MISC. INTERNSHIP TASKS

During my internship with a full-service creative advertising agency, there were a number of smaller, miscellaneous tasks I completed.

In addition to the website designs and virtual reality framework, there were a series of additional mini-projects I worked on whilst interning for a creative agency.
 
These tasks were designing website wireframes for a large-scale online store and wholesale provider (pen and paper), refining the design for a musician’s personal website (Adobe XD), partaking in client workshops, writing up a script for a restaurant’s television commercial (TVC), and brainstorming for a pitch for an marketing job with Study Gold Coast.
 
Furthermore, an essay titled, “An Analysis of a Professional Environment” as well as a reflection written about the employability skills I’ve developed throughout my experience as an intern are included towards the bottom of this page, both in written and spoken formats.
 
#InternAtAFullServiceCreativeAdvertisingAgency

Using pen and paper, I worked on website wireframes for a large-scale online store and wholesale provider.

The above images are a series of wireframes I worked on during my first session in the office as an intern. The company’s designer had begun the design process for the main pages of the website, but my task was to envision how we could tackle the other pages. This process involved considering the website’s information hierarchy and referring back to my academic studies in the field of user experience design. 

“White boarding, sketching and research is where I begin any project. I like to have a full grasp of what I’m trying to accomplish before I even think of moving a pixel,”

(Waite, 2015, para. 19)
 
I agree that there is something very pure about starting the design process with traditional art mediums; it can minimise the noise when trying to bring ideas into reality. The task reminded me how helpful it is to start designing this way, as it gives you, “a clearer point of view for what you’re looking to solve,” (Waite, 2015, para. 19).
 
When digitally establishing the design for a project’s UI and UX, you can end up becoming, “attached to something because it is visually appealing,” (Waite, 2015, para. 19), which can result in a failure to recognise when particular design elements are adding inadequate value to the project. As an employee at a full-service agency, having the ability to recognise the difference between what is necessary and what is supplementary is crucial. An inability to explain your design decisions to clients can result in losing out on work you could have had if you were capable of effectively justifying its purpose and the contribution it makes to the project at large.

REFINEMENTS

The below screenshot is a series of web pages for a musician’s personal website, developed using Adobe XD. My colleagues designed it, however my task was to refine it and offer a fresh perspective. I enjoyed this task immensely, as I like details and ensuring things are precise. I went through the pages to fix inconsistencies, making sure all elements were legible, and that everything was properly aligned.
 
Being thorough in step of the process made the developer’s job more efficient when it came time to make the website.

CLIENT WORKSHOPS

During my internship, I was able to participate in a number of client workshops that took place around the below boardroom table. These meetings were a fantastic time for me to gain insight into the types of questions that are asked by clients, as well as the different ways various questions can be addressed. Furthermore, I gained experience with presenting concepts and explaining designs to a variety of clients.

One client workshop involved the man behind the hypnotherapyand visualisationwebsites, and also the website seen above that I worked to refine. Speaking with him and his partner was incredibly enjoyable, as I loved the challenge of trying to explain complex, technological concepts to new eyes. Many of the questions they asked involved concepts that were just so second nature to us, so it was a balancing act of trying to keep things simple, whilst providing enough technical information so things made sense and their curiosity was satisfied.
 
Another client workshop was with a 3D modelling company, which was almost the opposite to the aforementioned scenario. The man and lady who came in were very technologically savvy and the conversation was fast-paced and productive. We were able to all brainstorm new solutions as a team, and the room was filled with energy.
 
These two experiences particularly stood out, and they have informed my perspective as I continue on as a professional. It was truly fantastic being able to experience the diversity, and adapting to the clientele was a process that happened naturally for me, although I am very appreciative of the practice.

SCRIPT FOR A TVC

One of my tasks was to quickly do up a series of one-liners that a voice actor/actress could say. The voice clips could then be used interchangeably in multiple television commercials or videos to be featured on the business’s website and social media pages.
 
The process began by researching the client to discover what they were all about. By offering multiple examples for the types of lines they could use, I aimed to ensure the video editors had enough variety in the lengths of the voice clips, so were able to effectively achieve the tight time constraints and appeal to the video footage they were working with.
 
“Find us online at www.Morsels.net.au”
“Call us on 07 5525 3388.”
“Call us on zero seven, double five two five, double three double eight.”
“Call now on 07 5525 3388 to reserve a table.”
“Open from 12 pm Tuesday to Sunday.”
“Open from Tuesday to Sunday at 19 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba.”
 
“Meet me at Morsels.”
“Morsels at Mudgeeraba. Where music and food sound better.”
“Morsels at Mudgeeraba. Tapas with a difference.” 
“Come join us at Morsels, where food and music go better together.”
“At Morsels, we believe food tastes better with music.”
“Morsels. A local oasis for foodies.”
“Morsels at Mudgeeraba, a local oasis for foodies.”
“The local oasis for foodies.”
 
“Tapas table for two Tuesdays.”
“Two for Tapas Tuesdays, at Morsels.”
“Call now to book a table for two for tapas Tuesdays.”
 

“Join us for wine and dine Wednesdays”
“Wine and dine Wednesdays, at Morsels.”
 
“Wine and dine with us for Therapeutic Thursdays.”
“Treat yourself this Thursday, at Morsels.”
“Three for Two Thursdays, at Morsels.” 
 
“Join us for Friday Night Live with smooth sounds and food to compliment.”
“Join us on Friday nights for smooth sounds.”
“Friday Night Live, at Morsels.”
 
“Saturday nights at Morsels, with live local artists.”
“Saturday night live and local.”
“Saturday nights, live and local, at Morsels.”
 
“Live music at Morsels, every Friday and Saturday night.”
“Join us on Friday and saturday nights for smooth sounds and great food.”
“Morsels. Bringing a little jive to your dining experience.”

ANALYSIS OF A PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENT

Please enjoy the above recording of Olivia reading the below essay, so even if reading large blocks of text isn’t your thing, you can still hear about my analysis of a professional environment.

AN ESSAY IN THE FIELD
BY OLIVIA MEREDITH, APRIL 2019
 
Over a period of three months, I was a part-time intern at a full-service creative advertising agency. This experience has provided insight into the workings of a wide variety of elements that can be brought together and offered to clients in a multitude of ways; whether that be for a small-scale promotion, or as a comprehensive solution to advertising their business. As a Bachelor of Interactive Media and Design student, my formal studies have encompassed an extensive array of mediums, so my knowledge is versatile. For this reason, it has been a tremendous experience working with the company that welcomed me into their office, as they have taught me all about the way they approach the processes that are involved in running a full-service agency. The company’s services involve design, digital, strategy and marketing, and developing my understanding of each of these areas has strengthened both my transdisciplinary awareness and abilities (Bridgstock, 2013; Oliver Black, 2019). A number of key benefits and observations about the professional environment of full-service creative advertising agencies stood out during my time spent with the business. The salient aspects that have been identified are working with a wide variety of projects, the business opportunities associated with appealing to a broad audience, having multiple specialists working together in a shared space, and the positive impact had by working among a tight-knit community.
 
The first salient feature of a full-service creative advertising agency is that there are opportunities to engage with a number of different briefs that focus on producing a variety of mediums. My first task was drawing up wireframes, which was a fundamental beginning to the teachings of my journey. Senior user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designer for GoPro, Waite (2015) states, “white boarding, sketching and research is where I begin any project. I like to have a full grasp of what I’m trying to accomplish before I even think of moving a pixel,” (para. 19). I agree that there is something very pure about starting the design process with traditional art mediums; it can minimise the noise when trying to bring ideas into reality. The task reminded me how helpful it is to start designing this way, as it gives you, “a clearer point of view for what you’re looking to solve,” (Waite, 2015, para. 19). When digitally establishing the design for a project’s UI and UX, you can end up becoming, “attached to something because it is visually appealing,” (Waite, 2015, para. 19), which can result in a failure to recognise when particular design elements are adding inadequate value to the project. As an employee at a full-service agency, having the ability to recognise the difference between what is necessary and what is supplementary is crucial. An inability to explain your design decisions to clients can result in losing out on work you could have had if you were capable of effectively justifying its purpose and the contribution it makes to the project at large. I also worked on design concept documents, full-colour interactive prototypes, 3D scene design and C# development in Unity for the HTC Vive Focus, which is a mobile virtual reality headset (Grace, 2017). As the work I was involved in varied from week to week, I felt very appreciative for the experience. It is believed that there is immense value in variety, in relation to both skill development and productivity. Of course, everyone is different; however, the nature of the work allowed me to thrive. Norman and Jerrard (2014) emphasise the importance of designers’ motivation, as designers have the potential to make valuable contributions to innovation in the business. Full-service creative agencies are great places for those who possess a wide variety of skills and interests. On one particular day, I was making pretty colour schemes, and on another day, I was investigating and making alterations to a complex script, while the designer photographed biscuits. Changing tasks too often can result in fatigue, however being met with new challenges each week can give you energy and sustainable passion for your work, which is why I believe the variety offered by full-service creative agencies is incredibly valuable.
 
The second salient feature of a full-service creative advertising agency is the business opportunities associated with being able to cater to a wide range of clientele. The full-service approach is believed to be a very effective business model, especially in a city like the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast has experienced enormous growth over the years and although there is no lack of large businesses, small businesses are thriving too (City of Gold Coast, 2013). Many of these businesses are trying to update their media and marketing to stay current and compete with the younger, fresh companies that are obtaining new clients through social media platforms. There are also new businesses who are simply trying to get up and running, and online, so they can attract customers and begin to bring in a profit. For many people, the full-service approach is extremely appealing and convenient, as clients can trust all steps in the process will be taken care of. As there is no need to consult individual specialists, the results of employing a singular, multi-talented company are expected to be of a much higher quality, based on the fact that each building block involved in the design and strategy will fit together harmoniously. However, despite being capable of providing a full-range of services, some clients approach the company with a request to only carry out a single step in their advertising process. For example, a client may already have a strong art direction, although they may employ the company to assist with UX and web development. This flexibility serves small, mid-range and full-service jobs, which means the business can be of service to anyone and everyone who may be looking for assistance with their advertising or creative needs (Oliver Black, 2019). Catering to a wide audience allows for diversity among both the clientele and the projects themselves, which is a particularly interesting aspect of the professional environment of discussion.
 
The third salient feature of a full-service creative advertising agency is that people with different specialities are working alongside one another in the office. In terms of the way a business like this functions, multiple benefits have been identified. Firstly, when clients came to the office to discuss their goals for their project, little organisation was required to ensure both the creative director, designer and developer were all present so questions could be answered, and specific details could be discussed with the associated specialist. Similarly, when clients call the office with questions, they often do not understand how their projects are coordinated behind the scenes, although if the designer was asked a question that actually dealt with the website’s functionality, he could simply pass the phone onto the developer to continue the conversation. Secondly, sometimes clients have complicated requests that have not been dealt with before. In these instances, I observed how convenient it was for the agency’s employees to conduct ideation sessions to generate possible approaches and bounce ideas off one another (Interaction Design Foundation, n.d.). With their varied specialties, they could efficiently expand the scope of their ideas in order to produce new prototypes at a rapid pace. Furthermore, this environment results in constant learning, as working aside others with different specialties means there are things you can learn from one another (Haynes, Suckley & Nunnington, 2017). Waite (2015) states how it is crucial to know your limitations, and as the designer works closely with the developer, and vice versa, each employees’ work is more effective and efficient as all parties are aware of how the processes are connected. As a designer, Zaytsev (2014) also notes the value in being able to work side by side with developers. In addition, by having different people specialising in different areas, employees can provide, “a unique point of view and approach to solving problems,” (Waite, 2015, para. 23) in areas they do not specialise in. Norman and Jerrard (2014) emphasise the importance of being able to understand business contexts and communicate effectively across a variety of disciplines. My internship experience has allowed me to develop my skills in these areas, and it is believed full-service agencies are a great professional environment for designers to obtain and develop these skills.
 
The fourth salient feature that has been identified is less about full-service agencies in general, and more about the specific company I was able to experience first-hand. As a small business, I noticed the positive impact that can be had on your happiness and productivity when you are lucky enough to work in an environment with a tight-knit community feel. Some people are not fond of going to work, although in my experience, going to the office put a spring in my step. If you are not having the best day, being around people can bring you out of your head and make things feel much better. At the company I worked with, there were only a few of us, so we would greet each other by name and make pleasant small talk. On multiple occasions, we would find something in our work that prompted conversation, but the greatest memories are from those few times we took a break to play table tennis together; the friendships we developed with one another provided laughter that reignited our productivity (Seppälä & Cameron, 2015). It is argued that there is immense value, on both a personal and a managerial level, in being surrounded by people you enjoy, especially in a workplace. 
 
In conclusion, the professional environment of a full-service creative advertising agency is one of variety, collaboration, adaptation and learning. During my time spent with the agency, I learnt about how businesses of this kind operate, I gained insight into the strategy and marketing disciplines, which I had not had much exposure to, and I embraced opportunities for self-development. My formal learning prepared me very well for the experience; it was great to apply what I had learnt throughout my academic studies to real world scenarios. However, my experience as an intern has undoubtedly made valuable contributions to my skill, or talent, stack (Foroux, 2018; Hanft, 2016) that ultimately enrich my abilities as an interactive media designer. It is believed that a full-service creative advertising agency is an ideal environment for an interactive media student who is eager to be exposed to all parts of the creative design process. 
 
REFERENCES
 
Bridgstock, R. (2013). Professional Capabilities for Twenty‐First Century Creative Careers: Lessons from Outstandingly Successful Australian Artists and Designers. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 32(2), 176-189. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-8070.2013.01756.x
 
City of Gold Coast. (2013). Economic Development Strategy 2013-2023[PDF file]. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/econmic-dev-strategy.pdf
 
Foroux, D. (2018). Skill Stacking: A practical strategy to achieve career success. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://dariusforoux.com/skill-stacking/
 
Grace. (2017). Basic UI/UX design concept difference between wireframe, prototype, and mockup (updated). Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://www.mockplus.com/blog/post/basic-uiux-design-concept-difference-between-wireframe-prototype
 
Hanft, A. (2016). What’s your talent stack? Could understanding Donald Trump’s success help designers get hired? Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://medium.com/@ade3/what-s-
your-talent-stack-a66a79c5f331
 
Haynes, B., Suckley, L., & Nunnington, N. (2017). Workplace productivity and office type: An evaluation of office occupier differences based on age and gender. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 19(2), 111-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRE-11-2016-0037 
 
Interaction Design Foundation. (n.d.). Ideation: Your constantly-updated definition of Ideation and collection of topical content and literature. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/ideation
 
Norman, C., & Jerrard, R. (2015). Design managers, their organisations and work-based learning. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, 5(3), 271-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-07-2014-0028
 
Oliver Black. (2019). Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://oliverblack.com.au
 
Seppälä, E., & Cameron, K. (2015). Proof that positive work cultures are more productive. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive
 
Waite, C. (2015). Sr. UI/UX designer @GoPro, formerly interactive designer at @FocusLab. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://medium.com/ux-design-interviews/charlie-waite-24447e683bb9
 
Zaytsev, A. (2014). Alexander Zaytsev: Talking with user interface & user experience designers. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://medium.com/ux-design-interviews/alexander-zaytsev-589995930fea
REFLECTING ON MY EXPERIENCE AS AN INTERN: EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS
BY OLIVIA MEREDITH, APRIL 2019
 
My industry experience has provided me with the opportunity to strengthen a variety of skills that have increased my employability. The skills that are the most pertinent are communication, self-management and using my initiative, although the benefits have not been limited to these areas.
 
I have practiced communicating both verbally and through the written word, whilst focusing on performing with a level of clarity and formality appropriate to the context. In the business context that I absorbed myself in over the period of 12 weeks, I noticed an improved ability to express myself whilst adapting to those around me. Examples of this particular skill development include receiving my next brief via Google Hangouts; I carefully read what my boss wrote, I asked questions to confirm my understanding and I did some research before responding, allowing me to dissect what was needed in order to proceed. I wasn’t successful with my attempts to clarify when first receiving the brief, however, when he came into the office later that day, I was able to confirm the direction to take. The confusion wasn’t all bad, as it just meant I learnt more than I need to. Overall, this experience improved my ability to communicate with a high-level of clarity and formality that was appropriate to the context. In addition to this, as I was able to work on a diverse range of tasks, I had the opportunity to communicate with both the designer and developer which allowed me to obtain more information and alternative perspectives, as well as providing me with an enriched ability to solve problems. 
 
My experience provided me with lots of opportunities for work on my self-management skills. I was given a lot of freedom of autonomy, which allowed me to set personal goals, organise, prioritise and plan individual tasks so I could work steadily towards these goals. Connected with self-motivation, this skill was aligned with my value of integrity with allowed me to function more flexibly and thus productively. Working in the office environment with self-declared hours created a nice balance, as I conversed with my colleagues and we asked each other questions about design opinions and technical issues, thus concurrently developing my teamwork and communication skills.
 
I developed my skills with taking initiative. As the ambiguity of some of the projects I was given made me a little bit nervous at first, I needed to remind myself that I was there to continue learning, and that the briefs would have the best results if they were developed using iterative processes. As opposed to many of the briefs we receive at university, where we’re given a task and the criteria that acts as the formula for success, my internship experience allowed me to improve my ability to take initiative. Rather than asking lots of questions in attempt to soothe my detail-orientated mind, I discovered that they were open briefs and many of the questions existed for me to answer as I saw fit. I also made an effort to just keep working; looking for inspiration to help with direction but mostly just starting to design because once it was rolling, I trusted something would come together, and it could then be improved. I told myself it didn’t need to be amazing at first, in fact it was likely to turn out better if it  was not. I observed the information I’d been given, exercised critical thinking, and made informed decisions that propelled me forward and kept me going through the process. Once I’d designed something, colleagues were able to provide their opinions and guidance so I could improve; each time getting closer to something the company and client would be proud of.