Since graduating in 2012, Tom Gordon has built an enviable career as a freelance art director and print design specialist.
We believe that high-quality education for life in contemporary arts practice is the creative catalyst for personal, professional and cultural transformation, and our manifesto includes ten propositions, written by our Principal, Professor Andrew Brewerton, that added to the themes of CREATIVE LEARNING and SOCIAL JUSTICE, define our strategic plans for the future. For our new campaign, we invited thirteen current students, recent graduates and alumni to contribute their own propositions.
Graphic Design graduate Tom Gordon’s clients include some of the biggest names in the music industry, from Foo Fighters, Michael Jackson and Katy Perry to the iconic Rolling Stones. We sit down with him to chat about his work as a designer, his time at the college and his proposition.
What keeps you inspired?
The space I live and work needs to inspire me just as much as any books or websites might do. I like to have everything around me to feel like something I would design for clients so there is a lot of texture and character in my home and studio. When I get out of the studio, Dartmoor is my favourite place to be, or enjoying a music festival in Europe.
From Beyonce to Boba Fett, you’ve worked for some big names. Can you tell us about your process?
As a graphic designer and artist in the music and popular entertainment industry, the work I produce has a very quick turnaround. In any normal work day, I can create anywhere between four and ten original designs for clients like Beyonce and Twenty One Pilots or franchises like Star Wars and Game of Thrones. My speciality is designing merchandise, so this can be as simple as adapting existing designs or it can be a completely custom illustration. I work in my home office on a custom desk I built for myself to accommodate all my equipment and my Wacom tablet.
Tell us about your proposition.
The recycling symbol was a nod towards the lifestyle my partner and I enjoy, with a focus on not getting rid of old things and instead using them to make something new and beautiful. The college’s ethos of sustainability impacted me during my studies and I’ve continued to implement that in my work and personal life.
What drew you to Plymouth College of Art?
I was immediately impressed by the college's facilities and focus. The lecturers were professional and knowledgeable with a genuine interest in developing their students, this support was invaluable. In the first year, I was introduced to a multitude of different techniques in print, photography and calligraphy amongst other things which have proved to be really beneficial.
What would be your advice for emerging designers?
The biggest challenge for emerging artists will always be getting the exposure to be successful. For anyone going into the freelance world it can feel very oversaturated and it takes a lot of hard work and skill to get noticed above the noise. The best way to get ahead is to work on projects, briefs and competitions for clients alongside your studies. It’s not only beneficial to have paid work when you study but it also helps to develop your own style.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
After working away my 20’s I would love to find myself working at a slower pace in 10 years time. I can’t imagine I would handle the immense pressure of what I do now for any longer than that and I would love to spend more time creating art for myself and in particular I would love to release a book.
Follow Tom on Instagram @fuggartdesign.