employers are used to seeing great layouts and logos so the self initiated work stands out and really can set you apart from other designers.
When I was looking for my first design job I decided to put a short surf film I made about my travels in Indonesia in my portfolio, the employer picked up the DVD case and we ended up chatting about where I’d been, why I did it and how I made the film, now I’m sure he didn’t regard me as the next Christopher Nolan but it set me apart from the other designers and may have helped me get the job.
Of course project work is important as the body of your portfolio but in answer to your question personal work is key.
Hope this helps
Great colour palette