Harry Akakpo is a creative director working with start-up businesses and is an all-round graphic design whizz. He also just happens to be based in our Creative Space here at IdeasTap HQ – where he is currently giving a series of lessons in Adobe InDesign. He tells us why picking his peers’ brains is an important part of his work and how he stays in the swing of things as a freelancer…
Full name/age/job title:
Harry Akakpo, 26, Creative Director
What does your job involve?
I manage creative projects and do branding, logo, graphic design and some photography and web design. I also work with start-up businesses, coupling traditional design with the project-based side of things in helping them develop their work in its early stages, when resources tend to be limited.
Five things you couldn’t work without:
1. Taking notes
While working with lots of different people as a freelancer it is useful to keep track by taking a lot of notes. I use Evernote, and Wunderlist just to get stuff out of my head, and I’ve got a little black book.
2. Staying in the loop
Books and magazines – such as Creative Review, Computer Arts, Digital Arts – and seeing other people’s work gives you an understanding of what other people are doing and how they approach projects. I also check American websites like Fast Company and Fast Design to stay in touch with what’s going on.
My Mac is obviously where I spend most of my time, on Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator – all the usual things! And I use my really huge Samsung Galaxy (which I love) to keep things flowing, with my calendar, events and tasks.
Being aware of what other people are doing and how they work is really useful because as a designer you have to be able to do different things, but it’s good not to spread yourself too thinly. I often find I’m calling on a designer who is better in a certain area than me to collaborate with. You build up a list of contacts – fortunately I was at LCC (London College of Communication) – and over time you find yourself working with your peers. It’s useful to keep these relationships going.
5. Printing as I go
It helps to print projects out while they’re in progress, especially if you are working in an office with other people – as I am at the moment in the Creative Space offices – so you can get feedback while you’re working on something.
Harry will be hosting an InDesign Masterclass at the Spa on Thursday 18 October. Sign up to the Spa to find out about similar events.
Applications for Creative Space are now open.