“Don’t worry.” These were the two words of encouragement offered by our program coordinator as she handed me a slip of paper. The slip contained the details of which company I’ve been assigned for our mandatory work placement as part of the Graphic Design course at Red River College. Of course that didn’t quite help me. It simply made my nerves worse than they already were. Like everyone else in my class, I did my research and came to my first day of work placement, here at Manoverboard, equipped with expectations, questions, curiosity, and a bundle of nerves (and lots of them).
It wasn’t the moments of learning the ins and outs of the industry that were especially memorable, though I learned a lot about how the project process works and how you may get seemingly endless revisions from clients. (This is a stark contrast to design school where you have the liberty of revising your work or leaving it in your ever growing pile of amateur work.) I also learned about maintaining consistency in branding, knowing the core values of your client, and translating those values visually. I could go on and bore you with listing all the things design related that I learned and worked on throughout my placement, but I’ll spare you.
Acquiring industry-related knowledge is indeed useful. But there were two things that I took away as being most valuable.
He Dog-Ears His Books
The second Monday of my placement, Andrew gladly showed me the company’s library of books. He suggested that I take a break from design work and just read. I thought to myself, this is my chance to see through this kind man’s eyes and learn from his collection. I could let myself devour those design, web, and typography books, which I did for half a day. But even more interesting were the books specifically about business and productivity – all of them dog-eared.
The lesson here: read books often. These days, when there are more distractions and activities than ever, allotting time to read a real book seems impossible. As a design student, we spend so much time doing school projects that sometimes it comes to the point that we barely even have time to shower – because sleep is more important, right? However, should this be an excuse not to ever pick up a book? Perhaps not.
You Don’t Meet these Kinds of People Everyday, and When you Do, TAKE NOTES
In the opening chapter of Shift, brand guru Peter Arnell writes “I see my work life as an extension of my private life. I don’t make a neat distinction between them. I believe it’s a terrible mistake to try to separate our professional lives from our own lives.” I don’t know if the Manoverboard team see their work in the same light, but over for the past two weeks, I have noticed that they bring their own personalities and radiant positivity to their work attitudes. From Robyn’s tips and tricks in Illustrator and her helpful advice and shared experiences, to Dan’s sick knife dot inventions, to Amanda’s stories of Morden and her impeccable management skills, to how Jory’s daughter’s favourite apple is pineapple, I can see that their personal lives somehow mirror what they do at work and that they love it. That’s what I hope to achieve in the course of my career.
Overall, to Manoverboard, two words: Thank You! I couldn’t ask for a better work placement experience or better mentors. Two weeks was too short and yes, I took notes.