From Billy Blue student to Designer at Globally Awarded Creative Agency M&C Saatchi. Todd Watts shares his study journey and tips for aspiring Communication/Graphic Designers.
What did you study at Billy Blue?
Bachelor of Communication Design
When did you graduate?
What were you doing before you started at Billy Blue?
I was studying at CATC (Billy Blue's sister college) and before that I studied Audio Engineering whilst working with my father as an apprentice sign writer. At the time I had no interest in becoming a graphic designer.
Why did you choose to study design – did you switch careers or upskill to improve your career prospects?
I just fell into it. My friends were always asking me to help them with social media advertising because I was good at it. I think my talent for design grew out of spending so much time watching my father work as a sign writer. Design always felt right to me, so I took a leap of faith and haven't looked back since.
Why did you choose Billy Blue?
I looked at other universities but at the time I was very busy, I needed a University that could accommodate my busy schedule. CATC and Billy Blue offered this and also had some incredible lecturers. Above all, the course gave me choices so it was definitely the right option for me.
What prompted you to pathway to Billy Blue after completing your diploma at CATC?
CATC gave me so many skills but I always just wanted to learn more. To me being a graphic designer is about more than just knowing the Adobe suite. I wanted to learn about communication, about ideation and purposeful design.
What was your favourite part of studying at Billy Blue?
My favourite part was the challenge. I loved questioning everything I thought I knew about design and every day being opened to a new world of possibilities. The connections and networks I made were also invaluable.
How has studying at Billy Blue helped you reach your career goals?
Billy Blue has improved my ideation, creative thinking and confidence. I'm now much faster at finding design solutions and I've gained many tools to help me along the way. There was a time when I struggled with my self-confidence as a designer but since studying at Billy Blue I feel a strong belief in my abilities.
How has your career benefited from any industry connections made while at Billy Blue?
The skills I learned at Billy Blue were paramount in me becoming an animator at YellDesign and now I'm an integrated designer at globally awarded creative agency M&C Saatchi where I currently work. Outside of this work I am often collaborating with my classmates from Billy Blue on freelance design projects as well. I'm also still in regular contact with many of my lectures and often seek their mentorship and advice.
What advice would you give aspiring design students?
Learn as much as you can and don't ever stop learning. There are many ways to tackle a problem and you have to be open to discovering those possibilities. Never be afraid to ask for help.
Where are you currently working?
Describe the type of work you do and your typical work day:
At YellDesign we create short form animation social media advertising. Every day is something new. My roles include concept development for advertisements, pitching for advertisements, storyboarding, animation (digital and/or stopmotion), photography, set design (right now this is mostly paper craft) and social media marketing. I've just started at M&C Saatchi as an integrated designer.
My free-lance work involves brand development, brand activation and digital design.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I've loved being responsible for the advertising of large clients such as VW, Google, AMEX and Twitter.
Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
I'm not sure exactly where I'll be…10 years feels like a lifetime away. I'm interested in working on exciting projects with passionate people, and so I'm happy to go wherever that ideology takes me.
Fancy following in Todd's footsteps? Check out our Bachelor of Communication Design course