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Finding the balance between context and purpose with Gizmo Beardon | #MemberSpotlight

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Having worked in a wide range of industries, including broadcast, exhibition and education, motion graphics designer Gizmo Beardon has learnt that for a vision to succeed, the design needs to sit within the boundaries set by its context and purpose.

In other words, this means the need to understand what the client is trying to achieve before getting all creative.

Fresh from being named one of our 10 most exciting motion graphics designers, we caught up with Gizmo to discuss where he’s come from, where he’s going and how he’s planning to get there.

How did you get into the industry?

It took me 6 months after I finished university, but I was lucky to get a break working on a children’s animated tv series. From here I had many shifts and changes in career but always managed to keep an element of design and animation within the roles I’ve taken.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

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I’m currently based outside of London, and I’ve been freelancing for 3 ½ years. I’ve worked with great clients and on some fantastic projects, it’s such a pleasure to able to do motion graphics.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

That’s a tough question – I love the process of design and building so maybe something in engineering.

Can you explain your creative process? What makes it unique?

For me it’s down to researching as much as possible, everything is content driven. Understanding the messaging and what you’d like the audience to take away helps to shape the initial stages of the design and should then flow through to the final piece.

How would you describe your style?

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Style is often dictated by the client or the project, so I have to stay flexible and work within constraints of what the final piece needs to achieve. For instance, my animated short “The Factory” was originally going to be done in a hyper-realistic style but going down that route didn’t fit with the message.

So, I switched to a toon style which gave a darker tone to the piece without it verging into horror.

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

There are so many individuals that I gain inspiration from, the quality and range out there is outstanding and a little intimidating. But my hero is probably Ray Harryhausen, his work is one of the reasons I wanted to get into this industry, an incredible individual.

What tips would you give to aspiring creatives looking for work?

I can’t emphasise just how difficult it is to break into the creative industry, it’s a catch 22 situation, clients/employers want people with experience but when you’re starting out you don’t have the experience.

But a great piece of advice I heard, which is a bit of a mantra for me, clients will only pay you for the type of work you’ve already done. So, keep building the portfolio and show examples of the work you want to get hired for.

With the personal pieces, create them as though they are for a client, work within a time and cost budget. When a client does ask how much time and cost was involved for a piece, you’ll have an answer ready.

What tips would you give to other professionals to get more clients?

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That’s an easy one, use Creativepool! But seriously I think it’s about networking, something I’m not great at but try to do.

What kind of tools/kit/software could you not do without?

I think it’s a case of right tool for the right job, I try to stay flexible, having been in this industry 20 years, I’ve seen fantastic software left to languish. So, you have to stay up to date with new software and techniques.

Luckily, I’ve always enjoyed learning new skills which is handy in this game. The one thing to remember though is that it always starts with pen and paper.

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Like most creatives, this is really hard, how many of us have half finished projects, and ideas left to gather dust. With client work it’s easier sometimes because you have to be focused and you have deadlines.

With personal projects I use flexible deadlines, just to help keep me on target. Whilst making “The Factory” I often fast-tracked shots to an almost finished state, so I could get a sense of what the final piece would look like, this really helped keep the motivation high during a long-term project.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

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My animated short “The Factory” is the achievement that I’m most proud of to date, it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. As a full-time employee, time for personal projects is rare and time is such a precious commodity that most spare time I would spend with family.

However, when I started to freelance, I found that in between client projects, I could focus on my own development and pieces.

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

I’d like to see more flexibility in the way that we work and the hours that we work, this is slowly starting to happen and maybe the only good thing to have come out of the pandemic. I just hope it’s not undermined by those individuals who think that Ebenezer is the role model for running a business.

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

For those thinking about going freelance for the first time, I’d definitely recommend “The Freelance Manifesto” by Joey Korenmann – it helped me to get my thoughts in order and a plan of action when I first went out on my own.

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