This week our blog post comes from the pen of our design intern Simon Cherry. Simon who graduated t’north this summer, recently moved to Bristol in search of work and below he explains what it takes for a new design graduate to make it in the design industry.
As I write this blog post, I am sat in the studio of creative design agency Fiasco Design . The story of how I got here involves hard work, long train journeys and a big move to a new city.
Just two months ago, I had completed my BA (Hons) degree in studying Graphic Design at Leeds College of Art (LCA), and about to walk straight in to the big bad world. I was a student at LCA for 4 years so when it all came to an end, it felt like I had hit a brick wall: a dead end. There were no more lectures and I had no real plan.
I wanted a brand new start, which seemed fitting as I was now beginning a new chapter in my post university life. It all began with a new city – Bristol. Bristol has so much to offer with a strong creative community and constant sources of visual inspiration, from graffiti murals to quirky bookshops and wide open spaces with beautiful architecture. I soon began researching design studios in and around my new home town.
There are a number of factors which can help you get your foot in the door. Social media sites such as Twitter are invaluable. Not only does Twitter help to keep me in the loop of what’s going on in the design world, but it also allows me to easily interact with studios, on a one-to-one basis, building a dialogue between the studios and myself therefore making a studio visit much more comfortable. My presence on Twitter led to my first internship in Bristol.
Whilst moving everything into my new flat, I received a Twitter message from innovative design agency; Studio Baum. They were in need of an intern to help out for two weeks. I jumped at the chance and soon started working on a number of briefs resulting in my first post graduate experience of the design industry.
I wanted to keep the momentum with contacting design studios to ensure that I could hop between placement and not find myself at home with nothing in the pipeline, so I called and emailed multiple studios asking if I could perhaps pop in for a quick chat and to show my portfolio. Not all design agencies were free and it was a lot of persistence that led me to another internship opportunity at the established branding agency Hello based in rural Somerset. During the placement, I was responsible for branding, concept building, logo mark execution and helping out their in-house design team.
The experience I gained at Studio Baum and Hello was fantastic and really gave me more confidence of working within a successful, creative design studio.
Whilst at Hello, I contacted Fiasco Design in the hope that I could arrange a meeting as I was a great admirer of their design work. What instantly drew me to Fiasco, was how open they were. Some studios would only show finished pieces of work on their site with no real insight into their way of working, which made for a rather cold and unwelcoming online presence. Fiasco’s website showed that they were clued up as to what was going on around them as well as showing their own thoughts. After a successful meeting I started working alongside the team at Fiasco Design.
I’m currently in my second week (hopefully not my last!) and working on a couple of really exciting client briefs. The beauty of working in a number of different studios is you start to notice different things. The change in pace, the type of briefs, the studio atmosphere and dynamics. It is so important to get yourself out there and experience the design industry first hand to truly get an understanding of where you might fit in and this will help guide you in the direction which is right for you.
So in summary, to get your foot in the door, I suggest you don’t stop! Don’t stop being creative. Don’t stop exploring. Don’t stop asking questions. Carry on the momentum. See new things. Move cities if you need to. Keep yourself in the loop. Contact different studios. Talk to different people. Be inquisitive, make mistakes and learn from them.