My latest placement recently completed was with a small company in Manchester called ‘Reform Creative‘ or ‘Reform’ for short or perhaps ‘Reef’ though I doubt that will catch on.
I started at the beginning of December after being told about them by a friend I then emailed them on a whim to ask about placements, and within a couple days I was booked in for the rest of the year. Sweet. Based on Dale street in Manchester I knew the area well, home to nearly all the ‘trendy’ and ‘hip’ shops, including the best designer/art bookshop in the world – Magma. Seriously, if you are into design, fashion/textiles, photography, you need to go to this shop and make sure you bring plenty of money because you won’t want to leave empty handed. The area is also home to ‘Fred Aldous’ possibly the biggest and best art shop in the North West, or so ive heard. There are also many trendy bars and cultural cafes in the area home to art galleries and regular events.
Before I heard about Reform I would have probably passed them off without a second thought if someone hadn’t told me about them. However im glad someone did and even more grateful that they allowed me to work there past the new year till the end of January. Now a two week placement may seem like its the perfect length for a placement but thats far too short. To really get to know what you are doing and become a real part of the team, and be able to get on with the work, to know exactly what needs to be done, that needs a longer time period. That’s why I am grateful for the two month placement is that you get to know them and how they work and settle down into work rather than being nervous or trying to fit in, in the first couple weeks. Which I have previously experienced at other agencies. You get into a rhythm, become confident, and the ability to work to deadlines and being able to work efficiently appears.
Im my first few weeks, as I have experienced on other placements, the first briefs are usually quite easy however are still hard, as you try to prove your might and show them how good you are, living up to your name. That can be difficult. But I managed well and finished the briefs given to me and received great feedback for them, I was held in high regard. I had made a good impression, thats more than I could ask for.
The type of work I worked on was not limited to print based mediums, I worked on a website for a new client and eFlyers. Even though this might not be my forté after coming out of University I have soon realised the world is not heavily print based, agencies can’t stick one one medium to pay the bills, they need to spread into other areas and become multi-diciplined. Agencies still have to do that work they might not always like, but its the bread and butter of the design world. Some agencies really do have it lucky with great clients who give them the free reign to do whatever they want but I hear they are rare. The work I did at reform was great, I couldn’t have asked for anything better to work on. In one week we managed to win three different pitches, each having and idea that I created in it. One with my idea going into mass production, and another with one of my concepts. That’s great to know that my designs are slowly being bled into the public. (I will hopefully have a sample of these soon, and shall post them here.)
What I have learn’t at Reform might not be apparent from the surface like skills in Photoshop or how to do something. Those skills are picked up along the way. Its skills like teamwork, being relied upon and trusted. Skills as simple as knowing how to work in the ‘real world’, the experience in itself, just getting used to it. This is what us new graduates really need. It should be mandatory at University to get a work placement, or have time out to work somewhere. It’s worth it.