Ian Sorensen is a Creative Director in both Image Now and its sister company Brighter Than The Sun. He gained his BA in Graphic Design from LSAD in 1999 and has over fifteen years experience putting his creative skills to good use for many companies and clients including Bank of Ireland, Riverdance, Microsoft and Jameson.
what advice would you give students who are beginning their studies:
Learn as much as you possibly can. Try as much as you possibly can. If I have any regrets about college it’s that I learned that too late. Starting out in college is pretty nuts when you come straight out of school, especially when you are studying design or any creative profession. Firstly you are probably there because you are doing something you are passionate about. Secondly, it’s not very common, or at least it wasn’t in my time, for parents to push their children away from ‘solid academic choices’ that will make good ‘careers’ towards art college instead! So you have two things going for you, you are passionate about design and you have people supporting you who also support you being there. Make the most of it. Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to ask a question you think will make you sound foolish. If you don’t know something, find out!
Learn as much as you possibly can. Try as much as you possibly can.
and for students about to graduate:
Firstly, congratulations, you’re about to graduate. Secondly refer to the first question above for the answer. All the same basic principles apply. You’ll feel like the stakes are higher, first job and all that but they are all stepping stones. The important thing is not to underestimate your support network, try to stay excited about what you are doing, don’t be afraid to fail.
The only key difference now is that you are finding or maybe you’ve found the beginnings of what makes your work yours. Your style, your niche, whatever you want to call it. Don’t get hung up on emulating others or become a slave to another style. Your style, your likes, your gut is what you should follow. Don’t be afraid to follow where it leaps!
what are you up to now:
Mainly writing. I do a lot of writing and a lot of thinking. I’m learning more now than I ever have. Creative Direction isn’t really about doing the work as much as deciding on what work should be done and why. So I think a lot about clients problems and I write a lot about the whys and wherefores of the solutions. The only work I get really hands on with is writing, motion design and film which I discovered late in my career but deeply love.
I don’t see myself as a designer but as a problem solver, design is just one tool in the problem solving toolkit.
how did you get there:
Not with any plan I’m ashamed to admit. I think in the main I got here by solving problems, design problems, strategic problems or storytelling problems. Solving problems, I think, elevates you beyond the discipline alone, not that there is anything wrong with being a master in a discipline, it’s just not for me. Design has become a commodity. To people who don’t understand it they just see a number and they will judge your ability and worth on a par with how they value design. But regardless of their opinion on design they seem to always value problem solving. Probably because it’s results are more than simply what they see, results have real impact on their lives or businesses. So I suppose I got here by changing the way I look at what I do. I don’t see myself as a designer but as a problem solver, design is just one tool in the problem solving toolkit.
Of course I reserve the right to completely change my mind on all of this but right now that’s how I feel about it, lol. Ask me again tomorrow and my answer may be wildly different…