Computer ArtsOpinion

Around Iceland in a mobile design studio

How working hard and being nice to people resulted in a trip to the Arctic for Emma Noble

I’m currently in my final year at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Throughout the three years here my tutors have always put emphasis on how important it is to get industry experience alongside uni, so over my holidays I’d contact designers, sending them my portfolio and a message about why I’d love to work with them...

I was offered opportunities to assist some great designers and directors. And I made sure I worked really hard in the hope of them inviting me back, which luckily they did – and still do when they need me. As Anthony Burrill says: ‘Work hard and be nice to people’ (although I actually read that he didn’t come up with that himself – he heard a wise old lady telling it to someone in the supermarket).

What I’ve found when approaching designers is that a personal email that has had some thought, time and effort put into it, goes a long way. It’s easy to write boring, automated emails and send them out to hundreds of places in the hope of finding work. But that email they receive from you is the first impression they get of you – so make it a good one I always say. I’ve only ever contacted people who I admire and would genuinely love to work with, and I think that passion and desire to work with them naturally shines through.

Doing all these bits and bobs has built my confidence for working in the real world – and padded out my CV too. I got the chance to intern at Comic Relief this year, working in the creative department: it was another great experience and taught me a lot about working within and across teams in a creative company. It was this, along with a series of projects at uni that involved coming up with ideas for campaigns, that got me interested in the creative advertising side of design.

Then one day George Bryant from the Brooklyn Brothers was invited to give a talk at our university as part of our guest speaker series. Previous to this, my tutor had noticed my style of thinking was similar to that of the Brooklyn Brothers, and suggested approaching them for work experience. When George showed us what they’d been working on, I instantly fell in love with their work. His talk inspired me so much that I decided I wanted to be part of the new way of thinking that the Brooklyn Brothers are so renowned for.

So in response to ‘The Love Story Project’ – which is a brief set by the Brooklyn Brothers for people wanting the chance to intern with them – I created a comedy nature mockumentary. I was invited in for a chat, which I went into full of enthusiasm, and showed them some of my work via my website. They seemed to like what they saw and invited me in to spend some time working with them. I was so happy and excited when I walked out of there, I think I had a smile on my face the whole way home.

I feel very privileged to be working alongside such a talented bunch of people and it’s led to having the amazing opportunity of working with them on the next stage of their ‘Inspired by Iceland’ campaign, which I’m also combining with my final major project at uni. It’s great to be working on a live project for my final piece and being in a buzzing agency environment at the same time. I’ve gained some valuable experience and have been involved with pitching ideas, as well as working with the creatives to see how these ideas might fit together as a whole campaign. I feel like I’m learning a lot.

Just when I thought my luck couldn’t get any better, I was selected – along with three other students – to be sent out to Iceland as part of the ‘Inspired by Iceland’ campaign. We travelled around the country and met some amazing designers, spending a day working with each of them in a mobile design studio, all in the bid to become creatively inspired and to showcase the design talent in Iceland. It was great fun and enabled me to gain a better insight and understanding of the Icelandic way of life, which I can now inject into my final project.

Studying Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea was one of the best decisions I have made. It’s opened up so many exciting doors for me. I have less than a month to go then I’m off into the real world. It’s been tough but it’s been great.

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