“You can’t please everyone, so don’t take it too personally,” says Aileen Poe, senior graphic designer at FITCH. It’s just one of the lessons she learned during D&AD New Blood Academy which was a chance to boost her confidence, and make contacts at agencies she might not otherwise have come across – including introducing her to FITCH.
“The Academy speakers made me think about the kind of designer I wanted to be, which has definitely stuck,” she says.
Brexit and cuts to arts funding across the country left right and centre are obviously a huge obstacle in helping people get into these careers
Poe started as a junior designer at FITCH straight after finishing Academy, and the studio has not only become an “extended family” for her, but a chance to apply her skills and penchant for “going off on little tangents” to some major projects. This includes – her favourite piece of work so far – designing a window for adidas’ Oxford Street store in London. However, while Poe has found her feet in the industry, she’s keenly aware that young creatives still face huge barriers to overcome when finding work. With this in mind, she has become a mentor to aspiring creatives through the Academy, sharing her experiences in the industry.
“Brexit and cuts to arts funding across the country left right and centre are obviously a huge obstacle in helping people get into these careers,” she explains, adding that initiatives such as D&AD’s New Blood Awards are the perfect opportunity for young talent to sink their teeth into. “I didn’t end up winning a Pencil in the end, I was just nominated for one, but it still lead me onto amazing things,” she adds.
For the future, Poe continues to find inspiration around every corner of her home city of London, and also work towards her dream project – designing huge gallery installations that highlight socio-economic issues and that encourage people to stop accepting that things have to be a certain way.
Meet other New Blood alumni here.