Friday, January 26, 2007

Life on the outside!!!

This week has been really eventful but also quite enjoyable. On Wednesday we were given the day to get on with our A5 assignment and bearing in mind the trip to London next Wednesday I was very happy with this as it allowed me to make significant progress. I am beginning to feel much more confident in using Dreamweaver now and I think this is due to the fact that I dedicated a lot of time in my self study to doing the tutorial. By doing this I have learnt how to use many features and learn some of the shortcuts and easier ways to do things. I feel that I benefited greatly from doing this and I will certainly try to do this again whenever we are introduced to a new piece of software.

Earlier on in the week I was informed by Steve that I would be going to Huddersfield to visit The Design Mechanics with some other students on Thursday afternoon. I was quite apprehensive about this as I did not really now what to expect but I found this to be a really good experience.

One of the biggest challenges of the day was actually getting there as the company is situated immediately after a variety of hills and fields which was quite a surprise. My preconception of the industry was a pressurised environment but I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was not the case. When we arrived it was quite a laid back atmosphere with people quietly getting on with their work and plugged into their iPods! This immediately put me at ease and I was eager to hear what everybody had to say.

We were soon taken into another room to be greeted by Dave who owns the company and Paul who is the lead designer. Then after making sure we were all comfortable with sitting on the floor they started with giving us an introduction into what they actually do. It was interesting to hear that they employ sales people who deal with the customer and go through a questionnaire with them which helps to give a good idea of what the customer is requesting. This is then passed onto a designer to create the designs which means that designers can focus solely on designing and do not have to waste time in liaising with the customer. Because of this approach they are given quite short deadlines to complete work, examples of deadlines were 1 hour for a logo to be completed and half a day for a website to be completed.

I was quite interested to see if the majority of their work was on websites or if it was print based. It soon became apparent that it was actually print based as a typical client who goes to them will request a logo, website, business card, letterhead and much more meaning that websites are only a small part of what they do.

Another part of the visit which I found to be advantageous was when we were all given a designer to sit with for twenty minutes to see what they did and to ask them any questions. I was quite happy with this as I was talking to Oliver who has just left our course last summer and he seemed to be enjoying the experience of working as a designer full time. I also asked him many questions that I had in the back of my mind such as his working patterns, if it was a good place to work and if he found it easy to make the step up from college. One of the most encouraging things was that he along with Dave felt that he just as capable if not more capable than other students who had gone their straight from university.
Overall I found the trip to be a great experience as it gave me a taste of what to expect when I finish the course, if anybody else is offered this opportunity in the future I recommend that they take it as I am sure that they will benefit from it just as much as I have!


Marc Pugh said...

I am also new to Dreamweaver. I will take up your route and try the tutorials, as I feel they will benifit me as much as they did you.

I also hope that the trip to Huddersfield comes again, as I would like to find out what life as a designer is actually like. I can see that the trip was well worth the effort of getting their, and I wish that I would of E-mailed Steve about the trip rather than sitting back and getting my hopes up.

Craig Burgess said...

I'm with you Ben - it was a great opportunity that should be grabbed with both hands by anybody who gets it.

Well worth the visit.

Mark said...

Hi Ben,

As a 2nd year I think that the visit was really valuable, so as a 1st year I think you have gained a great early advantage.

Do you think you would visit other companies too? I am of the opinion that The Design Mechanics maybe quite a unique business.

Personally I'd like to see a large scale business to make a comaprison.

Mark Feather