The week before last I went to Mainframes design studio in the Northern Quarter of Manchester and spoke to the managing director Chris Hardcastle. After walking to there studio on Silk Street and finding there attic studio I met Chris and sat with him at his meeting table. We started by talking about the industry and the kind of things I as interested in and the area in which I wanted to head. We spoke about how until a couple of weeks previous I wanted to get into to film industry and work on large projects but recently I had turned more towards the advertising industry. I mentioned how I wanted to see a project through as opposed to just being another cog in the works who ends up doing the same thing all the time.
This is a screenshot taken from Mainframe's Huggies (For The Journey) ad
We spoke how he had done that when he was working down in London and that the larger Mainframe studio in Soho is more like that too. It was very interesting listening to him how there Manchester studio was a stand alone office or sister company as opposed to working on the same work in both offices. He was interested in where I wanted to work, whether down south or staying up in the north. I mentioned that I would like the experience of London at some point but would not be upset about staying up in Manchester or Liverpool if the opportunity came around. Chris mentioned how they are wanting to expand the business up here and are trying to keep designers up north as opposed to them all heading south. He mentioned a company called The Neighborhood which are their closest rivals and there main competition.
This is a screenshot from Mainframe's COI sexual health ad
After we spoke about the industry we moved onto my work and questions I had. At the end of last year I asked Chris for a portfolio visit and unfortunately it wasn't possible because of the work they had on at the time. He did say I could send some work through to him and he would send me some feedback back. Because of this I didn't want to show him the same pieces so I showed him the new showreel I had just created (which included the 2 pieces to refresh his memory) and my Big Draw ident as well. He was very positive of my work and suggested some small tricks to improve my work and make me stand out from the crowd when it came to job hunting. This was the question I asked him funnily enough. I wanted to know what he looks for when hiring and how people stand out. The main message he said was to make the work speak for itself and have it finished to a high standard, then the employer looks towards the person themselves and see how they could get on with them in the working environment. He was also interested in the timescales in which the pieces were done in to see if results could be got quickly and deadlines could be met.
This was a great visit and I enjoyed meeting Chris and seeing a professional studio space much like MI's. Hopefully Chris will have the chance to see my end of year show as he asked to keep in touch and let him know when it was. Hopefully this will be a good contact for the future.