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Are placements beneficial for everyone?

Discussion in 'Logo Design & Brand Identity Forum:' started by Drink Tea Eat Biscuits, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. I am interested to find out other people's opinions and experiences with taking on students for placements. I am looking into the way in which graphic design is taught at degree level.

    Does anyone have an opinion on this topic? I have spoken to a lot of students and the general consensus is that they value links with industry. I am interested to look at it from the other perspective.
  2. berry

    berry Active Member

    I try not to take people on placement as 2 weeks is generally too short.
    It also needs good monitoring and supervision from the CD to ensure that your not just picking your nose. A lot is down to the individual. Most people who have done 'Placement' work have generally ended up being first choice for a vacancy that crops up. My current CD i took on a placement as a junior 8 years ago and has been with me since.
  3. I agree that a 2 week slot isn't necessarily the most valuable slot of time, some agencies take on students for a day a week so that it gives them more of an opportunity to grow and fit in with how things operate.

    Do you agree that certain things just can't be taught in theory at university?
  4. Greg

    Greg Active Member

  5. Cheers Greg, that's a really helpful link.
  6. It seems that one of the biggest criticisms from an 'employers' point of view is a combination of the practical side of things like setting up for print and the knowledge of how to use type.

    I think this kind of thing is something you have to learn through lived experiences. You learn about type through looking at mistakes you made and analyzing just why certain things don't feel balanced.

    It feels like the clash between industry and education has formed this 'catch 22' where you need experience to get a job but you need a job to get experience.

    Do you think that professionals in this sector need to invest more time in students and graduates? eg. workshops, guest lectures etc.?
  7. ralphsaunders

    ralphsaunders Senior Member

    I worked at a small design company (for free of course) in my local town for 8 weeks over the summer holidays last year. Best 8 weeks I ever spent.
  8. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    From a printer's perspective, we find this a lot from students finalising their coursework ready to print that a working knowledge of file types, resolution and some important elements of general setup for print isn't covered on their course to a standard that they can work the most efficiently on their chosen projects. We output work as print, and cut vinyl mainly for their coursework displays and try to help as much as possible with their setup as early in the process as we can. We put flyers about at the local college offering free advice so students can get in touch before the end of their course to gain some practical tips and knowledge and it seems to work quite well as it builds a relationship between us so that when they graduate some of them become clients. We have few ex-students, now clients who we continue to work with a few years down the line, so everyone is happy.

    One of the worst issues is when they are creating large format artwork for A0/A1 or bigger prints at 300 dpi, as they've been told to for printing(in general). This is much too high and everything takes longer for them to work with at this resolution, just more stress when they're already burning the midnight oil to get stuff finished. Files saved in RGB etc. simple stuff really.

    As for placements, at the last company I worked at we had people for placements and usually found we were too busy to give them the attention they needed and set them to work on labourious tasks to get the work out, and when it was quieter the realisation of things they didn't know about and the few days were they with us made it impossible to give them a proper grounding. Supervision is the key, but nowadays when staff numbers and budgets have been cut, it's not the most attractive idea to have an extra person around needing attention, unless they're good at making tea.

    Saying that though, I did a placement at a screen printers and thoroughly benefited from it and enjoyed it. :up:
  9. How do you feel they felt about your time spent with them?
  10. Do you feel they valued you while you were there?
  11. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    The screen printers about me? Or the placements at ours?
  12. It seem that this works for both sides of the table.

    It appears that the placement seems to be regarded as very much one sided!
  13. lol, I meant the screen printers, but I guess both!
  14. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    Absolutely, it's a great change from the norm for us too as you get to see lots of new talented ideas every year, work with people who are generally interested to learn stuff and are excited to be doing what they're doing and you get the added satisfaction of helping people achieve. Lots of them come here with complaints of other printers looking down on them and treating them as a pain to deal with. We give them lots of help and advice, a big discount and a great finished product, they tell their friends and keep coming back.

    As for the screen printers well I didn't actually ask them, but I did use them to do my screenprint until the main guy sadly passed away last year. I would have thought he saw me as a pain at the time, he was a right miserable bugger. :D

    It's not always one sided though as Berry says, he employed someone 8 years ago from a placement who is still there so it really depends on the individual situation as they've clearly both benefited. If you're looking for someone new I guess it could be a good way of vetting prospective talent.

  15. ralphsaunders

    ralphsaunders Senior Member

    I think so. I helped redesign their logo and business cards while I was there among a few other things, and they're still using them so it couldn't of been all bad :D
  16. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    I've often thought something like this would be a brilliant idea. But sadly I can't afford to, there is no way I could seriously afford to take a month off work to be unpaid, I realise the experience would be valuable, but how do you balance a positive experience over the roof over your head?
  17. ralphsaunders

    ralphsaunders Senior Member

    I guess I was lucky in a way. I was still young enough to be living at home with my parents. I would still like to do a similar thing when I go to Uni but I'm not sure I will have the time/money to do so.
  18. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    True, sadly I doubt my mother wants me back!
  19. I'm just wondering that if more companies put time into improving the quality of the graduate designer then it would benefit the industry?

    I've spoke to certain established designers who say that every year they hate the new flock of students, particularly the freelancer because they undercut other designers and do a rubbish job which ultimately devalues and dilutes the industry.
  20. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    such full and rich territory for arguement....

    I am starting to think in any practical discipline, placement should be a mandatory part of a degree! It would help as it would give you experience, an openning to the industry and real time experience.

    The best wisdom I have ever been given whilst in uni was, "How long did you spend on that project...4 weeks? Yeah, thats a mornings work in the real world."

    And it is totally true, I have done comparable jobs professionally in an afternoon, that I would have spent a month on in uni! I wish I had been given the opportunity to get involved with a business/agency whilst in uni.

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