Placements 16 – 17

    This years students share some of their thoughts, experiences and hopefully give advice to those of you who may well be looking to follow the same path.


    MATT BUCKLEY

    Which company(s) did you do a placement with and how long for?
    True North : 3 months
    22 Group : 2 months

    What’s the most important thing you learnt from your placement(s)?
    The most important thing I leart during placement was speed, deadlines were pretty tight so I had to work fast and generate ideas quickly.

    How did you find accommodation and how much did it cost?
    I lived at home as I live fairly close to Manchester so I was getting the train which cost me £80 a week.

    What were you asked in the interview?
    I was asked to go through my portfolio and talk through my ideas.

    What did you ask in the interview?
    What is expected from placement student?

    Did you get paid and roughly how much?
    I was paid £100 a week.

    What was the most unusual thing you did
    The most unusual thing I did on placement was playing with lego at true north as this was one of the clients at the time and they were doing a stop motion film for a pre-school range.

    What experience from your placement(s) are you going to put into practice, now you are back at university for your final year?
    Work faster, the more work and ideas I can get through at the start of my projects, the quicker I can get to a great idea. The sooner I get my idea the more time I will have to expand my idea.

    How important do you think a placement has been to helping further your design education?
    Placement has been a huge advansement for me, I may not have filled my placement year but of the 5 months I was on placement I picked up many skills that will help me with my final year.

    With hindsight, what advise would you give to a fellow student embarking on a placement?
    Learn After effects! Most people in the agencies didn't know After Effects so if you're looking to impress whoever you work with it is a good skill to have under your belt.


    TOM BUCKLEY

    Which company(s) did you do a placement with and how long for?
    Design Bridge: 3 months
    Turner Duckworth: 2 weeks
    Corke Wallis: 3 months

    What’s the most important thing you learnt from your placement(s)?
    The most important thing for me was to be able to work in a professional environment. Its not just about the work, but everything else around it like socializing and making relationships with your colleagues. If you want to have a good placement year in my opinion you should make the effort outside your works pace as well as inside.

    How did you find accommodation and how much did it cost?
    I found in Design Bridge because it was in Amsterdam quite difficult to find and ended up using Airbnb. It turned out around 800 euros per month which wasn’t too bad considering I got paid quite well. London was a breeze to find a place, the week before moving down i had found somewhere looked around and was ready to move in. Is more expensive down south though because it was £180 per week.

    What were you asked in the interview?
    Mainly about my work in most interviews, so talking passionately about my projects helped a lot.

    Did you get paid and roughly how much?
    It varied quite a bit, DesignBridge paid me 800 euros a month, Turner Duckworth paid £250 per week and Corke Wallis paid £200 per week. It all depends on the company really.

    What was the most unusual thing you did?
    I had to go around amsterdam on a tram route to find eye spy clues for their annual summer away day where they hired a 50’s tram to take the office around the city. It was great! saw the city, had some food, hardly felt like work.

    What experience from your placement(s) are you going to put into practice, now you are back at university for your final year?
    Think big! Working on placement really made me learn how to design a project all the way through, and good research and image searches are crucial. Keep making plenty of notes and treat my final year of university like my full time job.

    How important do you think a placement has been to helping further your design education?
    Having a year like this has helped so much! you don’t realize because the progress is happening so gradually through the year but there are some many subtle things you’ll find yourself doing after finishing its unbelievable, you’ll only notice when you take the time to reflect your second year again.

    With hindsight, what advise would you give to a fellow student embarking on a placement?
    Don’t be to hard on yourself, you’re there to learn most of all, don’t get too caught up trying to make that perfect piece of work which will make you a placement legend! if it happens great but don’t put too much pressure on yourself and you’ll have an even better time.


    JAMES CLARKE

    Which company(s) did you do a placement with and how long for?
    True North : 1 year

    What’s the most important thing you learnt from your placement(s)?
    Understanding how a studio operates, working as a team, how to have confidence in my ideas and work.

    How did you find accommodation and how much did it cost?
    I stayed at home with my parents in Cheshire and travelled into Manchester.

    What were you asked in the interview?
    To simply go through and explain my portfolio and my thinking behind ideas. It was very casual, more like a friendly chat.

    What did you ask in the interview?
    I generally just asked about the dynamics of the studio and previous work the studio had worked on.

    Did you get paid and roughly how much?
    £100pw.

    What was the most unusual thing you did?
    Helping to create a four foot tower of bricks for the “This is the Place” book. We had a portion of the poem by Tony Walsh engraved onto a selection of bricks. This required us to spend a day at a business that pretty much exclusively normally only engraves gravestones. It was strangely eerie.

    What experience from your placement(s) are you going to put into practice, now you are back at university for your final year?
    Speed is a huge element I’ve learnt. It was crazy how quickly the studio was turning over work and its something I definitely wish to apply to my final year.

    How important do you think a placement has been to helping further your design education?
    Having lacked a huge amount of confidence both in my work and socially, placement has allowed my to come out of my shell a lot. I now feel confident in myself and the work I can create. Without this, if I had just proceeded straight into third year from second year I don’t feel I would have achieved half as much as I feel I will this year. I feel like a new person.

    With hindsight, what advise would you give to a fellow student embarking on a placement?
    To be pleasant, to be nice. Studios want to teach you just as much as you want to learn so don’t pretend you know it all. At first I was worried to nag designers for a hand or ask a question but I soon found that pretty much everyone was happy to help and teach me new skills.

    Make sure you have a presence in the studio. Don’t hide. I’m no crazy confident person but by just being myself I became part of the team, made friends and ended the year being told that once I graduated I had a place waiting for me in the studio.

    Taking on a year placement at one studio had me worried at first that I wouldn’t experience the year fully, especially not going down to London. But for me, being able to be somewhere for a year and settle in ended up being the perfect match.


    FIONA HUTCHINGS

    Which company(s) did you do a placement with and how long for?
    The Chase (Manchester): 3 months
    BD2: 1 month
    Absolute Media: 3 months

    What’s the most important thing you learnt from your placement(s)?
    - How to work as a team in design and how to communicate with each other.
    - Learning about myself as a designer and how I could build my confidence through the different placements.

    How did you find accommodation and how much did it cost?
    I lived at home whilst on my placement year, so it was just down to travel costs.

    What were you asked in the interview?
    Mainly asked about my folio, it was very informal. I was asked about myself and other placements I had done.

    What did you ask in the interview?
    I asked what they were working on at the moment, the atmosphere of the studio, their favourite projects etc.

    Did you get paid and roughly how much?
    The Chase was paid £280 per week. Other placements were unpaid with little expenses, I worked weekends to afford the travel costs.

    What was the most unusual thing you did?
    Quite a few things were unusual. I took pie butties in for my last day at The Chase, seeing as I had a bit of a reputation for being a Wiganer. A couple of months later I was drawing breasts and balls for a printing brochure.

    What experience from your placement(s) are you going to put into practice, now you are back at university for your final year?
    How to tackle a brief properly. Have some solid research behind you before starting to sketch ideas.

    How important do you think a placement has been to helping further your design education?
    It’s been very important. I know a lot more people in industry than I did before my placement year. It has made me realise industry isn’t as scary as it sounds and I can use the skills I have learnt for my final year.

    With hindsight, what advise would you give to a fellow student embarking on a placement?
    Don’t think you’re not good enough. Be your own person and be quietly confident in yourself. Work on your folio throughout the year, add some of your best work from your placements. Don’t think being an intern is all about making tea, directors offer you a brew too!


    SHOHAIB IQBAL

    Which company(s) did you do a placement with and how long for?
    4 months in Manchester
    The Chase: 3 months
    Absolute Media: 1 month

    5 months in London
    Landor Associates: 2 months
    B&B Studio: 1 month
    The Allotment: 1 month
    Pearlfisher: 1 month

    What’s the most important thing you learnt from your placement(s)?
    The most important bits i’ve learnt from my placement year is time management. Design agencies work at a very fast pace and there’ll be times where you would have to tackle more than 1 project all in a day. Applying Time management and organising work was essential to not just my first placement but all my placements I worked with. Another important thing I learnt was that all ideas which you may find silly or not worthy can lead to something much greater. I found the confidence pitching my ideas to designers and creative directors allowing to bounce back any other ideas and also get valuable feedback to make a potential idea even greater. And the final thing is you’ll have to work on client based work not only design so be prepared!

    How did you find accommodation and how much did it cost?
    Looking on the net using accomodation search engines like rightmove, spareroom and many more search engines out there I finally found a accomodation set within Earsfield in Wimbledon (South West of London). The rent each pcm including bills was £800. This area was great for me as it was around 20 minutes away from the centre of london making it a easier commute to work wherever it was.

    What were you asked in the interview?
    The reason behind why the concept of my design or idea and why I chose certain element of the design such as Tyepface, Style etc. 

    What did you ask in the interview?
    What projects the design agency are working on and how I can improve my work or any feedback on my work if possible.

    Did you get paid and roughly how much?
    Around £250 - £300 per week varying on each agency and location.

    What was the most unusual thing you did?
    I was briefed to take a picture of a Tube ad for a packaging brand with the tube train in the photograph just before it would pass the ad. With mutiple attempts it took me 20 minutes to do this and then carrying on to attempt the same process with 10 more other tube stations given on the list...

    What experience from your placement(s) are you going to put into practice, now you are back at university for your final year?
    Keeping the mindset of working in the way I would work on placement.

    Working at a faster pace and managing everybit of time towards projects, personal goals and course deadlines.

    Enjoying, experimenting and being playful in the process of getting to a idea.

    Researching in many ways possible and expanding my knowledge using books, stores, museum etc.

    Discussing work with others around my workspace and most importantly taking the risk since it can potetentially lead to greater ideas and solutions.

    How important do you think a placement has been to helping further your design education?
    I have had a amazing oppotunity to work with some fanastic agencies within the UK. This has allowed me to be a part of there design process and has allowed to pitch my own ideas to them and seek valuable feedback from the junior and senior designers of the agencies and also hear there take on how they went about on there degree show and also any helpful advice and tips to becoming a greater creative thinker and designer.

    With hindsight, what advise would you give to a fellow student embarking on a placement?
    Enjoy the moment, take risks, ask questions, have fun and just be yourself. One of the most valuable (and daunting) parts of a students progression from education to working in industry can be the experience of ‘doing’ a placement.


    LOUIS MURPHY-HANCOCK

    Which company(s) did you do a placement with and how long for?
    The Chase (Manchester): 3 Months
    The Chase (London): 3 Months
    Turner Duckworth: 1 Month
    B&B Studio: 1 Month
    Brandhouse: 1 Month
    The Allotment: 1 Month
    Next Big Thing: 3 Months

    What’s the most important thing you learnt from your placement(s)?
    Almost everything new I learnt on the year was valuable, but probably managing and organising my time, being more thorough with my research and realising how much your work improves in the design world when it has a nice idea behind it

    How did you find accommodation and how much did it cost?
    I used “Spare Room” to find my place in London, it was in Earlsfield so was abit out of central London but still had good connections to major train stations which got you into central. I was paying around £715 a month for my flat, but this was with everything included and it was a nice pad, so wasnt too bad.

    What were you asked in the interview?
    To go through my portfolio ofcourse, but most importantly where and what my ideas came from and what my thought process was to get to this stage. I was also asked what sector of design im most passionate about and if I can work my way round a kettle and tea bags.

    What did you ask in the interview?
    I was always looking for some feedback and constructive criticism on ways to improve my portfolio and I was also interested to see what work was going on around the agency at the moment.

    Did you get paid and roughly how much?
    Yeah Iuckily I got paid on all my placements, it was roughly around £250-300 per week.

    What was the most unusual thing you did?
    It has to be taking the morning off to go and play rooftop basketball whilst being part of a photoshoot.

    What experience from your placement(s) are you going to put into practice, now you are back at university for your final year?
    Definately still remembering it all about the ideas. Just to be more thourough too, from doing research into a brief to the craft of the idea and the design, really bringing it to life looking at ways to expand the idea.

    How important do you think a placement has been to helping further your design education?
    It's been an amazing invaluable opportunity, I’ve learnt so much from my placement year, its been great having the chance to talk through work and ideas with every person in every role in the agencies, been a huge learning curve.

    With hindsight, what advise would you give to a fellow student embarking on a placement?
    Find the agencies who’s sort of work you love and aspire to create and apply there. Be yourself, have fun and keep the brews flowing.


    HEIDI WOODHEAD

    Which company(s) did you do a placement with and how long for?
    Fourthwall Creative: 12 month 

    What’s the most important thing you learnt from your placement(s)?
    Everything I learnt on placement was important. I think the main thing I’ve learnt is effective time management, how to work fast and effectively to deadlines. Everything is so much faster in the real world, and often work needs to be turned around quickly, In Uni your often given a month on a brief where as in industry it can be something like 2 days!

    How did you find accommodation and how much did it cost?
    My placement was a 20 minute drive from home, so I didn’t need to find or look for accommodation. I was very lucky to find such a good placement so close to home, the only costs I had was for fuel.

    What were you asked in the interview?
    I talked through my portfolio, and give reasons behind my ideas and concepts. I was asked about the briefs I worked on and what I enjoyed doing the most. We also talked about graphic design in general and also about the company Fourthwall.

    What did you ask in the interview?
    I asked about my job role and what I was expected to do, and also asked for their feedback on how to improve some projects. I asked about the company, to show I was interested. I then went back for a second interview, where I met one of the MDS, and we spoke more about pay, length of the placement and various other details.

    Did you get paid and roughly how much?
    I was very lucky to get a paid placement. My wage was a salary for the year. I think when I worked it out I was on £273 per week. Which is really good for a placement student!

    What was the most unusual thing you did?
    I had to photocopy my face on the photocopier! This was for an idea for a Christmas Card, everyone in the studio participated but it was such a funny request. I also got to be a stylist on a photoshoot this was for Liverpool Football club! That was also a little surreal! I was also sent out on little shopping trips to pick up various items. Honestly, I did that much on my placement it’s hard to write everything down, I could write a book!

    What experience from your placement(s) are you going to put into practice, now you are back at university for your final year?
    On placement I was told graphic design, is a little like cooking.. Once you’ve got the basic ingredients, it’s all about the seasoning and little extras that really finishes it off. Sounds crazy, I know, but it really does make sense when your working on a brief. Placement really does make you a better designer, you learn to be more confident and manage your time better, and don’t be afraid to fail. You’ll always get there in the end. Everything I have learnt on my placement I will be taking forward with me into my final year.

    How important do you think a placement has been to helping further your design education?
    I can not put into words how much I have loved doing a placement! Honestly, you will learn so much from doing a placement year. I think I learnt more in my 12 months on placement than I did in my first 2 years at university (no offence Uclan) Having being given the opportunity to do a placement is fantastic, it is a big learning curve for anyone. My placement year has been an invaluable experience that has undoubtedly enhanced my knowledge of the Design Industry and the ‘real world’.

    With hindsight, what advise would you give to a fellow student embarking on a placement?
    Have fun, get involved, be yourself and ask questions. Your placement year goes so fast, so take it all in as much as you can. Whether that is putting the new skills you learn into practice or writing everything down in a notebook that you think will be handy. Things like tools, shortcuts and tips about software. Approach everything with a positive attitude and be eager to learn. By doing a 12 month placement I was able to get my feet under the table and get deeply involved within the design process. I learnt so much seeing a concept through from initial sketches, concept development, through to it being signed off, printed, and then sent to the client. I also felt after a while you get seen as part of the team and not just as a placement student, it gives you the chance to establish yourself and build up on relationships.


    Many thanks to all of our students for taking the time to share – TDOD.