Half way through his one year Industry placement with us from the University of Leeds, we asked Jake to tell us about his experience as a Design Intern.
So, what is Knibbs you may be asking yourself? The simple answer is that it is Simon’s surname (The Bossman), but the better answer is that it is an amazing, little design agency in Surrey, that has taken me under their wings for the last 6 months and shown me what life is like as a graphic designer in the working world.
Show me the journey!
It has been quite a journey to get to this point, but I guess the best place to start would be at the beginning. It all started on the 6th July 1998…I’m kidding, I won’t go that far back. But why did I want to join Knibbs? Why did I want to be a graphic designer? Well, I have always been a creative, visual learner, never really enjoying “actual” subjects, like English or Maths etc. I was constantly drawing and painting from a young age, which continued through to my teens when I decided upon Art for my GCSE’s, and then A-Level’s, when I also studied 3D Design alongside it. 3D Design is where I started to get really passionate about architecture, and as time began to creep up on me, I needed to decide what I wanted to do when I went to university, and I was almost certain that I wanted to pursue an architectural career.
But then I actually went and did some work experience for an architecture firm in Manchester and that’s when my motivation to do the subject started to diminish. The lack of creative freedom, the extremely long project durations, and the thought of not finishing university until I was 25, all had a severe impact on me, and I felt it wasn’t the right decision to devote my life to something I wasn’t 100% passionate about. And to top it off, even one of the architects at the firm literally said to me “don’t do it, you’ll regret it”, and that pretty much put the nail in the coffin.
So, I was back to square one. What do I choose to do? Even though I loved art, I always knew I didn’t want to be an “actual artist”, therefore I thought “graphic design, that could be cool I guess” and I haven’t looked back since.
To uni… and beyond!
Some time goes by and I have now started my second year at the University of Leeds. The workload and pressure is instantly increased and you no longer have the excuse of “it’s okay, it’s only first year”. The work you do, does actually count now. This is where we were introduced to the idea of doing a Year in Industry placement, and at first, I was honestly unsure if I wanted to do one…but I am so glad I chose to now! I will say that trying to juggle your uni workload and look for a placement at the same time isn’t an easy task, and there were many times when I just wanted to give up on the whole thing. One of the worst things I found doing a design course when searching for placements, was the amount of places that feel that is acceptable to not give a salary to someone who will be working for them for up to 12 months! My words of advice would be, don’t settle for an unpaid placement. Keep searching and you will find something eventually. Just think, if a company doesn’t value your talent enough to want to reward you for it, then you shouldn’t settle for them, end of.
Tangent over. So to get back to it, after months of sending CVs and portfolios, and getting rejected from most of them, I finally got offered an interview, and it was from this little design agency in Surrey, called Knibbs. After just a couple of back and forth emails, I immediately felt comfortable as there wasn’t that corporate aura you get from huge businesses where you feel if you make one spelling mistake in your reply that they will put you on a blacklist forever.
When the “interview” day came along, my nerves were through the roof. The 4 hour trip down from Leeds felt like longest trip of my life. But when I eventually got to the studio and started talking with Simon and Laura, my nerves were calmed and it didn’t really feel like an interview at all; it was just a friendly chat about me and my work. It seemed that they were much more interested in my personality than if my work looked amazing. I could instantly tell that this was the sort of environment I wanted to work in, and thankfully about 20 minutes after I had left, I got a very surprising phone call from Simon saying that they would like me to join the team. That was one of my fondest memories of the year, knowing that all the work I had done leading up to that point had paid off, and that I could look forward to a new chapter in my life.
They call me Mr Knibbs!
When that new chapter did begin, it was a completely new experience for me. I was now living in a place I had never visited before, with people I had never met before, and about to start working a job I had never done before. It was a bit nerve-racking at first, but the excitement and intrigue overpowered it. I love learning new things, and the people at Knibbs were very welcoming with teaching me all I needed to know; a lot of it being from scratch. Web Design, Branding, Print, Packaging, E-Marketing: I had no expertise in any of these, but I never once felt intimidated by that, as everyone was more than happy to help me.
One of the first things I was taught was how to use Concrete5
, which is the CMS (Content Management System) that Knibbs uses to build it’s websites. After this, I was set my first task: resizing and adding images to the Fileturn
website. Exciting, I know. But it allowed me to get to grips with the basics of the CMS, and then shortly after I was tasked to design the Christmas menu for local French restaurant, La Barbe
. This is where I began to really enjoy the work as there was always a constant flow of various jobs, with most of them being fairly quick turnarounds, meaning that it never became stale, which is what can often happen on long projects at university.
Looking back on the last 6 months at Knibbs, I can see how much I have learnt in this relatively small amount of time. I feel like I have matured and become more organised, which, added to the skills I have been taught, giving me hope that I will continue to grow, and then complete my degree to the highest standard I can achieve. I am very thankful for the position I am in and for the people who have helped me get here, and I am looking forward to seeing what the remaining 6 months at Knibbs will bring!
Are you looking for a work placement?
We are always in the lookout for new talents. If you are creative and ready to start building your skillset and an exciting portfolio, fill in the form here and upload your cv and we’ll get back you.