“My role involves anything from coming up with ideas and designs for infographics, tip sheets and eBooks, to social media posts, direct mails and landing pages. Every day is varied.” Claire Dunford is studying Graphic Design and is currently on placement as a Junior Designer at Really B2B in Portsmouth. She tells us how her placement has improved her confidence and why she loves working for Really B2B.
How did you find your placement role?
I was recommended to apply for the role at Really B2B by the team at Creative Careers. Once I read the requirements on the portal, I felt that this role would give me exactly the kind of experience that I was looking for. I applied for the role and was invited in for an interview. I knew this would be a good fit for me!
How many applications did you make?
I applied for around 12-15 placements. Many didn’t respond, but I did get three interviews/applicants days, and two sets of online testing… all this experience cannot be underestimated!
How did Creative Careers support you in your placement search?
I visited Creative Careers on a regular basis, whether that was to check through my CV, cover letters, or update them with my progress. I was immensely grateful for their support, and encouragement in pushing me to go for lots of roles I may not have otherwise considered.
Who do you work for?
Really B2B, an award-winning, business to business marketing agency (with an amazing creative team), based in Portsmouth.
Which department do you work in?
I work in the creative team as a Junior Designer and I report into the Senior Designer and Creative Director. It sounds obvious but the creative team do more than just design. Because they’re integrated they work across many different channels where my knowledge of conceptual thinking has been really handy.
I am carrying out the job just as if I had already finished my degree, which is exactly what I wanted from this year!
What is your role?
My role involves anything from coming up with ideas and designs for infographics, tip sheets and eBooks, to social media posts, direct mails and landing pages. Every day is varied.
I work on a range of media across print and digital designs and have the responsibility of ensuring amends are completed accurately across all brand collateral. To complete this efficiently means I work with the entire marketing team. We work together to establish the clients objectives and how we take my work forward in a way that accommodates everyone’s interest.
In the mornings after I receive my brief for the day I will spend around an hour sketching out ideas for how to lay the content out on the page. It’s much easier to start working on things like this when you have a plan. At this point I would also talk through my concept with the team to make sure I’m on the right track.
Are you treated like an employee?
My internship with Really is not really an internship. I am treated just like any other member of the team. They treat me as a true employee and expect 100%. This is challenging but has its perks.
I feel like I’m well prepared for my final year at uni and a long-term career in the creative industry. I am carrying out the job just as if I had already finished my degree, which is exactly what I wanted from this year!
With the confidence and knowledge I now have I can confidently create assets and fully understand the briefing process. I’m able to work independently and as part of the team to ensure the work I produce is to the highest standard.
What are the benefits of being on a placement?
One of the best things about this year is that it’s given me masses of confidence. I now know that when I leave University, I will be ready to undertake the role of a designer, in a fast-paced environment and that it’s really what I want to build a career in.
I’ve met some great people who I can turn to in the future if I need to and when I leave University I’ll be able to demonstrate my achievements in a professional way with an uber portfolio of work.
When I apply for roles later I’ll be able to demonstrate that I can digest a brief from the client whilst working within their brand guidelines. Also, importantly, I’ll be able to demonstrate that I can do the job.
What new skills have you developed?
I can now confidently come up with ideas, design and deliver them to a high standard. I’ve picked up loads of new skills but I guess the most important one is knowing how to resolve a design challenge effectively with a team.
I’ve also improved my skills and knowledge of:
- Adobe and Microsoft Software
- The briefing process
- How to artwork pieces for print
I’m learning how to justify my work on a regular basis to the client teams. And so much more!
Have you applied anything you learned at University?
Everything University teaches you is useful, how to pick out the key parts of a brief, how to stay consistent, your software skills etc. can be applied to the job.
Has the placement helped you with your career decisions?
In my career, I want to produce work that will allow me to keep stretching my imagination. I’ve learnt that you need to be ‘creative’ in order to be a stand out designer. I love both aspects of this and want to continue being involved in brainstorming sessions and coming up with ideas in my career.
What advice would you give to students who aren’t sure whether to do a placement or not?
You have nothing to lose! There is so much to learn and a placement year is the best chance to see what the industry is like before you jump in.
What advice would you give to students regarding their placement search?
I would advise getting a head start on finding a placement. Get your CV ready as soon as you can, the University’s Careers and Employability Service and Creative Careers are brilliant at helping you with this.
You need to want this – just as much as they want to have you.
I would also advise applying to loads of jobs, but make sure that you’re truly dedicated to each application. You need to want this – just as much as they want to have you.