Graphic design student wins internship at leading agency
Hannah Johannson, who studied on the School’s UAL Extended Diploma in Graphic Design, has joined the creative team at the agency’s Middlesbrough office on a fully paid programme designed to provide an opportunity for young designers to kickstart their design career and get their first real taste of agency life.
Better, which has offices in Teesside and London, has been building brands since 2008 and manages a portfolio of local, national and international brands, including everything from maritime and manufacturing to soft drinks and skincare.
The agency’s MD, Mark Easby, said that they were looking for an intern armed with a confident, sociable personality and can-do attitude that means they can hit deadlines when needed adding “we’re happy to say that’s what we found in Hannah”.
Hannah is now embarking on a six month programme working in Better’s design team, under the guidance of Creative Director John Taylor, to learn about creative process, agency culture and gain a deeper understanding of specialist industry tools.
A delighted Hannah said: “This opportunity is very special to me as I was reluctant to follow the usual path of university that most students take. This position provides me with a direct insight into how the industry operates and the inner workings of a design studio. So far, I think it is going really well. I have already learned so much and I am currently working on my first live brief.”
The Northern School of Art’s Graphic Design Course Leader Tom Burton said: “We are extremely proud of Hannah’s success and wish her all the best with her career at Better. This opportunity is exceptional for learners who choose not to go on to university, offering a unique challenge for less experienced designers to learn and develop under the mentorship of the design and project management team of an agency producing work for use on the international stage.”
Better is a passionate advocate for bridging the education to industry gap and uses its internship programme to support this transition. Hannah is the second intern appointed from The Northern School of Art’s graphic design diploma course and follows Matthew Goodyear, pictured above with Hannah, who is now a full-time designer at the agency.
MD Mark Easby, pictured above, commented: “To make sure that students are prepared for work in the real world and their output is closer to what employers are looking for, we’ve been working with Tom Burton alongside other north east agencies to help shape some of the content of graphic design diploma course which has been a really positive and productive process.”
We asked Mark for his advice to emerging creatives about how to stand out to an employer.
- Explain your work – Portfolio presentation and rationale are crucial, students can often get caught up in the rich, final visuals of a project when building a portfolio; but those visuals need context. Even if the end result is visually remarkable, if it’s not relevant to the brief it won’t work in the real world. Always include a short summary of the brief before a project along with an equally short summary of your thinking, your solution and why you felt it was right (especially if you’re not presenting the work in person).
- Get your portfolio reviewed by an agency if you can – They will probably offer you some useful feedback and a polite email will cost you nothing.
- Include a diverse range of work – Another watch-out is diversity in your work, make sure you have some variety in the target audiences that your work is aimed at. Avoid focusing just on the latest trends, styles and more edgy, controversial or youth focused issues as it can mean that all your work looks the same. Your portfolio shouldn’t look like you solved the same problem ten times, or even worse, that you think the same visual solution solves every problem.
- Show you can adapt your creative thinking – Artists tend to have a distinct visual style, designers may have a distinct style of thinking but their visual style should morph with every project. Limiting your styles means you are limiting your thinking and, ultimately, limiting your employability because you will only appear to solve a very narrow set of problems. The truth is, it is easy to make something look visually striking if it is for a cutting edge underground music festival, but can you do something equally relevant yet equally remarkable for a stairlift company?