Professional Practice - Blog Nine

Updated: May 16, 2019

This week I visited Lise Brian at the Manchester-based design company The Chase ( Lise gave a talk to the third year students a few weeks ago and, afterward, I approached her about potentially visiting the studio to find out more about the company and meet the team. After arranging a suitable date via email I was able to make the trip this week.

To begin I had a tour of the studio where I met some of the team and discussed their current projects. It was great to see how they manage large projects through the division of staff members into teams who cover a range of specialisms.

Speaking with them it is clear they have a whole range of clients that cover a fast variety of projects, although The Chase tailor their approach to each individual project and client. This unique working style provides the company with their USP of being systematic, skilled, professional, yet adaptable, flexible and creative.

It was also fantastic to see within the studio space there was a room where The Chase Films operate.  Describing how they were previously a separate company, Lise went on to explain that after working on several projects together, over a number of years, they have become a part of the wider Chase Family.  It is great to see that connections can develop over time, building up to a stronger working relationship, to the point where people can merge and integrate into one business together.

The Chase Films’ work can be seen on their website

Once the studio tour had concluded I sat with Lise for over half an hour to discuss and review my current portfolio.

Some really important points were raised during our discussion including; although I may be attached to early works, I will need to update my portfolio as recent projects will reveal more about my working style and the abilities I have developed more accurately.

Plus, although it is great to end a portfolio on a high, I had left the best work until last and actually, Lise would have liked to see strong work at the beginning building up to my latest project.

Lise expressed a liking for the closing two spreads of my portfolio where I had pages depicting my Dialogue project from the initial idea to first tests, second tests, and final outcome.  Describing it as telling the story of the project captured her attention. She proceeded by saying how she understood the brief, development and my thought processes so much more than other projects and encouraged me to develop it further. Examples she gave of how I could do this included: a typeface for an architecture firm, incorporating bold bright colour to make it a new unique maybe digital typeface or even constructing the letters into a large 3D model to explore shape and structure further.

It was a fantastic time and although it was only my second time meeting Lise I feel we have developed a professional relationship and most importantly a contact in her which could bring new opportunities in the future. It is also important to say that Lise was very friendly and after discussing my portfolio work she has invited me back to the studio to show her any developments in the future.

Over the past few days, I have been online to research about the different membership packages available through Banks Mill.

The standard package is priced at £25 + VAT per month and includes a range of support including exclusive events, a website directory listing and, one-to-one business advice sessions.  At this stage, I don't believe this package would be suitable for me due to the cost but also due to the early stage I am in, in terms of my professional development. I believe this package would be suited to recently graduated students looking to work as a freelance designer or create their own company.  

However, Banks Mill also offers an Affiliate membership package for £50 per year. Although this does not include tailored support such as the one-to-one sessions it does allow creatives the opportunity to take part in the annual Open Studios Event,  submit work for exhibitions and have a discount when renting the space Banks Mill has for running workshops.

Over the summer break, I am going to look in more detail to see which of the opportunities, the Affiliate Membership package provides, would be suitable to me so I can make a decision on if this is something I would like to do moving forward.

More details about the membership packages Bank Mill provide can be found on their website

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