Getting Graphic Design Work Experience in Year 12

Watch this thread
Finleyson
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#1
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#1
Hey people,

I'm trying to get some work experience - specifically in graphic design - for the end of Year 12.

I've asked my parents about people they know in the industry and have been trying to get work through those means but I'm not too hopeful for anything beneficial.

I read online that looking up local design studios and sending them formal emails is a strategy, does anyone else have any useful ideas? I'd greatly appreciate doing work experience about something I actually care about.

Is getting work experience in this sort of area even possible?

Thanks guys!
0
reply
PQ
Badges: 21
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#2
Report 3 months ago
#2
Contact large organisations in your area (councils, universities, hospitals etc) about a placement in their marketing department.
1
reply
tinyperson
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#3
Report 3 months ago
#3
Call or email.
1
reply
molls.jo
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#4
Report 3 months ago
#4
Hiya! I'm doing Graphics in year 13 right now and I have been doing work experience at a great design agency for the past few months so could probably give you some good tips (: Honestly my advice would be to just email lots of agencies local to you, they're more likely to respond imo as people can often dismiss you on the phone haha. My agency seemed happy that I reached out so definitely not impossible to get it in this industry, I think everyone is pretty likeminded and understands how difficult it is starting out and if they have the time will want to help! Regardless tho there's no harm in trying.

This is how I structured my email but try not to make it too long as agencies r very busy!

Para 1: Obvious stuff like ur name, age, what you're studying and that youre looking to gain some hands on insight into the industry and thought you'd reach out 2 them.

Para 2: I put a couple sentences on why I chose that agency specifically. I think this definitely helped me as it makes it looked like you're actually interested in them and not just going for everything to get it on your cv- feels a lot more personal. I also put a little bit about my personal interests (brand identity, editorial yada yada)

Para 3: Finish it with something like 'I'd love to do work experience with you because _____' and if this is something you're willing to offer I'd be able to send over references from my tutors, some work or perhaps a little more about myself.."

If u have anymore questions just let me know and hope this was somewhat helpful D; good luck !
0
reply
Finleyson
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#5
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#5
(Original post by molls.jo)
Hiya! I'm doing Graphics in year 13 right now and I have been doing work experience at a great design agency for the past few months so could probably give you some good tips (: Honestly my advice would be to just email lots of agencies local to you, they're more likely to respond imo as people can often dismiss you on the phone haha. My agency seemed happy that I reached out so definitely not impossible to get it in this industry, I think everyone is pretty likeminded and understands how difficult it is starting out and if they have the time will want to help! Regardless tho there's no harm in trying.

This is how I structured my email but try not to make it too long as agencies r very busy!

Para 1: Obvious stuff like ur name, age, what you're studying and that youre looking to gain some hands on insight into the industry and thought you'd reach out 2 them.

Para 2: I put a couple sentences on why I chose that agency specifically. I think this definitely helped me as it makes it looked like you're actually interested in them and not just going for everything to get it on your cv- feels a lot more personal. I also put a little bit about my personal interests (brand identity, editorial yada yada)

Para 3: Finish it with something like 'I'd love to do work experience with you because _____' and if this is something you're willing to offer I'd be able to send over references from my tutors, some work or perhaps Ta little more about myself.."

If u have anymore questions just let me know and hope this was somewhat helpful D; good luck !
Thanks so much for the response!

I'm just glad to know that getting work experience through this route is possible. Fortunately I live in the capital so finding these studios isn't hard but I personally have been scouting out ones with more of a "larger company" feel as I think they would be more likely to be able to offer it.

When you we're initially starting off trying to find work experience, did you go through a lot of agencies before finding one that accepted you? I wouldn't mind having some sort of idea of the success I'll have/timescales.

I've got a lot of other things to do before the uni stage and the fact you had the choice to pick graphics for A-Level really has me jealous lol. Do you have any knowledge on whether my lack of a specific graphic design A-Level will put me through a tough time getting into uni? (I've currently picked BTECS in ICT and Business and A-Levels in Media Studies and Psychology) - I'm hinging on the portfolio.

I've got plenty of portfolio questions to ask but I don't want to make this too long, tysm for the advice again I can't thank you enough just for this peace of mind!
0
reply
Finleyson
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#6
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#6
(Original post by PQ)
Contact large organisations in your area (councils, universities, hospitals etc) about a placement in their marketing department.
thanks for the response!

Does the marketing department get a lot of graphic design action? i'm worried that if i go for a route like that i'll be getting experience with sales and such instead of what I need.
0
reply
PQ
Badges: 21
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#7
Report 3 months ago
#7
(Original post by Finleyson)
thanks for the response!

Does the marketing department get a lot of graphic design action? i'm worried that if i go for a route like that i'll be getting experience with sales and such instead of what I need.
The marketing department produce printed and web promotional materials. They’ll usually have at least one in house graphic designer (who is usually completely swamped with work!)
1
reply
molls.jo
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#8
Report 3 months ago
#8
(Original post by Finleyson)
Thanks so much for the response!

I'm just glad to know that getting work experience through this route is possible. Fortunately I live in the capital so finding these studios isn't hard but I personally have been scouting out ones with more of a "larger company" feel as I think they would be more likely to be able to offer it.

When you we're initially starting off trying to find work experience, did you go through a lot of agencies before finding one that accepted you? I wouldn't mind having some sort of idea of the success I'll have/timescales.

I've got a lot of other things to do before the uni stage and the fact you had the choice to pick graphics for A-Level really has me jealous lol. Do you have any knowledge on whether my lack of a specific graphic design A-Level will put me through a tough time getting into uni? (I've currently picked BTECS in ICT and Business and A-Levels in Media Studies and Psychology) - I'm hinging on the portfolio.

I've got plenty of portfolio questions to ask but I don't want to make this too long, tysm for the advice again I can't thank you enough just for this peace of mind!
Honestly feel like the smaller agencies are just as likely so don't restrict urself- my agency has about 15 people in it so have been able to get to know everyone and they help me out with portfolio etc. I messaged quite a few and honestly most didn't answer but the agency I'm with right now answered literally a week later so I defo got lucky with that but it's just a case of keep trying until you get a response, if you live in a city there's defo something out there that will take you (:

I do a Graphics BTEC and do feel very lucky lol. I think as long as you have some sort of art or media related study you should be fine, you might get asked to do a foundation year if your portfolio isn't up to their standard or they feel you'd benefit from it. However, I strongggllyy believe that they care mostly about your portfolio over ur actual qualifications so my advice (I'm currently almost finished with mine) would be to start building up your work outside of school/college. Even though I do Graphics most of my portfolio is projects I've done outside of college as you can show what you're really interested in and build on ur skills. You don't want to be in the position where you're given 3 weeks for a portfolio from a uni and haven't got enough content to fill it.

Don't hesitate if you've got anymore portfolio questions as I've been in the same position and have been working on mine for a couple months (:
0
reply
Finleyson
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#9
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#9
(Original post by molls.jo)
Honestly feel like the smaller agencies are just as likely so don't restrict urself- my agency has about 15 people in it so have been able to get to know everyone and they help me out with portfolio etc. I messaged quite a few and honestly most didn't answer but the agency I'm with right now answered literally a week later so I defo got lucky with that but it's just a case of keep trying until you get a response, if you live in a city there's defo something out there that will take you (:

I do a Graphics BTEC and do feel very lucky lol. I think as long as you have some sort of art or media related study you should be fine, you might get asked to do a foundation year if your portfolio isn't up to their standard or they feel you'd benefit from it. However, I strongggllyy believe that they care mostly about your portfolio over ur actual qualifications so my advice (I'm currently almost finished with mine) would be to start building up your work outside of school/college. Even though I do Graphics most of my portfolio is projects I've done outside of college as you can show what you're really interested in and build on ur skills. You don't want to be in the position where you're given 3 weeks for a portfolio from a uni and haven't got enough content to fill it.

Don't hesitate if you've got anymore portfolio questions as I've been in the same position and have been working on mine for a couple months (:
When I was referring to smaller agencies I was talking about 2-3 people studios set up in some renovated flat lol, a lot of those in my area. I've mainly been looking on Google Maps to find local ones, if you have any better tools to find the mid size and big agencies please do recommend them to me.

Have you gotten your portfolio work through the work experience you have done? I want to know early as I've still got over a year to work on mine, if you have any examples of real life work you have done or even stuff you have done by yourself to fill out your portfolio again fill me in just so I can get ideas for mine. Also, how many pieces of work do you recommend I put in? I understand it will end up being a mix of more favourable and lesser favourable stuff but I've seen suggestions of around 20.

When it came to your own design skills, how did you improve upon your skills? I'm a bit anxious that my Adobe knowledge won't be expansive enough by the time it comes to my application to uni, I pretty much only work with Illustrator due to the way I got into this passion so have you branched out to multiple apps or have you done some stuff physically? I would like to think having a good foundation is key going up.

But again, thank you so much, your advice has been some of the most personalised and useful to me. I'm working through contacts and agencies I currently have to get work experience and I have a few projects that I think in the future might have a place in my portfolio.
0
reply
molls.jo
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#10
Report 3 months ago
#10
(Original post by Finleyson)
When I was referring to smaller agencies I was talking about 2-3 people studios set up in some renovated flat lol, a lot of those in my area. I've mainly been looking on Google Maps to find local ones, if you have any better tools to find the mid size and big agencies please do recommend them to me.

Have you gotten your portfolio work through the work experience you have done? I want to know early as I've still got over a year to work on mine, if you have any examples of real life work you have done or even stuff you have done by yourself to fill out your portfolio again fill me in just so I can get ideas for mine. Also, how many pieces of work do you recommend I put in? I understand it will end up being a mix of more favourable and lesser favourable stuff but I've seen suggestions of around 20.

When it came to your own design skills, how did you improve upon your skills? I'm a bit anxious that my Adobe knowledge won't be expansive enough by the time it comes to my application to uni, I pretty much only work with Illustrator due to the way I got into this passion so have you branched out to multiple apps or have you done some stuff physically? I would like to think having a good foundation is key going up.

But again, thank you so much, your advice has been some of the most personalised and useful to me. I'm working through contacts and agencies I currently have to get work experience and I have a few projects that I think in the future might have a place in my portfolio.
Ahhh gotcha, I honestly just googled places in my town and surrounding areas and went from there, but usually you can get a gist of how big the agency is on their website, on mine they had a lil section where they have pictures of all the team members. I guess other than that all you can really do is look at their client work and see if it looks like what a bigger agency would produce? D;

None of the work in my portfolio was set by my work experience, instead I included college briefs and 'passion projects'. Obviously in your case you're probably not being set any Graphics work so if you manage to get any work experience and they get you involved in designing then include these AS WELL AS 'passion projects', but if you don't manage to get any work experience just make a portfolio complete with things you've made in ur own time. When I say 'passion projects' they're like self-set briefs, so just think of what you want to show in your portfolio and what you're interested in- or experiment with new stuff. For me, I wanted to explore publication as we'd never done that in my course so I've recently designed a zine in my free time to put into my portfolio. If you're stuck for ideas you can google 'graphic design brief generator' and then follow those!

Depending on where you want to go to uni they will have different portfolio requirements, but in general they will all look for a range of different types of work. So in mine I've included posters, branding, publication, physical media and some photography. They're definitely looking for a range in skills, and perhaps some of your media work could be used in your portfolio. Obviously most courses will have focuses so when you get round to applying, depending on what you're interested in at that time, just research what you'll be doing on it as you don't want to end up on a course that's heavy on logos and all that when you hate making logos lol. Again when it comes to how much content you put in your portfolio all unis have different requirements, but god no you won't have to include 20 individual pieces lol. None of my uni choices have asked for anything over 10 projects so don't stress urself out. For example, manchester met want 5 pieces, nottingham trent want 15 pages (this will include your development and sketches) whereas uwe bristol have said there is no max or min! Definitely don't add in things you're not happy with just for the sake of bulking it up as if you get an interview you may be asked to explain the project and if you don't care about it then you won't be able to talk about it.. Less work is better than things you don't care about (:

Design skills wise I'm still learning myself and I guess will be forever and obviously you'll find it easier at uni if u have a grip of photoshop n illustrator (and perhaps indesign) but again I don't think it's anything to be anxious about. Universities won't be looking for a professional with amazing technical skills, that's what they're there to help with- they just want to see potential. From going to open days and speaking to the graphics tutors, most of them emphasise that they want to see your ideas and development, not perfect work. I'm anxious myself that my skills and what I do still aren't good enough but again it's not always about the final piece but what the thoughts behind it were (: Anyway when it comes to developing your design skills again just mess around with illustrator and photoshop in your spare time, youtube is ur best friend as if you have an idea of how you want something to be but don't know how to actually do it there will always be a video to show u how. I know it sounds really cliche saying 'oh just mess around in your spare time' but honestly it works lol, even tho sometimes u do wanna punch the screen because you can't figure out what you're doing.

At the end of the day you don't want graphics to become something you hate doing so don't overwork urself because you have PLENTY of time. My main advice would be that when you do design in your free time to also be writing down or documenting your development- so add in your initial ideas, your thoughts, why you've made certain choices (colours, fonts etc..) and keep all your sketches because these need to be added to ur portfolios for uni as like i said they want to see your workings out alongside the final pieces. I can send u some photos of how I've shown development in my portfolio once I've finished it if needed + what I've added. Sorry this response was so long and again lmk if u got anymore questions !!
1
reply
Finleyson
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#11
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#11
(Original post by molls.jo)
Ahhh gotcha, I honestly just googled places in my town and surrounding areas and went from there, but usually you can get a gist of how big the agency is on their website, on mine they had a lil section where they have pictures of all the team members. I guess other than that all you can really do is look at their client work and see if it looks like what a bigger agency would produce? D;

None of the work in my portfolio was set by my work experience, instead I included college briefs and 'passion projects'. Obviously in your case you're probably not being set any Graphics work so if you manage to get any work experience and they get you involved in designing then include these AS WELL AS 'passion projects', but if you don't manage to get any work experience just make a portfolio complete with things you've made in ur own time. When I say 'passion projects' they're like self-set briefs, so just think of what you want to show in your portfolio and what you're interested in- or experiment with new stuff. For me, I wanted to explore publication as we'd never done that in my course so I've recently designed a zine in my free time to put into my portfolio. If you're stuck for ideas you can google 'graphic design brief generator' and then follow those!

Depending on where you want to go to uni they will have different portfolio requirements, but in general they will all look for a range of different types of work. So in mine I've included posters, branding, publication, physical media and some photography. They're definitely looking for a range in skills, and perhaps some of your media work could be used in your portfolio. Obviously most courses will have focuses so when you get round to applying, depending on what you're interested in at that time, just research what you'll be doing on it as you don't want to end up on a course that's heavy on logos and all that when you hate making logos lol. Again when it comes to how much content you put in your portfolio all unis have different requirements, but god no you won't have to include 20 individual pieces lol. None of my uni choices have asked for anything over 10 projects so don't stress urself out. For example, manchester met want 5 pieces, nottingham trent want 15 pages (this will include your development and sketches) whereas uwe bristol have said there is no max or min! Definitely don't add in things you're not happy with just for the sake of bulking it up as if you get an interview you may be asked to explain the project and if you don't care about it then you won't be able to talk about it.. Less work is better than things you don't care about (:

Design skills wise I'm still learning myself and I guess will be forever and obviously you'll find it easier at uni if u have a grip of photoshop n illustrator (and perhaps indesign) but again I don't think it's anything to be anxious about. Universities won't be looking for a professional with amazing technical skills, that's what they're there to help with- they just want to see potential. From going to open days and speaking to the graphics tutors, most of them emphasise that they want to see your ideas and development, not perfect work. I'm anxious myself that my skills and what I do still aren't good enough but again it's not always about the final piece but what the thoughts behind it were (: Anyway when it comes to developing your design skills again just mess around with illustrator and photoshop in your spare time, youtube is ur best friend as if you have an idea of how you want something to be but don't know how to actually do it there will always be a video to show u how. I know it sounds really cliche saying 'oh just mess around in your spare time' but honestly it works lol, even tho sometimes u do wanna punch the screen because you can't figure out what you're doing.

At the end of the day you don't want graphics to become something you hate doing so don't overwork urself because you have PLENTY of time. My main advice would be that when you do design in your free time to also be writing down or documenting your development- so add in your initial ideas, your thoughts, why you've made certain choices (colours, fonts etc..) and keep all your sketches because these need to be added to ur portfolios for uni as like i said they want to see your workings out alongside the final pieces. I can send u some photos of how I've shown development in my portfolio once I've finished it if needed + what I've added. Sorry this response was so long and again lmk if u got anymore questions !!
tysm for the comprehensive responses, I like the long responses do not worry.

You've helped with a fair few of my concerns and I actually feel like I have some sort of direction going forward. I've sent a couple of emails to promising design agencies as well as gotten a few future chats with some family friends who may be able to help me out in the industry. I'm not finished with these though and many more emails are to be sent!

I don't really have many questions left, only really about personal choices. Like, what is your design process from start to finish? I've been taught to go from mind maps to mood boards to visualisations and then start working of the different versions. I think its reasonable to skip a stage or two when an idea comes to mind and you just want to get it down onto paper, what about you though? How have you seen most of your projects pan out?

My other question is just about Adobe and whether you have purchased it already or if you might get it in uni or whatever your situation is with it. Its a key part to my designs right now and I personally pirate it but I'm just interested to know how someone with more experience has dealt with it.

Thanks again, you have been a true help to what I'm doing atm!
0
reply
molls.jo
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#12
Report 3 months ago
#12
No worries I'm happy 2 help! ;D

So, everyone's design process will differ from project to project, depends how big what you're working on is or if it's just something fun. If I'm working on a college brief which I'll have like 6 weeks to work on the process is a lot longer.. However, I will do research first. This research will be different every time and depends on what you feel like you need to know. For example, I completed a college brief where we had to make beer can labels that highlights Burton-On-Trent's history, so I planned to research burton's history, landmarks in burton (that could be used in the design), existing beer labels and trends etc... If you're working with a client brief you obviously need an in depth understanding of who you're designing for, the story they want to tell etc. After researching I'll go on Pinterest and make a big moodboard with fonts, colours, designs yada yada that I like to give myself lots of inspiration. Sometimes it helps to grab a few of ur favourite inspiration images from pinterest and put them on a separate artboard in your workspace so you can refer to them if you hit a blank. I also have a notebook where I just write down any ideas I get (stupid or not) and like you said just mindmap ideas and thoughts u have about how to approach the project, it doesn't matter if these don't come in handy because at our level development is super important and you don't want to forget an idea that could be something good. Anywayy, I'll then sketch some ideas and pick out my favourite and start designing haha. It's always best to try out more than one of your sketched ideas as you'd be surprised that the one you prefer on paper you end up hating when you get round to designing. Always try out lots of fonts and colours and layouts before settling on something to make sure you're 100% happy and have got the best outcome. After I've finished all of this I'll mock it up and then it's done (:

To break it down what I usually do for a big brief:
1. Research
2. Write down ideas (mindmaps, lists etc...) -Although I do write down **** throughout the entire process to keep ideas going
3. Moodboards/gathering fonts and colours
4. Sketching
5. Designing/Developing

Although, sometimes I do just have an idea spring to mind and skip out steps (especially research if it's just something for fun). I'd say just don't overthink the actual process and do what works for you as there is no structure really to how you should approach things. Personally I find writing initial ideas and gathering inspiration the most helpful part for me. Obviously when working in the industry you will do lots of research on the client and different markets etc, and during education tutors want to see sketches and what your thoughts are but yeah just don't give yourself a specific structure to follow as it'll get boring !

I used to pay the student price which is like £16 a month for the entire adobe suite which I don't think is too bad.. Luckily now my college provide it and when you go to Uni they should also provide it, it sucks that you have to pay for adobe full stop especially when you're not a student anymore ): Don't see the issue with pirating it tho if u can do that lmaooo

My ig is mollyjographics btw so if u ever need help with something just dm me (: I'd say it'd be good for u to also start an ig and post ur work and start to build a lil platform that way you can show unis that despite not actually studying graphics you've been interested in it ygm?
0
reply
insidedesigner
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#13
Report 3 months ago
#13
molls.jo and Finleyson you two are great! You'll both do really well because you've got excellent proactive attitudes.
0
reply
Coventry University Student Ambassadors
Badges: 15
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#14
Report 3 months ago
#14
(Original post by Finleyson)
Hey people,

I'm trying to get some work experience - specifically in graphic design - for the end of Year 12.

I've asked my parents about people they know in the industry and have been trying to get work through those means but I'm not too hopeful for anything beneficial.

I read online that looking up local design studios and sending them formal emails is a strategy, does anyone else have any useful ideas? I'd greatly appreciate doing work experience about something I actually care about.

Is getting work experience in this sort of area even possible?

Thanks guys!
Hi there,

My name is Eleanor and I'm a Student Ambassador at Coventry University- I study Illustration and Animation but have a background in Graphics.

I would highly advice getting touch with EVERYONE you know that has the possibility of giving you work experience or tips! You never know whose going to reply, so you must try or you'll never know! That's what I've learnt from University, I messaged many people for advice and interviews and so many people I didn't expect to respond got back!

Have you also considered doing freelance? Although it's not the work experience you were looking for, this could be a key thing to do whilst you're waiting to show your passion and that you're not just waiting around. It shows you're busy and like to work regardless. A lot of companies like to see that your working on a project personally or been up to other art commissions.

I would also suggest looking/joining Art Station as you can set it up for them to email you daily about new jobs on offer around your area and also across the world!

During my time of doing Graphics in College, a lot of my friends left and did apprenticeships at Graphic Companies and are still there to this day doing what they love, so maybe look at a few of these. I would also suggest talking to your lecturers if you haven't already as you never know!

I hope this helps- Overall, if you are considering Graphics at University, Coventry is a choice as they're all about preparing you for the work lifestyle which a lot of Universities tend to not teach you. Coventry will prepare you to your best and pushes you to get work experience, placements and gap years as they want you to do the best for yourself!

I hope this helps, good luck with your search!

El
0
reply
molls.jo
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#15
Report 3 months ago
#15
(Original post by insidedesigner)
molls.jo and Finleyson you two are great! You'll both do really well because you've got excellent proactive attitudes.
<333
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Y13's - If you haven't confirmed your firm and insurance choices yet, why is that?

I am waiting until the deadline in case anything in my life changes (24)
18.9%
I am waiting until the deadline in case something else changes (e.g. exams/pandemic related concerns) (13)
10.24%
I am waiting until I can see the unis in person (9)
7.09%
I still have more questions before I make my decision (22)
17.32%
No reason, just haven't entered it yet (33)
25.98%
Something else (let us know in the thread!) (26)
20.47%

Watched Threads

View All