Glug: The new networking

Glug: The new networking

By Jo Caird 08/06/10

Freelance creative/designer Nick Clement set up Glug – “Creative Drinks and Notworking" – two years ago with Ian Hambleton to help people in the design and other creative industries to network more effectively. Glug events take place regularly in London, Brighton and Nottingham. Here Nick tells us what can be gained from “notworking”

Ian had a studio in Nottingham and I was working at a digital agency in London. We noticed that there weren’t many design events going on in London at the time – and those that were happening were usually focussed on advertising or graphic design and a bit bland really.

So we had the idea of getting a load of mates and clients together – just getting people talking, getting drunk and seeing what happened. That started with 20 or 30 people in a pub, then the next few grew until we decided to leave it for a while because it was getting a bit too drunken and debauched.

We thought, “we’ll have a break and we’ll do something a bit more for the community”. So we came back with the idea of opening it out to all disciplines, to creativity full stop. We liked the idea that an architect and a graphic designer, or a fashion designer and an illustrator, could meet and then mutually benefit from working together at some point.

Glug at Cargo

There’s no membership scheme. You just sign up on the Meetup Group, which is on the blog. There’s a fee of about £5 per event normally, which goes back into paying for materials and the artists’ beer money. We can’t really charge much because it would lose a certain essence of what we’re trying to do, which is just get people together. The moment you start charging money, people expect a lot more.

It’s still quite underground as well, which is nice; it keeps it fresh. Recently Design Week has taken notice and put a rather nice summary on their blog.

The demographic of the people who attend the events is really varied, from commercial guys to artistic types. It puts people on a level playing field – they can just get involved however they want, by talking to creative directors or talking to other artists. Numbers vary, but the biggest we’ve had is about 800 people, at the event at the Queen of Hoxton last summer.

Sometimes we have people exhibiting their work and we always have talks by interesting people in the industry. It all depends on the location. The talks have been quite a mixed bag, which we relish. We’ve had illustrators like Noma Bar and Grant Orchard showing off their animation work, the digital artist Marc Kremers talking about the state of the web, and Sanky, from AllofUs, who is also the deputy president of D&AD.

People do tend to mingle. They blend, the chat, it’s very informal. Creatives by nature are a bit rubbish at talking to other creatives so we try to encourage them. From a punter’s point of view though, you get out when you put in. It’s not like you have to network, it’s not that sort of event; it’s a lot more laid back than that. We have had a couple of complaints that it’s not a networking event, but that’s the whole point, it’s up to you. We’re just the orchestrators.

It’s essential that people network, but I don’t think creative people know how to. They don't have enough opportunity to do it outside of their own jobs, whether that’s design or illustration. The benefits are incredible though. A fine artist, for example, might see someone do something with digital media and that might trigger off ideas that take him or her down a different route. It’s also about getting really talented people to show their thinking. It’s always nice to see an idea from start to finish – that’s where the talks come in.

I like to think we’re providing a space that doesn’t otherwise exist. No one else caters to the whole industry. Not that we do, but we’re trying to. There’s always an illustration event, or a fine art or graphic design event going on but there’s nothing that really opens it all up to the masses.

To find out more about Glug events check out www.glugevents.com.

Nick Clement was talking to Jo Caird

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