What's your favourite project you've worked on at RY?
I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in some really good projects here at RY, but I guess one of my favourites was working on the TEDx London Salon event back in November. It was great to have a really open brief to work with which we could approach in any way we saw fit. We took the theme of the event – Talking Poverty Challenging Inequality – and created a system which was able to tell a story through both print and moving image.
Alongside that, I’ve been able to explore an area of design I never really knew existed before joining the IE team here at RY – Corporate Reporting and Investor Engagement. It’s been great for me to learn a lot more about typography and layout, which are fundamentals of all areas of design. I’ve been involved in some new client pitches as well as working on some reports start-finish.
How important do you think internships are?
The importance of an internship didn’t really resonate with me until I was lucky enough to find one at an agency like RY. I’d done a work placement as part of my uni course, which was great, but it was in-house at a sportswear company. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn a lot, but not the things I really wanted or needed to as much as I did when I joined RY.
Before RY, I guess like a lot of people, I thought, “Great, I’ve finished uni and learnt what I needed to, and I’m ready for the world of work.” But I think the internship here allowed me to broaden my skills.
Internships are great because they give you the chance to be eased (or thrown) in the deep end of clients and ‘real life’ work. I think I learned a lot more ‘real’ stuff in the 6 months of my internship than I did at uni for a few years. You learn how to keep yourself creative during the 9-5 rather than working around your own hours and that creative idea you have at 3am. Deadlines become much tighter, and, well, I guess clients are (a little) more demanding than your uni tutors. Your work is centered around others rather than for yourself and open uni briefs. It’s a big change and I think as an intern you’re really allowed to explore this. I’ve been able to learn from those who have been doing this for years, and close to someone who you can nudge to give you a hand becomes really helpful when you’re stuck or unsure.
How to stand out: Steph's top tips for standing out from the crowd
I think a good way to look at it is to understand that the best solution isn’t always the most obvious. If you’re trying to stand out you need to think about whether someone else could have thought about the same thing. Standing out doesn’t necessarily mean over-complicating things. It could be as simple as making sure your portfolio really tells a story or writing a really simple, nice, but to-the-point covering letter (with no typos). You need to remember recruiters are most likely receiving hundreds of applicants (potentially with work responding to the same brief - like D&AD, YCN or ISTD) – so make sure yours is the one they remember.