IE News

A week in the life of an IE placement student

At the end of July, IE was pleased to welcome Robyn Strafford, for a one-week work experience placement from Birmingham City University. Robyn proved herself to be a strong asset to the team, and she was kind enough to write a few words about her time at the agency….

Today I started my placement at an award-winning design agency called IE. The studio itself is located in an old Victorian building and the entrance didn’t disappoint, it was visually stunning. The studio is set up in four sections: a meeting room towards the front, the main studio space (equipped with a table tennis table), a board room, and an upstairs library/chill space which was open for me to use whilst working there. The sections were separated by glass panels which worked well with the old features, giving it a contemporary feel.

Usually on my first day interning I have a bad case of nerves, but I received a friendly welcome from the team which put me right at ease. It was nice to be able to witness an agency in the full swing of things as a big deadline approached. Everyone was hard at work but it was nice that one of the designers, Pascaline Piot, still had the time to set me up with a brief. She ensured that I was okay with everything. I was given the choice of two briefs – one which was slightly more challenging than the other, I wanted to push myself and chose the brief that was unfamiliar to me.

On the second day of my internship at IE, I had the chance to have an industry conversation with the managing director, Ollie Leggett. He kindly offered his time to answer my questions about the business and the industry. This will be most useful to me as I am a recent graduate and would like to gain more knowledge and insight into the design world. I also got to meet one of IE’s first techies – its co-owner Oliver Westmancott. He asked me what I was doing with myself, how university had gone and talked about his role and what he does within the company (and also joked about me being sat at his desk!)

Around lunchtime, Pascaline and I went up to the breakout area to look through the work I did on my first day. We talked about the ideas that I generated and which route I should pursue. She was very helpful in pointing out the commercial implications of design, and how some options can be prohibitively expensive to produce. This is a useful observation that I will refer back to during my career.

On Wednesday, I developed concepts for some internal banners for IE’s studio redesign. Pascaline came over to have a look at my progress. She liked the direction it was heading but suggested stripping the composition back a bit, giving it depth through subtle textures instead. She also pointed out how important colour schemes can be. She then came over a little later asking for my input on a new branding brief she was working on. She told me she was interested to see what I could come up with, hopefully helping her look at the brief from another design perspective. So I started scamping out some ideas for the logo, which I will carry on through the rest of the night ready for tomorrow morning.

On Thursday I got to see some of the work the team had been producing as part of a University rebrand project. It was fascinating to see how methodically the agency goes about its work. Later, I got some more feedback on the projects I’d been working on and I continued to get pointers on further development.

On Friday I couldn’t believe it had been a week already. I put together some finalised mock ups to showcase the in house branding I had been working on in context. Tightening up some of the 2D mock-ups to make sure the perspectives were ok and all of the lines matched up to make the work look more professional. At the end of the day, IE’s Creative Director, Dave Crichton asked me if I would like him to look over my CV and portfolio to tell me how IE would react to it if it was sent to him and how I could maximise my employment chances. He also asked what my plans were for my future career and told me to let him know if I get any interviews or jobs.

Overall my time at IE was an eye opener. The company looks out for its employees and helps them to be as creative as is possible within a commercial environment. The staff are friendly and happy to help and all sectors work together to produce some really great design work. My work improved a lot with their help and feedback and I gained a greater insight to how an award winning design agency is run. I was very sad to leave however it’s nice to know that the people there actually cared and I wasn't just an annoying intern!

What I learnt at IE

1.  Texture creates depth
2.  Simplicity is key in infographics.
3.  Be excited not nervous
4.  The devil is in the detail
5.  Design is teamwork
6.  Communication is key