Thursday, June 28, 2018

CAA Careers: Funko Product Designers ...part 2

Today I bring you advice from a second Funko Product Designer, Sophie Brown. Sophie shares her thoughts on developing a broad skillset, and the importance of networking. Check out Sophie's clear and well-presented portfolio at the end :) 

My role at Funko is Product Development Assistant 

My Education

I studied Product Design at university, I'd always loved product design since school, so it was a pretty easy decision for me once it came to deciding what to do after I'd finished my A-Levels! 

The course itself was quite different to what I expected it to be but turned out to be for the best. It was quite an engineering focused version of product design which I think may have benefited me when looking for jobs as it broadened my skill-set in a larger range of areas. For example, along with units based on design briefs, following through to prototyping & testing, we also had units based on materials and manufacturing processes where I learnt about materials and their properties, and along with this different manufacturing processes for these materials. This helps a lot when designing products as this can often influence the design itself as it needs to actually be possible to make the product, at a reasonable cost. Along with this I also had units based around mechanics and physics which proved to be very useful when completing my final year project at university. 

My final year project encouraged me to learn new skills in areas very much out of my comfort zone. For example I was designing a product which included electronics and I was determined to create a working prototype of the finished design so therefore I had to learn some basic coding in order to make this happen - it took a lot of trial and error but once I had it working it made me realise you should never limit yourself to what you're good at or comfortable with, it's always great to have new skills.

Another unit I completed was student enterprise, which was built up from a mixture of courses where in small teams we created our own small businesses. This was a great way to experience working with people that were studying a range of different subjects, just like how in any job you need to be able to work efficiently with people in different job roles.

There were units that I didn't think would be much use to my future prospects but now I'm working it's easy to see how it is very beneficial to have that broader knowledge.

Work Experience

Having only graduated last year the experience I have gained so far has been from my current role here at Funko and my placement year at university. My course was one which offered a sandwich year placement, however it wasn't the easiest to find a relatable, paid placement. It took a fair few rejections and sifting through many jobs that were 'kind of' similar to what I thought I wanted to go into but not quite right, however I still applied for them all! It was difficult at that time as well as I hadn't had any experience working as a designer by that point, so it was hard to know what area I wanted to go into as well and what I thought I was best suited to. The placement I actually ended up in came about from when I attended the London Toy Fair, and one of the speakers (my future boss) mentioned about internships within their company at HTI Group (toy company), I sent him an email with my CV and portfolio as soon as I got home and ended up with a placement year as a product designer for a toy company - my dream job before I even knew it! I think for me this was the best thing that could've happened as I was then building my design experience in what I think is one of the most fun industries to be able to design for. 

At HTI Group my manager was based in Hong Kong so I would have frequent skype meetings with him and he would often come to the UK to visit the team here. I was, at the time, the only London based designer as the majority of the design team were in Hong Kong, with one other designer being in the Lancashire base. This meant I had to be flexible with the tasks I was doing which was a great insight into all the tasks a design team within a company has to cover which turned out to be not just designing products. During this placement year I learnt a lot of skills using the Adobe Creative Suite, having only used 3D CAD software at university this was beyond beneficial for me as I now have another range of software under my belt which I actually use every day still now!

This placement year definitely helped direct me to a company like Funko, I have been here for 8 months now and never thought I would enjoy working as much as I do! Seeing one of your ideas move from you creating the initial concept design then following it through the stages to being created into an actual product is so rewarding, and very very cool!

Job Searching

It's never the easiest looking for jobs, especially straight after university as it can be very confusing knowing what route to take which adds to the stress of finding a job. I was applying for jobs for about a month and a half until I found Funko. I had about 4 interviews, all of which went very smoothly I thought but I kept receiving what seemed like rejection after rejection after rejection, all with the same reasoning - you came across very well in your interview but you just don't have enough experience (most wanting me to have 2-3 years experience). It seemed harsh as to be able to get the experience I needed someone to give me a chance in the first place for that to happen, along with this it's easy to let it knock your confidence with thinking you might not even get into your desired role after all the hard work. I then saw Funko's job advertised, and with my placement year being within similar sort of industry this seemed like the perfect role. I think this is where my placement year benefited me as all of the experience I had gained here was very relatable to the role I was applying for here at Funko. So if there is a specific area you know you want to go into, it might be worth even finding a short term internship just to build up your experience in that specific area.

Typical day

As a product development assistant a lot of the work I do revolves around getting the initial concept through to an actual product. Working with licensors to get approval on our concepts, working with factories to ensure the samples are created as close to the original design as possible and working with the PD team here at Funko UK to come up with and create great new designs.

I originally wasn't doing that much design at the beginning however after a short while into my role I was able to have a go at creating initial design concepts etc and from here I have been able to take on more and more design related tasks which has been fantastic! This shows how your role might not end up being what you think, and it can change according to what skills you have to offer. 

Portfolio link

HERE'S a link to my design portfolio, I would often design something extra/ suited to the company I was applying for so this one has an example of that on the last page.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Graduation 2018 / Congratulations 'Class of 2018'!

Hearty - and heartfelt congratulations to the 'Class of 2018'!  What a scorcher!  I know not everyone was at the ceremony, and I know too not everyone made it up onto the balcony for the ad-hoc group photos, but this moment was yours nonetheless.  It is always a genuinely moving and uplifting day!  Well done everyone, we're all very proud of you and we look forward to your next adventures! 

'Be amazing!'

CAA Careers: Funko Product Designers / Part 1

As you consider your future careers, it is important to remember that many of the skills that you have learned on CAA are transferable, and you may find yourself walking a different path at some point in the future... Here Dipesh Patel, Graphic and Product Designer at Funko, talks about his journey from university to where he is now.

My Education

I studied Graphic Design at university so it was quite a broad course, and one of the important things I learnt was to not just rely on the skills you learn at university but go that extra mile. There were so many designers on my course who would have all been graduating at the same time and applying for jobs at the same time so I had to think of a way to differentiate myself from the other students. I taught myself video editing and animation and this has helped a lot applying for jobs. Employers tend to not only look for someone that is skilled in one area but someone that is flexible, for example one day in my current job I could be working on developing concepts for new products and then the next I could be editing videos. It is always good to develop your own skills in your own time as well as at university.

If you’re still not sure what area of the industry to go into, try and get some internships, even if they are for a few weeks; you will be able to learn a lot about the industry. I originally wanted to go into editorial design but after having a 3week internship with The Sunday Times Magazine, it completely changed what I wanted to do, there was not as much creative freedom so I knew it wasn’t the industry for me. 

I would recommend trying to get real world experience because it is a big change to working on university briefs. If you can’t get real world experience be active and create your own briefs and projects to add to your portfolios or show reels. As a designer, you should be passionate about what you’re designing and the best way to do that is to design for yourself, this will also enable you to improve your skills. Always think about how your skills can be used in other areas not only animation, a lot of skills you learn in one area are transferable to different industries, and this will make you stand out more to future employers. 

Job Searching

Before you start applying for jobs I would recommend making sure your portfolio/ show reel is only full of work you are proud of and you can talk about with passion. One thing employers hate is when people show them work that they clearly didn’t enjoy doing but put it in to bulk up the portfolio. It isn’t so much about quantity but more about quality of work. When looking for a job try to get one in an area you are interested in and don’t just take the first job that comes up. It will be disheartening when you can’t find one but you don’t want to be stuck in a job where you don’t enjoy the work because it will destroy your passion for design. Also take internships because sometimes those internships can lead to full time jobs.

Also consider if you would like to be freelance or fulltime - with freelance you get more variety in the job and you can pick and choose what you work on but it can be very risky as there is no guarantee that you will have constant work coming to you so you may go months with no work.

I have been fortunate to get a job in an industry I’ve wanted to work in but this obviously wouldn’t happen to everyone so if you are in a job you don’t enjoy keep at it and get the experience because you will still learn new skills and develop as a designer and it will benefit you in the end.

My Work Experience

I didn’t find a job till 3 months after I graduated, but I stuck at it and in the end, was lucky enough to get an internship with a film marketing agency. Like I said earlier, it’s good to have those extra skills because when I went for the interview the agency was impressed with the fact that I knew video editing and animation and that was one of the reasons I got the job. 

This internship luckily went onto a full-time job and I was lucky enough to work with film companies like Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers and Fox, creating marketing materials, style guides and producing show reels. A large part of this was also working on events to promote future films for these companies and it was the work on one of these events that led to my next job.

After 2 years at the marketing agency I was able to get a job at a film production company called Legendary. In this job, I did a lot of event design, marketing promotions, creating style guides, building franchises, video editing and 2d Animations. I got to work on a variety of different kinds of projects, and a lot of them to short deadlines so it was a very fast paced environment, and we were only a team of 4 designers so there were a lot of late hours, and working to international times. 

Another 4 years later and the Funko job came up and I had to apply, being a huge fan and collector of the figures. I never had experience in product design but because of projects I had done for previous jobs they could see that my skills were transferable to what they needed. Again, with this job I have worked on a variety of different projects from product design, marketing, events and video editing. This job has introduced me to a lot of new things that I didn’t know before, so even after 6 years in the industry I’m still learning. 


We actually come up with all the concepts in photoshop and then work with directly with a Chinese team to work on the 3D Turnarounds; they use Maya mainly as it compatible with photoshop. I also have past experience using Maya as again it is a great software to work with After Effects. A great software we sometimes use to create 3d models of event areas is Google SketchUp.

HERE is a link to my the portfolio I used when I was applying for jobs, I would say the layout is very important and you want to have a variety in your portfolio. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

CAA Careers: Children's book illustrator wanted!

Author Helen Lockley is looking for an Illustrator to illustrate her book of short stories for 6-8 year olds - here's what she has to say...

'I am looking for someone to work with who could do some illustrations for a children’s book I have written (children’s short stories written in prose). As the book is for 6-8 year olds, I am looking for drawings that are wholesome like Beatrice Potter illustrations, but with vivid colour like Disney as I am aware if I am to entice children to read my book it is the illustrations that will draw them in. Illustrator needs imagination as there are 20 diverse stories to cover, and perhaps as many as 4 drawings to do for each story.'

Closing date: none specific but would like to have book in production by June 2019


CAA Careers: Paid work experience opportunity in Chatham

Acacia is based in the Innovation Centre, Chatham, and has the following to offer -

An opportunity has become available for a Digital Marketing Assistant internship with immediate start on a flexible basis.

'Acacia is an award-winning Kent-based brand design studio. We are one bubbling pot full of branding, strategic, creative and technological expertise. We have over 20 years of brand design expertise working with brands such as Deloitte, Mercedes-Benz, and Sony in France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. We have over 20 years of brand design expertise working with brands such as Deloitte, Mercedes-Benz, and Sony in France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK.'

About the role
  • Social media marketing: developing a distinct online presence by attracting high numbers of internet followers through social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ 
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) 
  • Digital communication, web design and email marketing 
  • Content research and creation (articles, blogging, case studies, infographics) 
  • Brand strategy, brand identity and brand communication 

Working hours are flexible, and the internship is not always office-based. Our team works remotely across various locations, as our work is cloud-based. However, you will receive all the guidance and mentoring needed via weekly face-to-face meetings and daily team catch-ups via Skype. The overall duration of the internship can vary from one to five weeks.

What’s in it for you?

You’ll get hands-on professional experience working on a range of digital marketing campaigns using Agile working methodologies. By the end of the internship you will have acquired expertise in key digital tools and best working practices. This will enable you to further your studies and career and continue to build your personal online brand.


You will have an excellent command of the English language, good oral and written communication, organisational skills, confidence and a genuine desire to pursue a career in digital marketing.

Ideally, you have an international outlook, and French language skills would be a bonus, but are not essential. In addition, you will have at least five of the following skills/traits: 
  • Analytical 
  • Creative 
  • Intrinsically motivated 
  • Attentive 
  • Independent thinker 
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Collaborative 
  • French or foreign language skills a bonus (but not essential) 

No prior professional experience is required but you must show genuine interest in marketing and digital technology. You will work closely with Acacia's team in developing multi-channel communication strategies.

To apply send your CV and a covering letter to: Fran├žois Reynier at:

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday, June 18, 2018

FAO CAA Yr 1 & 2 : New Designers 2018 Private View Tickets - Limited Availability

On Wednesday July 4th at 6.30pm it's the private view at New Designers 2018. Traditionally, this is the moment when the CAA exhibition stand brims with current students and alumni and it's always a big busy night.  I've got a few complimentary tickets for the Wednesday night and I'm offering them up on a first come, first served basis.  If you want to join us at the Business Design Centre, email me at with your postal address and I'll organise your ticket - but don't hang about, once they're gone, they're gone.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

CAA The Supplement / The technical and creative challenges of Disney Pixar's Finding Dory and Moana

The technical & creative challenges of animating 'Hank the Octopus' from Finding Dory (2016)

Hank the Octopus wasn't possible with the technology available 13 years ago for Finding Nemo (2003). In this interview Jeremie Talbot (Character Supervisor, Pixar)  and Brian Tong (Senior Editor, Disney) discuss how challenging Hank was to rig and animate, even with todays advancements in technology.

The technical & creative challenges of simulating water effects for Moana (2016)

Moana is one of Disney's most effects-filled animated movies. In this interview, Kyle Odermatt (Visual Effects Supervisor, Disney) and Brian Tong (Senior Editor, Disney) discuss how they met challenges of simulating complex water effects.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

CAA Careers: Graduating 3rd years - an opportunity to showcase your work!

Calling all 3rd years! 

'It’s Nice That' is excited to launch the tenth edition of The Graduates, its annual showcase of brilliant students graduating from a bachelors/undergraduate or equivalent degree in 2018.

Deadline for entries is 25th June.

Winning graduates will receive...

• an interview on It’s Nice That about your work
• a prime slot on the homepage on our dedicated one-day Graduates takeover 
• a chance to seek helpful advice and guidance from the It’s Nice That team and become part of our network 

Full details can be found HERE

CAA The Supplement / SIGGRAPH 2018 Technical Papers Preview

The SIGGRAPH Technical Papers program is the premier international forum for disseminating new scholarly work in computer graphics and interactive techniques. SIGGRAPH 2018 brings together thousands of professionals in the fields of computer graphics and interactive techniques. The conference takes place 12 - 16 August 2018 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. To learn more visit the website.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Trailer: Suspiria (2018)

And here it is... out with the disco palette and in with something more austere...

Monday, June 04, 2018

Post With The Most 04/06/2018

This is the first PWTM post-GDPR... and in order to comply with the new regulations I sent out an 'opt-in' email for those subscribers wishing to remain on our mailing list - and I deleted everyone else! We've probably lost a few loyal readers in our great data cull, for who amongst us hasn't felt snowed under by all the recent emails asking us to 'opt-in' (and who amongst us hasn't secretly enjoyed the idea of all those endless 'sell-you-stuff' emails just going poof into thin air!). If you didn't find the PWTM in your inbox this time - and you were expecting it, and you want to continue to receive it, please do drop me a line at and I'll sort it.  Similarly, if you're new to the PWTM and you'd like to join our new GDPR-compliant mailing list, then get in touch!

Incredibly, the next edition of the Post With The Most will be our New Designers Special Edition showcasing the final iterations of our final year films as they'll appear on our exhibition stand at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, in the first week of July.  How very quickly the wheel has turned!  This latest edition is of course a celebration of our students too - enjoy these creative highlights from all three years of Computer Animation Arts at the culmination of the academic year.

Fantastic Voyage is the final project of year one, wherein our new recruits cut their teeth on their first full cgi short film - commissioned by a client - and requiring them to take an idea from script to screen and thus negotiate the entire production pipeline.  It's no small feat, and this year our first years were typically ambitious.  Enjoy these three examples - Frankie Sutton's The Big Jump, which re-imagines the nuts-and-bolts of wind pollination as a Second World War boys-own adventure, Megan Robson's pinball-table themed cardiac cycle, and Annie Robert's 'Art Of' for her Pollination Waltz, which splices the principles of insect pollination with vintage ballroom dancing!

Frankie Sutton

Megan Robson

The Premise project is both an ending and a beginning, for while the project constitutes the final hurrah of Year 2, it also marks the beginning of year three.  Premise requires our year 2 students to develop the foundations for their final year films.  I really enjoyed their recent crit, where we got to see their ideas playing out as first pass animatics and proofs-of-concept, a selection of which I'm sharing here.

Graeme Daly


Storyboard panel / Anastasija Strelcova


It's a strange season for our final year students; after the high-stakes, high-anxiety and high-risk final few days of their respective projects, the actual hand-in and days afterwards are notoriously anti-climatic. At time of writing, our graduates-in-waiting are eyeballing the horizon for the announcement of their final degree awards, while the course team avoids their lazer-sighted eye-contact very assiduously for fear of giving the wrong impression.  Of course the real and lasting value of a university education is not itself enshrined in these students' final submissions - however resolved or otherwise.  The true value of these difficult and provocative three years will likely play out much more slowly; education is rarely an instantaneous transformation, but rather something understood finally after the distance of years.  That said, there are immediate goals met and high-achievements to be celebrated.  Enjoy this small selection of work from the 'Class of 2018' - and be aware for its makers there are still more tweaks, improvements and polishings to be undertaken before the London show. 

Tom Ward

*Dee's When is now a finalist at the SE10 Film Festival - congratulations!

*Some exciting news for Becky's film too, which has made the official selection for the Gold Coast International Film Festival!

Loyal readers of the PWTM will know all about the course's fantastical visualisation of Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide To The OrchestraIn addition to its various screenings alongside live orchestras in France, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Slovakia, Red & The Kingdom Of Sound is also taking in a grand tour of international film festivals.  One of our key responsibilities to the project is to use animation to diversify audiences for classical music - to get it in front of as many different types of people as possible, and with official selections in festivals in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Indonesia, Red is doing just that!  It's been a pretty exciting time for the Kingdom production team, collecting our laurels - not resting on them obviously! - and we were particularly thrilled to win 'Best Animated Short' at the Redline International Film Festival!  The making of Red & The Kingdom Of Sound was a proper 'family affair', with CAA's staff, graduates and students combining their efforts to get the job done; that our joint effort is out there garnering the attention of our peers is very satisfying!