Around mid-May, final year degree students in the world of art, design and photography start thinking about the future. Usually, it's the very near future, with end of year shows looming large. The hard work and late nights will start to kick in, along with the questions. What work to show? How best to present it? How to get the attention of potential employers in a show bursting with talent? Well don’t worry! With so many designers and artists working at MOO and as our customers, we’ve got some top tips for a seriously successful show.
Make memorable invites
What better place to start showcasing your work than with a memorable invitation to your graduate show – starring your designs! Printfinity (a different image on every card) on double sided Postcards is the perfect way to create a diverse selection of invitations – like these striking invites to a solo exhibition by Ladydesign. You can order small or large packs, so you'll be able to cater to the right people – why not send the design agency you want to work for more than one invite? Think carefully about who you want to invite; potential employers should feature more heavily than friends and family!
Use your space wisely
You'll be competing with all the other graduates in your year – so how will you stand out? First things first - start with the space you’re in:
- Use colour, music, controversial content, food, drink – whatever it takes to get people to stop at your space and look at your work.
- Examine the space you're showing in before you start planning your show, and work around it. Make sure you know the details – can drill into the walls? If not, you’ll need to think of other ways to hang your work. How's the lighting? Will you need a screen? If so, you'll need power. It's planning for little things like this that can really help to make your stand a success.
- If you don't have a big budget, be creative – cheap frames may not show off the content, so find another way to showcase your artwork instead.
Sign your work
Ian Macauley, photography tutor at the London College of Communication, advises, 'Sign your work; it adds perceived value' (you could even use signature stickers like photographer Brandy). 'Be present with your work” Ian adds, ‘and act as if you’re already a professional'.
Potential employers can easily spot those who are ready to hit the ground running. Be ready to discuss your work, and think of some key points you can say about each piece. Some people might ask questions, so be open to new ideas and conversations. It;s this kind of professional attitude that will set you apart from your peers.
May I hand you my card?
The beauty of MOO Business Cards is that you can have a different image on every single card in the pack. This means that you can make a set of cards exclusively featuring your degree show designs, and hand prospective buyers or employers a card that features the piece they're specifically interested in. It's a great way to make yourself memorable long after the event.
We've seen some really creative and eye catching ways graduates have come up with to hand them out too. Here's just a small selection to inspire you:
- Simple washing line and pegs are eye-catching, interactive and effective – as you can see here, in this great shot by Giulietta
- Ingrid put her MiniCards up on the wall for people to help themselves!
- Or, if space is limited, a simple card dispenser on the wall is a handy addition, as demonstrated by rachelmoon.
Take take take!
Of course you wouldn’t turn up at your own degree show without a fantastic Business Card or MiniCard – that would be crazy! But just as important is to collect other people's as well – employers, fellow graduates you might want to collaborate with, and anyone who looks like they might have something to offer you after you graduate. When you have a card, you have the power to call – no more waiting for the phone to ring!
Keep a MOO ShowCase or Classic Leather holder handy to collect all your new contacts! It'll make it easier when you come to follow up the next day. Budget tight? Simply use the free display box your cards came in to collect and keep your contacts safe.
Everyone loves a freebie
- Let's assume everyone is going to love your work (we're sure you're very talented!). But how will they remember you when they leave? Your Business Card is one way – but since everybody loves a party bag why not make your own?
- Get your new audience excited about your work by turning it into something they can take home and actually use. We like these MiniCard bookmarks by Fashion Fuchsia. Featuring beautiful illustrations and brightly coloured ribbon, they're quick to make and really appealing.
- Another great idea is a pocket portfolio to hand out, like these fantastic MiniCard "mini mailers" by redmeg8
Don't forget to follow up
Make sure you don't leave it too long to make that follow up phone call – you don't want to lose your degree show momentum. Arrange a second meeting to show prospective employers your portfolio in a less crowded space. You can also follow up with a marketing mailout – a combination of any of the ideas above to showcase your work, packaged, branded and put in the post. What employer could resist?