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Office tale of Adrian Cooper, graphic designer and art director

Office tale of Adrian Cooper, graphic designer and art director

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :
I’m Adrian Cooper, a Graphic Designer and Art Director that emigrated from the UK to make Canada my new home. I studied Design at the University of Huddersfield and then Art Direction at Falmouth College of Arts (which I think is now referred to as Falmouth University). The skills I gained at those institutions, plus a little bit of luck has given me great opportunities in my career and taken me to London (UK), Sydney (AUS) and now Toronto!

Your current job :
After 3.5 years at mid-sized agency here in Toronto, where I worked on a large automotive account, I decided to jump ship and enter the world of freelance and I haven’t looked back once! So far I’ve freelanced at some great agencies that have allowed me to work with clients ranging from advertising for a large telecommunications company to app design on gaming consoles, North and South of the boarder.

In which city are you located?
I’m originally from Manchester, England but now I apply my trade in Toronto, Canada.

A word to define what kind of worker you are :
Relentless. I love to push myself, the project I’m working on and the team I work with. As most creatives would likely agree, I’d rather take the time necessary to create well thought out deliverables. Sometimes I find that a challenge as I’m very mindful of my hours while freelancing- I would work all night if I could, but time is money (as Accounts have pointed out on occasion).

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..):
El Classico… Adobe CC, my note book, pen and my noggin.

What does your office space look like?
Bit of a mess at the moment. I’ve just moved and looking forward to renovating the office this summer. Saying that, it’s still a good head space for me and feel very at home at my desk.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
Phew… this is a broad one… As I answer these questions I’m listing to Robert Plant (going to see him this summer, super excited)…. My main staple is Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club and Arctic Monkeys… Fridays usually a medally of Brit Pop… and if my back is up against the wall on a project I walk on some Break Beats (Evil 9, Adam Freeland) or Trance (Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond.. etc)

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
I have a bit of a butterfly mind. So I work damn hard to implement process upon myself. I set my deadlines to give me goals to work to. This helps me get in the zone mentally… Otherwise I would probably watch a squirrel in a tree for about 6 hours before I would start work.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
Targets, targets, targets. I set personal goals on all my work. This helps me drive towards the best possible work I can achieve with what I have to work with. Also helps that my amazing girlfriend is a creative Project Manager, ha… she really pushes me.

You’re better than your colleagues to :
Hmmmm… I don’t see myself as better than someone else. I see it more as ‘yeah, I know more on this subject than my team mate’, but thats because they might have saved space in their head to have stronger knowledge in a different area. I like to work as a part of a team that works better collectively than individually.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
I’ve had quite a bit. I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best people in this field throughout my career. But I think the best advice I’ve heard was from an owner of a huge ad agency I worked at in London, UK. He said it’s ok to doubt yourself and your abilities. He found that the creatives that do have a live longer and more rewarding career as they never settle with that they have. They want to improve and always feel that they can do better. I remind myself of this all the time as I can be a bit neurotic about my work.

What is your best tip for saving time ?
Dedicating time slots to different areas of my days. I know it sounds vague, but figuring out your work, life, play and love balance really keeps my mind fresh and sharp as it can be.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?
This might help expand on the previous question… on an average day I wake up around 6-6:30 am. I walk to work at around 7:30am . At the moment it’s a 7.5km walk to where I work and during that time I send quick texts/emails to friends and family so I can try and catch up with their lives. I always aim to arrive 30 – 45 mins earlier than my start time at any job. That time, as well as my walk, allows me a to clear my mind before the day ahead. That way, when that clock strikes 9am, it’s creation time. I work way better in the mornings than the evenings so I crush as much of my projects out till around 3pm, then I focus on work related emails and review the work I’ve done for the day and if there is time left over, I like to review FormFiftyFive or other design blogs for inspiration and industry news. I always aim to leave at 5 (sounds crazy in this industry), but for me it works. I walk home and during that time I empty my head. Going through the day, analyzing my projects, what worked and what didn’t. Then my girlfriend and I cook and chat about each other days, giving each other advice if needed… in the evenings I do different things… ranging from Netflix to working… all depends on what’s going on.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
My headphones. I have simple needs. I love music and it’s a massive part of driving my projects and reflecting my moods.

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