DesignLab was a six-month program consisting of a series of workshops for graphic designers led by the artistic director of the established studio Milk. The aim was to provide young designers from all over Slovakia with a unique opportunity to gain rich experience in complex visual communication and thus enrich their portfolio, gain competitive advantage, and new contacts.
Thanks to DesignLab, we got to know eleven young talented designers who got a unique chance to learn from a person with more than 20 years of experience. During the six full-day workshops, the participants, led by a mentor, went through several topics which are key to quality visual communication at a professional level. Several of them were supplemented by the knowledge of invited experts from the field. For instance, Lucia Pašková, then the director of the successful company CURADEN Slovakia, joined us for one of the workshops.
- Who is a designer, and what should he/she master?
A general workshop aimed at explaining the basics of design. It was a theoretical introduction to what design is and who a designer is, what skills he should master, what visual communication is, and its overlaps and goals.
- Basic business knowledge
During this workshop, the participants focused on setting goals and processes, project management, planning, crisis, and financial management. How to price and correctly evaluate work and client service? How to build a relationship with the client and communicate with him? How to communicate internally and how to set up a company structure?
- Target audience and basic principles of communication and marketing
How to correctly identify the target audience, their needs and reach them? During this workshop, participants focused on setting priorities, identifying the volume of work and the basis of marketing.
- Building a brand
How to communicate business goals through design? How is a brand created, and what makes it strong? They went over basic principles and methods of creating a brand.
- Creative process
How to effectively set up a creative process from assignment to result, creative approaches and problem-solving, how to work and create in a team, how to involve the client in the creative process?
- Sales and self-promo
How to sell yourself and your work and how to get and keep a client? How to present your work and create presentations?
The program culminated in participation in a two-day international conference dedicated to design in Bratislava.
Martin “Žltý” Jenča
The lead mentor was Martin Jenča or “Žltý,” who is the founder, main graphic designer, and art director of the studio Milk. As a co-organizer and curator of the By Design Conference, he brings stars of the international design scene to Slovakia. Among other things, he is the editor-in-chief of the Backstage Talks. Last but not least, he is a co-founder of the Folk agency, which concentrates on promoting good ideas, products, and services. Milk also stands behind visual identities of brands such as Pohoda Festival, RTVS, Invisible Hotel, or Viktor Frešo Book.
Thanks to this program, selected firms had an exceptional opportunity to use a strong creative team to solve their challenges. For example, GlobalLogic joined the program, and participants, led by the mentor, helped define their target audience and proposed changes in their branding.
The idea of DesignLab was to increase the quality of local designers and promote cultural and creative industries in Slovakia. Our task was to act as a facilitator and enable change, connecting disciplines and sectors with a simple vision – to move the city of Košice forward. Take a look at the graphic designs that the designers prepared at the end of the program.