Our team are often thinking about ways in which we can give back to our local communities. As such, our team have been reaching out to local colleges to spend some time with their design students and help them plan for their future careers.

Having previously spent time with Grimsby Institute, where our team have been invited to consult on the curriculum, they reached out to Lincoln College to help even more future designers. Our design team leader, Danny, explained why he thought it was important for us to spend time with the design students at Lincoln College,

“The difference between being in the industry and studying it is huge! A lot of design courses are missing the fundamentals of real-life experience.

I was absolutely shocked when I went from the security of my university design course to working in an actual design studio. The differences in the pace and working on client briefs are immense compared to completing coursework.

We’re working hard with colleges and universities to help shape their lessons to prepare students for how life in the industry actually is. If we can get students to consider some of the more challenging things about design now, they will have a better chance of future success.”

Bridging the gap between the classroom and real life.

Barney and Danny eased the students in with a talk about the expectations and standards of working for a design agency. As well as talking about the things the students might already have had some idea about, like the use of technology and working to a timescale, the students were presented with lots of things they’d never considered before.

It was important for our team to help the students feel prepared for design work in the real world. The difference between what they are learning in the classroom and the skills they’re acquiring as individuals now and how in the future they will need to work as part of a team and tailor their own taste to suit a client brief.

Most of the students had never considered the importance of accessibility within their designs and how this can play a crucial role in the user experience. Fortunately, our team were on hand to give them lots of tips and advice to elevate their own coursework to meet this crucial requirement.

Meeting a client’s brief.

Although hearing about what it’s like to work in a creative and dynamic industry was useful for the students, our designers had something much more challenging planned for the rest of their visit. The students were presented with a client brief.

Just like any brief a real designer might get in the real world, the students were given a brief by a client to design a new business card. A task which might have sounded simple at the start of the day, but now they understood more about creating something following client guidelines and not just their own tastes, this was a real challenge.

To further challenge the students, they were asked to work in pairs to mimic working as part of a design team where they would have to brainstorm ideas together. We weren’t completely mean to them though, we did give them all of the same assets a client might send to us (including low-resolution JPG images which they would need to recreate for clarity).

As with any brief, they had to first research and draft a sketch before moving on to their final designs.

Adapting and Elevating Designs

Whilst the students were busy with their brief, Barney and Danny took the time to sit with each pair and challenge them further by questioning their design. The students quickly learned how to adapt their designs based on suggestions and to slow down to consider some elements they wouldn’t have before.

The students were also given some tips which many professional designers might now take for granted such as tools in Adobe Systems and the importance of brand use, spacing and layouts. All of the students learnt something new and it was incredible to watch them applying the suggestions within the class.

As with any design brief, once they had finished they were given feedback and further tips on how to elevate their designs to the next level. It was great to see all of the students taking this as a positive step in development and wanting to go away and further work on their designs.

Our team even spotted one student checking the aspect ratios of a website project to ensure they were hitting all of the accessibility standards they’d just been taught about. Before the session, the students didn’t even know this was a thing let alone how important it was.

Advocating For Industry Standards

Our design team are planning to provide more opportunities for design students at college and universities in the future. We want to help inspire a future generation of designers whilst also preparing them for the real world and all of its challenges.

In an ideal world, colleges and universities would collaborate with design agencies to ensure they are teaching students some of the more overlooked elements of design such as ensuring accessibility. We would love to see industry standards being more heavily encouraged within the classroom.

For now, we’re going to focus on helping local students who want help with reviewing their portfolios and tips on improving their current designs to help them stand out. We’re excited about future collaborations and the prospect of someday working with some of these bright students in a professional capacity.

If you’re in need of a design refresh for any aspect of your business, get in touch with our design team today.