Rob Helsby Talks about Placement Life Whilst at Vivid

After graduating from the University of Leeds this summer with a degree in Graphic & Communication Design I took the decision to move to Manchester. The city is fantastic and full of opportunities for a young designer such as myself.

I try and keep up to date with my favourite studios through Twitter, and checking their own websites regularly – you never know when something is going to come up! Some time ago I found that Vivid were running Summer Camp; a 20 week programme open to budding creatives and planners looking for real agency experience. To apply for a place we had to show what makes us ‘Vivid’. I have always found that gimmicks or ‘peacocking’ are not necessarily the best way to be seen. I sent a very clear piece of communication explaining my process, alongside examples of my portfolio. This must have done the trick because I soon received an email offering me a placement!

Having previously worked in industry with Leeds based Logistik and Liverpool’s Smiling Wolf, I was excited to be stepping back in to a studio. I feel as though my previous experience put me in a strong position as I had a rough idea of what to expect. I think that the more experience you have the more confident you are; it’s less stepping into the unknown and more ‘here I am, let me show you what I can do’.

The placement structure at Vivid was excellent, straight away I was thrown in to working on a live brief. The project itself excited me, working on a campaign that dealt with dementia. I enjoy design that can help people and I thrived on this brief. On my second day I pitched my work to Karl Sanderson the creative director, as well as several other senior members of staff. They provided me with some great feedback and gave me confidence in my own abilities.

I also had the opportunity to work on some other live briefs, assisting the creative team wherever possible. My final day consisted of producing a poster that assessed and defined the agency. This will be exhibited at the end of the Summer Camp alongside the other interns posters – with a bit of friendly competition via an online voting system through Vivid’s Facebook page.

My placement provided me with some real agency experience and I felt like a valued member of the team throughout my stay. I was able to receive some great advice on my portfolio which will hopefully help me to kick on in my career and work with more exciting agencies. Oh and there was free ice cream to round off the week…not bad eh?

My advice to any prospective interns or young graduates out there would be to have confidence. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. People like questions. It shows that your interested and sometimes it will make people ask questions of themselves, helping them to improve their own work or approach. Make yourself at home. Make a round of brews when everyone in the studio is feeling the pressure of a tight deadline. Make yourself as useful as possible and let people know they can depend on you. I guess I could summarise my advice as ‘you get back what you put in’.

Thanks again to Vivid, and good luck with the rest of Summer Camp!

-Written by Rob Helsby, follow him @robhelsby on twitter, on his Website and Vivid Online.

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