So I've decided to do a blog because I feel like it's useful for the viewers to see the personality of the person behind the website/portfolio and I think it could potentially help and inspire some young up and coming designers.
I'm Mathew or Mat to a lot of people, I was born and raised in Liverpool UK (home of The Beatles for those who has never heard of this place). I studied Graphic Design at The University of Salford, Manchester. I did a 1 year Art and Design Foundation and then 3 years in Graphic Design. It was a good course that I enjoyed and learned a lot from.
After I graduated I interned at a company in Liverpool called Finch, they did all the branding for when Liverpool was named The Capital of Culture 2008. I also interned at Base in New York, which was awesome until I ran out of money and had to go home sooner than I hoped, but thats another blog/story for another day. I felt interning was the best thing for me because I had a zero experience and my C.V had nothing on it besides my degree to show. I was employed in Liverpool for 2 years in a print company, it wasn't the most creative job but any job you will learn and experience new things as well as meet a lot of new people.
It got to a point where I wasn't completely fulfilled by my job and wanted a change, not just a change of job but a change of scenery if you like. Hong Kong was on the top of my list, mainly because I've been here many times as a child, I had HK residency, I had a place to live, all I needed was a one way flight. My family definitely didn't expect me to last in HK, I don't think I did either but here I am almost 9 years in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has a lot of design opportunities, you just have to make sure you find the right job, the working culture in HK is totally different to the UK, its much more fast paced here. My first job was at I.T Apparels, a HK fashion company, this was the type of job I really wanted at the time, I was very much into fashion and streetwear and being around these brands and designing them was something I was very passionate about. Here I learned most of my technical design skills, (photoshop, illustrator) I worked under an Art Director who was a perfectionist in design and I realised just how raw I still was, simple stuff I wasn't doing the correct way, but it was a great learning curve. The best thing about this job was all the stuff I learned and the friends I made here, a few who I still see and talk to on regular basis.
I then moved into a different area of the creative industry, I moved into advertising. Advertising was totally different to what I have been doing, I did not have a portfolio that showed any advertising work, it was something that I really wanted to get into and felt I could be good at (concept wise and art direction) so I took some time and created some spec work (not real projects) just to show my thinking and my design skills. I was looking at awards books, reading books on concepts, meeting up with creative directors from top agencies, I was a sponge, I wanted to learn as much as I can from everything and everyone. I eventually got a job at TBWA, an international advertising agency and thats how my advertising career kicked off. Whats important here was that I had no experience or portfolio on advertising but I took time to really work on my portfolio and it paid off, portfolio and persistence is key.