sprinkl creative networking events :: {the valley}

my name is wick, and i’m a designeur. while i love to design & create things that look good, what really gets me excited is the entrepreneurial side of designing and creating living, breathing and growing things – like businesses, movements, events and ideas.

my day job is pretty cool, swimming in thousands of brightly coloured business cards. saltprint prints, designs and gets really excited about these little rectangular pieces of card. we also work with a talented bunch of aussie freelance designers to produce some of the freshest designs for printable things. designing for brands and corporations is an art in itself, and is completely collaborative in it’s nature of working with a client to a brief. i really love contributing design to a new brand, and seeing my ideas breathe life into a business.

now in our tenth year, saltprint’s lives at salt house in new farm, which is a creative co-working space which we share with other creative companies and freelancers. This is the best “work” place i’ve ever “worked” in because it’s like a big creative share-house! we have designers, marketers, fashion and web creatives all working side by side, individually and sometimes together. i think it’s important for creative professionals to grab hold of any physical contact they can find in today’s virtual environment. i’ve worked virtually online for months at a time without real human contact, and i’m always surprised at how fast things get done when you meet in person. salt house is almost near capacity now with studios and desks, however we keep a little spare space for a rentable photo studio, and space for creative events.

by night i like to plan killer parties, disguised as networking events for creatives. this project is called sprinkl, and it’s becoming one of brisbane’s favourite events for grass-root creatives. we’re planning our seventh event now for april 2012 which simply involves mixing grass-root creatives of all flavours and making real face to face connections. one of the favourite attractions of sprinkl is the live design-off that we stage between two local designers, sometimes on two large projector screens, or with paint & canvas. there is something fascinating about watching a designer over their shoulder, and it becomes very interesting watching two designers at the same time with their own interpretations of the same brief. the designers we have featured so far have received some great publicity and opportunities out of the exposure at sprinkl.

what i really love about working with designers with saltprint, co-working alongside freelancers at salt house, and mixing with grass-root creatives at sprinkl, is seeing young creatives taking their art to market and making a living out of it! there is something wholesome about making a living with the work of your own hands, and i applaud all creatives who are brave enough to back themselves in selling their creative work. the whole process of selling or making a living out of art gives the art the chance to be enjoyed by other people, rather than growing dusty in your folio or even worse in your mind.

i started on my own designing logos & annual reports like most graphic designers do. offering printing services to my clients seemed like a logical choice for me, and while printing errors and late deliveries scare off most designers from printing, saltprint grew very quickly into a national company with a surge of design and printing clients from a diverse range of clients all over australia. it’s now very satisfying being able to employ young designers myself. i particularly enjoy finding design talent amongst a pile of portfolios when other agencies can’t see past their lack of experience or qualifications.

when i’m looking for a designer amongst a stack of resumes and folios, there a couple of reactions i often have:

*laugh out loud* – as i read aloud the floury and over-jargonated cover letter to my esteemed colleagues for the advertised position.
*yawn* – as i flick through 12 pages of the one folio piece, presented at different angles and stages of design development.
*go emo* – as i fall into depression over the very dark, mysterious and serious folio void of all life & colour.
*take a second look* – noticing a sneeky pair of arty breasts.
*drop folio and visit online folio* – enjoying a short & sweet folio, leaving me hungry for more.
*sit & stare* – finding brilliant art in a simple design.
*omg* – did they just use word-art in their resume?

while i am a fan of providing leg-up opportunities for young designers, and the whole collaborative-crowd-sourcing paradigm, there is something i find wrong with some of the mass spec-work and free pitching being encouraged from some of today’s design-contest websites. i won’t name names, but i dont think it’s right that 99 designers work, and 1 gets paid. i use my own refined model of the crowd-sourced design-contest which involves more curating, and fair payment for all involved. i hope to one day spread my ideas about healthy & profitable creative-collaboration around the world.

thanks for reading, i hope we can meetup at the next sprinkl!

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