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How to shamelessly self-promote what you create at AUB


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It’s one thing to create and make during your time at AUB – it’s another to get your work out there.

Sharing your projects with more than friends is just the start of your creative work and what you make. But with so many ways to share – the #AUBMAKERS pop-up shop we set up in Poole high street last year, as well as our numerous on-campus events and market days – it’s knowing what direction to pursue.

First of all, it’s important to take a step back and see what you’re already comfortable with. Almost all of us have interacted to social media to some extent and we all have a creative eye. So, use this to your advantage. How can you work some magic with your current skills to get your stuff out there? Where do you already have some following, or what will fetch you the most interest? Evaluating what you can already work with is a great place to start.

…But which one should I use?!

Let’s make one thing clear: there’s no ‘perfect’ social media platform. But that’s what makes them so unique as a way to promote your specific medium as a creative.

We spoke to BA (Hons) Illustration third-year student Sophie Hardyman, who uses Instagram to showcase her art prints and limited edition risograph books, as well as being featured at the #AUBMAKERS shop. Sophie began posting to Instagram in 2016 as a form of personal documentation, and now it’s her main outlet for showcasing her professional work.

"I find a lot of my inspiration and information regarding trends on Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest as a consumer myself. Personally, I receive the most engagement on Instagram from Reels (GIFs and animations) due to their resemblance to TikTok videos. I’d recommend sharing your work through shortform video content, as within the current climate, this receives the most reach and engagement."

Another important thing to consider, once you decide on what platforms to use, is consistency, as Sophie tells us:

"Nowadays, I post weekly or monthly, but I try to be consistent with the amount I'm posting at one time."

So, keep your audience invested with updates, passion projects and final products to show you’ve always got something in the works.

Let’s get professional

Let’s say you’ve started promoting around on socials. Perhaps you’ve attracted some interest... even sold a few items. Now, it’s time to really get yourself out there.

Websites not only look great, but they’re seriously professional. It’s a great look for potential clients, employees and buyers who show interest in your creative projects and ideas. Plus, it gives you a voice. Just like social media, they're a sleek way to express your aesthetic, but in a simple way that anyone can access, which Sophie managed to achieve:

"I considered my strongest and most realised works to be the focus of my website. I also wanted my website to be simple to navigate, with a main homepage highlighting my projects. Your portfolio is never finished, but a working documentation, so don’t feel you need to have it perfect before posting online."

You may have also heard of website builders such as Wix, Ionos and Cargo. These are great starting points; it’s crucial you do a little research and find out what works best for you.

"Initially, I had a website with Wix, but since progressed to using Adobe portfolio, which I’ve found to be extremely easy to update and change as I progress as a creative individual."

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A little help from…

…Other creatives! AUB’s campus and community are often overlooked, but they're the perfect way to meet like-minded creatives and artists to pursue collaboration with. While your work, knowledge and passions are the first step in shameless self-promotion, the people that you know might be next.

Think of cross-collaboration as pollination – you’ll not only be sharing your potential nectar and ideas with other students, but you might be inspired by their work too, meaning double the inspiration and double the promo (and a whole lot more flowers if you're lucky). Sophie's coursework has included proposed designs for Mind and Depop X Temporary Territory, as well as external collaborative projects:

"Personally, I’ve been involved in a few extra briefs alongside university projects: a graphic design project, designing resources for disabled adults to help them get into interviewing settings, as well as workshops with Lush, where I worked with people across courses and years."

Something else to consider is collaboration with creatives outside of your studies, or even AUB. This could range from starting a podcast with your friends, to working on a mixed-media anthology with an illustrator you follow on Instagram, to pursuing creative outlets in your own time like Sophie does.

"Passion projects outside of university are extremely helpful for allowing you to relax and expand your creative mind with other forms of expression. I personally have a love for photography outside illustration and make sure to do photoshoots or take my camera on walks."

The possibility to collaborate and inspire others has unlimited potential – where do you want your creative journey to take you?

Top tips

Sophie’s success in growing an audience and showcasing her illustrative prints is a testament to her talent. But what advice does she have for current students wanting to do the same?

"Simply posting progress on Instagram is overlooked and makes for a great personable art account. Start posting what you enjoy making and seeing, and follow those who inspire you in your own life, as well as famous artists. Don’t be afraid to approach or direct message other artists to ask for advice, or just reach out to show appreciation. Another important part of promoting yourself is being an approachable, friendly human.

"My last piece of advice is to make the most of the opportunities university gives you! Extra briefs or opportunities to work with others from different courses is invaluable for experience and portfolio building. Make things that fill you with joy, and things that relate to what you want to do in the future!"

So, before you start promoting what you make: identify your current audience and what you can amplify, consider the professional route of a website, and reach out for collaborative opportunities. You don’t have to look far while at AUB.

Remember, this is just the start of your creative journey. Be shameless, ruthless and outspoken in what you create, and never doubt your potential.

Check out Sophie's work on Instagram.

Something to think about

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