How Embracing Change Can Lead to a Better Career

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Angela Kirkwood’s punky, vintage graphics have found a legion of fans on social media – and the story behind her distinctive style is one of joyous rule-breaking.

Illustrator and animator Angela Kirkwood describes her work as an “explosion of fun and happiness”, but it’s been a journey to get to this point. She studied illustration at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, but after graduating in 2015, she couldn’t figure out how to turn her degree into a career. “For a year, it was a struggle,” she says. After doing a few internships, the Edinburgh-based artist landed her first permanent position as a junior designer with an agency and discovered that the creative industry wasn’t quite what she dreamed of.

“When you get these jobs, at first you start and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so lucky to be working here, it’s amazing,'” she explains. “Then over time, in my experience, working in agencies is very long hours for very low pay, and in the agencies I’ve worked in, our values ​​didn’t align, to put it mildly. politely.”

Top: Illustration for TRImarchi DG; Above: Photos from Copy Cat’s music video for No Frills
CopyCat music video
Copy Cat music video footage for No Frills

Kirkwood resisted for several years. She says she witnessed sexism, a “bro culture” that often left juniors feeling left out, and felt the general feeling that people’s enthusiasm for design was being exploited.

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