After I graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts in 1987, I had to find employment to put my graphic design and art history training to work. Back then, rather like now, jobs were rather ‘thin on the ground’ and I had to do a period of voluntary work with the Citizens Advice Bureau, whilst pursuing my first step on the elusive career ladder. I had some temporary work for Busways in Newcastle upon Tyne, but was still looking for permanent work when my former teacher at the Institute, George Thompson, rang me and told me about a job for a graphic designer in the Scottish border town of Langholm.
ABOVE: Me, with my thinking cap on, at my desk at Ashley Bank House (you can see some of the logo designs).
I applied for the job at The Edinburgh Woollen Mill and got an interview. They must have been fairly impressed with my presentation and my graphic work, as I started receiving some freelance work from them; this was probably to see what my work ethic and creativity were like. The fast-and-furious deadlines were enough to give me veritable nightmares, especially as there were no such things as e-mails and sending pdfs (not that I knew of anyway). Everything had to be hand drawn and coloured to the best of my ability and within the set timescales. When the work was complete it was a mad dash to the Post Office in order to post the work to them in time to meet the deadline.
After a number of months doing this home-design work, I was very grateful to be given a contract in early April 1988 and started working at Ashley Bank House (a former hotel), which was part of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s base in Langholm. I later went to work at Waverley Mills, where I did a lot of the design work for the marketing department. My time was spent creating logos for the company and P.O.S (point-of-sale) material, which was a large bulk of my work during the two-years that I worked there.
I will write some more about my first job on another blog post at a later date and include some more of the work that I did for this forward-thinking knitwear company.