Alison Bates


- View Alison's Creativepool profile here


Twitter: @Pingsweetie

"I spent half my creative life as an advertising art director and the other half trying to find more varied ways to be creative. I loved the ideas and concepts and a bit of design for print and web but equally I like vector illustration, clay modelling, making soft sculptures, montages... much to do, so little time!"

How long have you been a Freelancer for?
About 6 years now.

Describe your work in one sentence.
That’s too hard, the sound bite is, I’m a graphic designer with an illustrative and 3D bent, but really I prefer some adjectives: Colourful, conceptual, creative, left-of-field, kitsch, arty, childlike, maximal, fun. I’m a visual ‘Marmite’, you either love my stuff or hate it.

Who are some of the clients you have worked for?
I’ve worked for big names, Coca Cola, Shell, Mars, IBM, Virgin etc, but also lots you won’t have heard of, start-ups and people with big plans.

What's the most important thing you've learned in your line of work?
These two are of equal importance: If you don’t ask you don’t get, so be pushy! And on the flip side, it’s not big and clever to be rude and nasty, I believe you’ll reap what you sow eventually.

What attracted you to your chosen field?
I really LIKE the chance to be creative and I like variety. I do things that inspire me and clients choose me because they like what I do, they trust me to go away and do something a bit different.

Tell us about your best project to date.
I’ve just finished a miniature map for a London client made from Plasticine, toys and junk shop finds. That will end up being an interactive info graphic when it’s been programmed. That was grat fun. In my spare time I’m putting together a book with puppet pigs and miniature room sets, a sort of 70’s TV Paddington meets the Borrowers.(Needs a publisher if you know of one). And I have a wonderful golden dragon that’s a couple of sequins short of a photo shoot.

What sets you apart from your competitors?
I think differently, I’m intelligent and I’ve been around the block so I know what I’m talking about.

If you could work on any project for any company/organisation, what would it be and who would it be for?
I want to work on the new range in Paperchase, wrapping paper, lunch boxes, cuddly toys and such like. I’d like to be commissioned by the BBC to make a kids animated TV series featuring my pigs and while I’m waiting I fancy designing a new web site for LelliKelly shoes, just been looking at them today, I’m sure we’d be a perfect match.

What frustrates you the most about your job?
I work ‘remotely’ as I’ve got school age kids. That’s fab and I’m very lucky, but I miss the London vibe and a good chat. (Skype is my friend!)

What pearl of wisdom can you offer to someone thinking about starting out as a freelancer?
It’s back to the lessons I’ve learnt above. If you’ve got the guts to be pushy you’ll get somewhere, it’s a real talent and you’ve got to work your butt off but there’s no point being creative alone in a garret. And it really pays to be nice, I’ve seen some really talented but arsey people around in advertising, online, and in the workplace, and the world’s getting smaller and being nasty is so immature.

If you could have ONE super power, what would it be?

What's your favourite bit of kit?
Kit’s only as good as the hands that use it. Oh go on then, I like my Wacom tablet quite a lot.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
The name of my Brand ‘PingSweetie’ came about because I was looking for a hotmail account ‘back in the day’ and having such a boring name, I chose the name of a cuddly pig called ‘Ping’ and a bear called ‘Sweetie’. Embarrassing, but it sort of works.

What's your favourite song of all time?
Really? The sounds I hear scuba diving 30 metres under the sea.

What is your favourite app?
The Twitter app.

Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter as long as I can have my blog.

Eat In or eat out?
Out, always out. You askin? ;-)




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