Interview with volunteer Jess Clark

As a break from the norm we interviewed Jess Clark to find out what makes her tick and what she is getting out of volunteering at Yorkshire Artspace.

Can you describe your creative practice to us? I am a graphic designer and I like to work in typography and branding. Problem solving and the goal of pleasing the client is a major aspect of being a graphic designer that I enjoy. I always have at least three projects going on at once and currently I am working on the signage project for Persistence Works, a rebrand for a lingerie company and a photography project for a university sports team. I like to work this way because I feel if I get stuck on one project I always have something else to work on and I never have a time where I am out of inspiration. I have done a few projects working with bookbinding and paper folding; one of my favourites was a project about the art of conversation (pictured below) where the book I made comes in two equal parts to represent each side of a conversation and fits together as one piece bound together by a string representing words.

Why did you volunteer to work with us? I am doing a degree in graphic design and, while I am not required to do any kind of volunteer work or placements, to me volunteering is an irreplaceable experience that every student should have. Working for a real life client in a creative field offers me experience that I wouldn’t have at university and gives me the opportunity to boost my confidence.

What projects will you be doing while you are here? I am addressing the navigation issues that exist within the building and creating a type based signage system that will guide visitors The system needs to be functional (and cheap!) but still attractive and graphically pleasing to look at. I also want to address the individual signage outside each studio by creating a frame that can be changed as artists come and go. Again whilst being a functional, simple and a cohesive system I want to make these as visually pleasing as possible.

How will this experience support your practice? I am used to being cooped up in the studio at university and working with the same people all the time so it is a great experience to get out and do something completely different. Volunteering is like building a bridge between being a student and a designer in the real world. Without this experience I would graduate next year with no idea of what working for a client outside of university is like, but now I am experiencing it and getting myself connections and a reputation with people and companies. It already feels less daunting to leave university and fall into the 'real world'.

What have you most enjoyed doing so far? Working as part of a team has been great and having feedback on my work from people outside of university has been very valuable. Receiving verbal feedback one to one has been a welcome change to a number or grade percentage on a sheet. I have met many like minded creative people at Yorkshire Artspace. It is nice to be around people that aren't all graphic designers because I feel like it is enriching to my practice.

What are you looking forward to doing in the rest of your time with us? I am looking forward to seeing everything come to life and seeing the signage in use. Hopefully this won't be the last time I work with Yorkshire Artspace, I hope to continue a relationship with the team and help them whenever I can.

What are your future plans? I know now that I want to work in a creative environment and because of the way I like to work with numerous projects on the go I think freelance would be a good option for me but I would probably want to start off with something more stable within marketing or a graphic design collective or agency.