Entering the job market can be quite daunting, especially after spending thousands of pounds of money you don’t have, on courses and degrees! Junior/entry positions requiring applicants to be well adept with five years experience, is one of the many mysteries of life that I have struggled to find an adequate answer to.
We previously featured Michael Makinde, one of the founders of TiTo (Talent in Talent out)- an app with the aim to make job applications redundant. I’ve now been blessed with the opportunity to speak with the talented graphic designer, Efosa Omorogbe who created the app which is due launch in the coming weeks.
Cycling through Canary Wharf on a Sunday evening to Efosa’s office, my thoughts were taken on a journey – ‘most people spend their Sundays relaxing – what the hell are we doing!’ This point reinforced the notion that the life of a creative/entrepreneur is not limited to a five day week; it’s a twenty-four seven, around the clock hustle and bustle. Blood pumping and feeling re-energized from my cycle, Efosa took me on a stroll around his workspace and as we walked he took me through his journey so far as a graphic designer and the businesses he’s involved with.
“I was doing a four-year university degree, going above and beyond working on projects for free. I wasn’t guaranteed a job and I was at a point where I felt being at university wasn’t improving my skills.” 2 years ago while at university, Efosa went through a period of barely having any money. Like many other students in that situation, he felt frustrated and began to look for a paid job. Potential unpaid internships at companies that he would thrive in was not an option. It was not until a random conversation with a stranger at a wedding, changed all that.
“Just 2 weeks before the wedding I had learnt how to create a website. The stranger who happened to be my namesake told me about a dilemma he was having in his business, which led him on a search for a competent web designer. I told him I could do it and within two days I was able to create a website that met both his and clients needs. He was impressed and told his business partner, Hassan, about me. From then they made it clear that they wanted me part of their team.”
It was at that point Efosa’s job hunting came to a brief stop; he now had to consider taking a year out of university, which was strongly discouraged by his family members and tutor. Efosa decided to take a leap of faith by taking a year out of university; how would this new career development transpire?
“What I learned that year, I definitely couldn’t have learned during university. I went from taking 6-month projects at university to completing same projects within two to three days in the working world. Actual work experience developed my skills rapidly.”
Two years from that fateful meeting Efosa had at the wedding, Efosa is now a partner in the business (Formless – www.weareformless.com), which has grown from strength to strength. His business partner, Hassan Kamara, recently brokered a deal to work alongside Ogilvy – one of the largest advertising and marketing agencies in the world.
Efosa has his hands dipped in multiple jars. I couldn’t comprehend how he could be so involved in various projects and still be a full-time student. “University became easier for me. The year I took out allowed me to gain real-world work experience and developed my skills to a level where I don’t find university complicated.” Efosa became exposed to an environment where projects were being turned over at such a quick pace, that any practical project at university became second nature to him.
Efosa made a promise to his lecturer that he would come back to his complete his degree, regardless of his situation. Efosa spoke very highly of his tutor, and I think the respect he has for him may be the reason why he has kept his financially expensive promise.
His tenacity to work hard and work on multiple things at the same time is something that he attributes to his mother. “My mother and father have been separated for a long time. I have seen my mum do almost everything herself for my siblings and I – she is my biggest role model when it comes to getting things done.”
Living in Hoxton, next door to Shoreditch, an area known for creativity and tech, you might think that may have had an influence on the young graphic designer, however, I was surprised to be told otherwise. “I never really ventured into Shoreditch, it wasn’t creative back when I was growing up. I only properly noticed it last year, when I came back from University.”
I was curious to know what it takes to be a “good” graphic designer. “Being a professional graphic designer means that you have to know your client. It doesn’t matter how good your skills are if you don’t understand clearly what they want, whatever you make is not going to meet their needs.” Efosa has had to learn how to become a people’s person and ask the correct questions; he learned from experience that asking the wrong questions can cause you to produce work which looks good but does not meet the needs of the client.
“Graphic design is all about psychology, and understanding people and creating graphic work that embodies the values and needs of your client – when a client smiles I know that I have done my job…I create happiness for people”
“My friends tell me that I should find something outside of work to relax. Graphic design is therapeutic for me; my work is my play.”
Even though he loves his work, Efosa admits that it can be energy consuming, and his aspirations are a lot bigger than creating graphic artwork. “I give a lot of myself to each project; I want to get to a level where I’m art directing rather than doing the actual labour of creating graphic work on illustrator/photoshop.”
There is an air of confidence with each word that he pushes out. Efosa’s underdog mentality and the desire to continuously improve is a sure sign that he’s destined for greatness.
“I’m working hard for my dreams to come true, so my dreams can work for me.”
TiTo as previously mentioned is the app Efosa has been recently working on, and it’s set to be released shortly. He feels this app is going to change the landscape of opportunities for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals who may not have the years of experience, but have the proven capability of producing the results.
The app will be launching shortly on iOS devices. You can find out more about TiTo here – www.titoit.com/