Life After Ligature Journal with Anne Vu
Anne Vu | Website
It's always interesting to see where interns and junior designers end up after their first few experiences working inside a 'real' design studio/agency. In this series we'll be catching up with designers and interns who have worked on various issues of Ligature Journal. Let's see what they've been up to!
Tell us about your background:
Who are you? Hey there! I’m Anne Vu—a designer and kind of photographer
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Western Sydney, specifically around the Bankstown area.
How and why did you choose design as a career?
As my senior year of high school was coming to a close, I frantically started researching and thinking about what kinds of creative careers I could pursue. I had heard about Billy Blue (a design college) from a cousin of mine who went there and thought I should give design a shot. I don’t think I actually knew what a graphic designer did when I applied to the college but it all worked out in the end.
Was there a defining moment in your life that shaped you and your path as a designer? Tell us about it.
Not particularly, I started as an intern in a makeup distribution company that looked after the Sydney/Australian side of marketing and I liked it. I worked there for a while but after some time I started to realise that I needed a change, mostly because I wanted to learn more from other designers. I learnt a lot on my own as I essentially was the only designer there but as a young designer I believe soaking up knowledge from those that have gone before you is more beneficial. I got a taster of what life would be like as a designer and it was great, the first few months/year after graduating…you pick up new skills, you really learn a lot and you learn quickly.
Do you think where and how you grew up affects the work that you do? Why?
It definitely does. My area is not exactly a creative hub so when I was little I turned to the online world to learn and experiment with ‘design’, illustration and a little bit of website stuff (basic html/css coding and whatnot). The skills I learned at 12/13 really helped me as a designer going through college. I honestly didn’t know what graphic design was entering Billy Blue but now that I look back, I don’t think I was ever meant to be anything else.
Tell us about your design education:
Where did you study? Why did you choose to study there, and what was it like?
I studied at Billy Blue college of design and as I said before, I chose it because a cousin of mine recommended it. The entire course was very hands-on as we were working on briefs from the very beginning. Theoretical lessons were being applied and used straight away and that really solidified the knowledge.
When did you graduate?
I finished college at the end of 2015 and officially graduated in May of 2016.
Were there other things that you did that influenced your growth as a designer during this time? (side hustles/personal projects/travel etc?)
College was an experimental time for me. I was trying out things like illustrations, hand-lettering and photography not really knowing where my ‘other skills’ strengths would lie. Luckily for me I started picking up a few small photography jobs here and there and really helped me hone and develop my photography skills. It was also a time where I was trying to find my own design style so I started looking outwards to other designers and artists. I would spend some time just drawing things and looking at hand-lettering, practicing on my own and slowly but surely a little semblance of a style began to emerge.
Tell us about your emergence into the ‘real’ design world:
How did you find life after university/college? Did graduating ‘ready’ you for the real world?
I was definitely equipped with the skill set and knowledge to get started in the real world but it’s amazing how much you grow and change after working somewhere or interning somewhere for a few months. It’s also a matter of believing that you are a designer, a good designer and people want you. That, I guess, was my first hurdle. Just believing in myself. I think that makes up for a lot of how ready you feel to enter the workforce.
Where have you worked since you graduated? (doesn’t have to be just design studios)
I worked in a makeup distribution company that handled the Australian marketing of various brands e.g. BECCA, Bite Beauty, Lavanila and more. I guess this was also my first ‘real job’. Ever.
Tell us about where you work now: what is it like and what do you do?
So I currently work at Ligature Journal/Tiliqua Studios and I was actually apart of the team that created issued 0! I’ve been following along since it’s initial launch and an opportunity opened up to work here when I was thinking about changing jobs.
Do you do any other design (related) work outside your day job?
I take on a few freelance clients here and there, most clients come to me through referrals and introductions. I also had a family member contact me about rebranding her beauty salon and that was pretty awesome. In terms of side projects I always have ideas stirring in my brain and there’s one brewing at the moment but we’ll see how that goes. It’s in its early stages right now!
Photos by Anne Vu
Tell us about your dreams and aspirations:
What do you want your future as a designer to be?
Because it’s so early on in my career I honestly have no idea. What I do know is that I want to be good enough to maintain freelance clients and just travel around the world and work wherever I want. There’s also a big part of me that wants to design for good. To leave a positive impact on society through my design work. I have no idea what that will be right now but I guess if I will it into existence then it will happen.
Finally, if you could share one piece of advice with a current design student, what would it be?
You don’t have to have anything figured out right now and don’t feel like you’re behind when you see friends and colleagues out there securing full-time jobs and you’re not. Everything will come in time. You are good at what you do. Just keep doing what you’re doing and things will fall into place.
Anne worked with us on Issue zero and employed by us on issues Six, Seven and Eight. You can get a copy of this issue from the Tiliqua Press store. Catch up with other design interns of LJ! Liam Carver Sabrina Carini