Whether you’re a freelancer or a full-timer, you’ll probably spend a fair chunk of your days searching for printers, stationery, photography facilities and, of course, jobs.
They’re in abundance here in Bristol and the surrounding areas, so here’s a rundown of my go-tos for your reference:
If it’s high-quality litho and digital printing you’re after, Opal will do just the trick. I’ve used the Bath-based outfit countless times for client business stationery and printing jobs. It comes highly recommended if you ask me.
Whiteladies Road in Bristol is home to Greyhound, which offers a wide range of print services from litho to digital in any size. The competitive prices are backed up by the selection of print finishing options available for just about any job.
This is my local, if you will. I regularly stop by Colston Avenue in Bristol city centre for film and printing and always find the staff to be welcoming and willing to talk me through my options. The pricing structure at Photographique is a big draw for me, too.
I usually get my stationery bits and pieces from Cass Art in Bristol. There’s a great selection of pens and paper there and it has regular sales to make the already-competitive prices even more attractive.
For a bit of extra quality (and for a bit of extra cash), Papersmiths at 6a Boyce’s Avenue (Bristol) is always a good bet. Bespoke stationery, books, magazines and great gift ideas fill the shelves — once you see them, you’ll know they don’t scrimp on quality there.
It might be a national chain (and I always prefer to go independent), but Paperchase on Queens Road is always a failsafe for stationery and craft materials. If you’re a student, you’ll get 10 per cent off and if you sign up for a store card anyway, you’ll get a free gift on your birthday.
When it comes to finding jobs, Bristol is surprisingly active; one of the major facilitators of growth and collaboration in the area is Bristol Media. Its website is not just a job board full of opportunities to get a foot in the door with the best South West agencies — check it out at the link above to see what I mean.
Bath is one of the most creative hotspots in the country and it’s helped along by Creative Bath, an inspirational network of tech businesses, creative minds, industry events and job opportunities.
The Bristol-based equivalent of the above is led by artists and utilised by creatives throughout the area. This setup is all about networking and leading the way of marketing in Bristol, so it’s a great place to get your creative mind in gear.
Web Design Forum
This is one of my favourite sources of information for creative events in the local area. It’s well-established enough to attract some of the biggest industry experts out there, so the talks and workshops with like-minded people are worth keeping at least one eye on if you’re a designer.
You could say that Thread is the new kid on the block. Whilst it doesn’t yet have the heritage of other initiatives in the Bristol area, it’s well on its way in that it is already attracting some of the most talented agencies to speak, like DesignStudio and DixonBaxi, the agencies behind the new Premier League branding (2016/17) — it’s very promising, indeed.
There’s always something fresh happening at Spike. Its workspaces inspire designers and remote workers from all around and its café, Spike Café, feeds and waters them from a great menu. You might easily spend a lot of time there (you can thank me later).
As far as small, independent camera shops go, this is up there with the best I’ve seen. I recently purchased my Panasonic G7 from there and couldn’t have been more impressed with the experience. The knowledge and accommodating nature of the staff are much more appealing than what you might get in nationwide chain stores these days.
London Camera Exchange
For a bigger selection of camera equipment, you might want to check out London Camera Exchange. There are shops in both Bath and Bristol, so you’ve got more chance of items being in stock and you’ll always get treated professionally by the well-informed staff.
Keeping with the local theme, Calumet up near Montpelier train station is another favourite of mine. The variety of cameras, studio equipment and accessories is as astounding as the staff’s willingness to help.
Ad Lib Recruitment
I love the brand as much as the service at this place. It’s got a good reputation in the area and for good reason; there is always an interesting range of short- and long-term creative opportunities for designers to take on, trust me.
A little further afield is Creative Mettle in Cheltenham; it’s thoroughly professional and just great at unearthing opportunities for me as a designer. It comes highly recommended in my book.
If you want to think laterally and take your search outside the creative industry, go to Mustard Jobs. You’ll find a fantastic range of low-hanging fruit and long-term investments to tuck into — get involved.
Do you know of any excellent local places for designers and creatives in Bristol? Let me know!