A week in the life of a work experience student at Wider

This month we welcomed undergraduate Liam Brady into our studio for a work experience placement.

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Liam has just completed his 2nd year studying a BA honors degree in Media and Communication at Birmingham City University and was keen to put this theory into practice with some live design projects, as well as our team giving him sound advice to take away with him.

For those in full time education, we’re eager to do all we can to help young aspiring designers by providing work placements, giving them an insight into the creative industry and equip them with key skills they would not necessarily learn through study.

In Liam’s words, here’s a round up of his experience with us:

What differences did you note between projects at university, and projects at Wider?

“A notable difference between my projects at university, and the projects at Wider, was communication. Despite working on a project individually, at Wider it is very much a collaborative effort. During my time there, I was regularly conferring with the team, where ideas regarding designs would be constantly discussed, and critiqued. The communication between us proved to be vital, as it prevented any chance of complacency or inadequate work, due to the fact I was regularly tended to and supported. As a result, I had a clear direction in terms of how I was going to produce my work, and there was no uncertainty pertaining to the tasks I was completing.”

“When compared to university, we are often given assignment briefs and then left to our own devices. Although the independence can be empowering, there is the possibility of feeling isolated and demotivated, particularly when you do not fully grasp what the assignment is demanding. The independence of university assignments does enhance your ability to be autonomous, though at Wider there was a great camaraderie, with a perfect blend of independence and teamwork. This made Wider not only a productive workplace, but also a fantastic learning environment for myself.”

What was the most valuable things learned from your time with Wider?

“I can confidently say that I have learnt a lot during my time at Wider, but one of the most crucial things I learnt, in my opinion, was non-destructive editing. Admittedly, I have had a habit of designing content with flattened layers, which renders my work inoperable, in terms of revisions or future adjustments. However, during my time at Wider I was introduced to smart objects, which adds versatility to my projects, as I am able to manipulate images liberally, while maintaining their original attributes. Furthermore, I have also enhanced my understanding of Adobe software, by learning new tools and abilities, some of which I never knew existed.”

What you learnt about working in the industry during your time with Wider?

“The biggest thing I picked up about working in the industry is how research is the backbone of all design work. It is not just the visuals of the design that are important; it is the research and justification behind the final design, as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the research procedure, being a student who studies a degree that entails production and theory assignments; all of which require intensive research. Seeing how Wider operate helped develop my analytical mind, too, as they are very mindful of the connotations linked to their work. As a result, the final design is tailored fully to the client that is receiving it.”

How you found your time with Wider overall?

“My time at Wider was extremely rewarding and gratifying, and I believe I have certainly progressed as a designer. When it is possible to be intimidated by entering a workplace for the first time, I felt at home immediately, thanks to the welcoming and courteous team at Wider. The team was fantastic at teaching and instructing me, and was never condescending, despite their experience and skill level in the industry. I did not feel like a student who was gaining experience, instead I felt like a valued and respected colleague, who had worked at Wider for a long time. As an aspiring designer, this meant a lot, and for that, I will always be grateful to Wider for opening their doors to me. The team are not only great at what they do, but they are also great people.”

What advice do you have for other designers looking to get into the industry?

“I would advise aspiring designers to never be complacent. Instead, keep asking questions, keep trying to push further, and enhance your knowledge as much as possible. Your work is a representation of yourself, so always try to make it the best it can be. You cannot be denied results if you dedicate yourself to your work. Lastly, I would recommend networking. Upload your work, connect with others, and build a professional, online presence for yourself.”

Our final thoughts...

Overall, we’re delighted that Liam came to us to complete his work placement and hope that he found the experience useful and insightful to carry him through into his final year at university and beyond. He was a pleasure to have around, and will surely develop into a great designer as he develops his career after leaving university.

If you’re an undergraduate studying a creative design or digital course with a passion for the industry and would like the opportunity to spend time with a team of highly experienced creatives, we’d be happy to hear from you.

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