I’m at the end of my first month as a design intern at Glorious Creative and I can confidently say that I have learnt so much about branding already. The team here are so welcoming, they’ve really helped me settle in and get used to the creative agency working environment.

As a university student who has only just completed their second year at UCLan, whilst education has given me the foundations, the creative industry itself really differs from my expectations and there are some important things that you just can’t learn until you’re in it.

The juggling act

On my first day and I was given a list of the clients and branding projects Glorious are currently working with; and the very first thing I realised was that comparatively, the workload in a creative agency role is much more than I was expecting. Of course I knew that in an agency you would have a lot of projects on the go, but it still hit hard, especially when you compare it to the standard one, maybe two design projects and an essay you might have to juggle at university.

Full speed ahead

My second biggest insight is the speed of commercial design; it’s pretty crazy when you – again – compare it to university where you’re given sometimes up to three months on a single branding project. The first live brief I took part in was brand design for a pitch and we had barely a week (I say barely because bank holiday Monday fell in-between), to go from ideas generation to having a fully-fledged brand identity and marketing ideas, that were to such a high enough standard that they could hold their own against the other, potentially larger agencies taking part.

Because of these time constraints, in the past month I’ve learnt a bunch of new “tricks” on Adobe – I realised I’ve been approaching things the really long-way-around, and my new approaches feel way more productive, something that I’m sure will help me with my design in the future.

Sometimes the answer is staring you in the face

Big insight number three – maybe it seems obvious but being capable of working as part of a team is KEY. Not only when it comes to making rounds of tea (rhyme wasn’t intended). I feel at university most people do prefer to “lone wolf” their design projects, probably due to bad experiences – it’s difficult to work on projects as groups in education when everybody has different working methods, work ethics/priorities etc.

However, it is SO important to be able to work with others in a specialisation as social as graphic design, to be able to share a project with somebody else and know how to maturely deal with clashes of opinion or ideas. I don’t think I’d really realised the true importance of working as part of a team up until now.

The bridge between knowledge and know how

Being part of a branding agency in such a large city like Manchester has given me a new perspective on how brand design works commercially. There’s so much more to it. Unlike at university, you have an actual client so you have to be able to think on your feet in case of setbacks to the brand design and campaign. Multiple routes for one brief are a necessity – you have to be able to problem solve and find ways to keep your creative juices flowing!

Then there’s brand strategy; as a student you don’t have to fully apply brand strategy to your projects because they’re not real – most of the time, you research your competition and use that research to create a visual element that’s new and unique for your target market – students don’t often have to think about the logistics of how they would launch this new brand, how to get it out there and front of people’s minds and maybe more importantly, how keep it there.

Public relations and marketing strategy are just as important as the brand design when it comes to having a successful brand. Social media nowadays plays a much bigger part in the branding than I would have anticipated – without a good social media presence even a well-designed brand may struggle in today’s digital-centric society. In addition, I’ve learnt that the use of bloggers and influencers as part of the strategy can play a vital role in expanding the brand’s reach.

The whole experience so far has been a huge learning curve; working in the creative industry has adapted my mindset that up until now has been in “university-mode”. It’s taken some time to adjust to the differences in speed, ideas generation and experimentation etc. For example, normally I could spend hours perfecting a few design layouts for the tutors to crit my work on a Friday; instead I’m doing my best to quickly put together as many different layouts as I can before my lunch hour.

On top of all that, I’ve also learnt how to navigate Manchester – OK that’s a lie – but I pretty much know my way from the tram stop to work now without having to panic when my phone’s low on battery. I know I’m going to learn just as much again, if not even more during my last few weeks at Glorious Creative.

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