John Morgan — John Morgan Studio

Describe the Ideal Candidate in three words


What’s the best way to get noticed at application stage?
No tricks or gimmicks. Rarely would I read a CV nearly all relationships with interns or staff have begun with a conversation, after a talk, workshop or teaching episode.

What’s the most common mistake people make when they apply for jobs?
I have a problem with the use of the word ‘collaborate’. Many students and freelancers are looking to ‘collaborate’ with my studio. While this is no doubt well-intentioned in most cases, it suggests an equal relationship, which I’ve never found to be the case. I find it takes about 1 year before any assistant or employee begins to make a useful contribution, by year 3 it’s a slightly different story.

Does it matter what you wear to an interview if your portfolio is stunning?
I found from my time teaching at St Martins, that there was an inverse relationship between how hip a student was and the quality of their design work. The most fashionable student tended to produce the most predictable work. By definition if you are following fashion no matter how small the cliche, you’re unlikely to take risks or be prepared to make mistakes that might be uncool. Posture is bad news. That said an awareness is good, it helps if it is a conscious choice. However, clothes are often determined by many factors out of the wearer’s control, budget, time, taste, and these things like design sensibility can develop if given time and space.

What’s the one thing a potential employee can do that will impress you?
If they can demonstrate knowledge / awareness of my studio’s practice. It really does help if they are familiar with the working culture.

Is it possible to do too many internships?
For a student during term breaks then no, but once graduated then yes. Too many could suggest you weren’t worth keeping on (besides unless you are independently wealthy you won’t be able to afford to do too many). Increasingly internships are only affordable by those who have the means to support themselves or those that come from more privileged backgrounds — it’s an unfair form of selection and advantage.

About John Morgan Studio
John Morgan established his eponymous design studio in 2000. He currently has a team of 4 designers. This expands and contracts from 3 to 7 staff on a project basis with freelancers.

Clients include: David Chipperfield Architects, Four Corners Books, The Design Museum, Raven Row Gallery, The Church of England, The Architectural Association, Turner Contemporary