365 days at KBE

This year has been the most challenging, yet rewarding and enjoyable year of my time at university. The industry experience I’ve gained while being on placement at KBE has been invaluable and just as importantly the work has been thoroughly enjoyable. Twelve months just fly in when you’re immersed in engaging projects. At the start, getting used to the 9-5 life was tough.  However, as the months went on I grew in confidence and got into the flow of working and started to really enjoy it. I might even stretch to love it. There were many firsts during my time at KBE, most notably being introduced to my first Boojum burrito bowl. Let’s just say, I am one stamp away from getting that T-Shirt. 

No two days where ever the same. As a Junior Designer, I worked closely with the Senior Designers to deliver high-quality creative work, brands and marketing campaigns, seeing briefs through from conception to completion. I was involved in a whole range of projects through which I experienced different roles within the company. Ranging from small art working jobs to the complete design of signage, posters, brochures, flyers and full brand audits. Every project big and small brought with it a variety of challenges and things to learn from.

A few weeks into my placement I was given my first branding project to work on, for Jigsaw Day Nursery. Along with two other designers, we were given the task to come up with an engaging, child-friendly brand that would work as a sub-brand as well. After all three brands were pitched to the client, I was soon to find out my design was chosen as the brand they wanted to roll out. This was a big achievement, having my idea chosen during my first branding project, I will never forget the feeling. Throughout the year I continued to work on many Jigsaw projects including rolling out their new brand. 

While working on this project and others I have learnt there is so much more to a brand than just a logo, it is also language, imagery and typography. These different elements put together in a specific layout are what make a visual identity. The logo is just there to enforce all these elements. 

I started my placement in one building, and finished in another. Starting out on the Lisburn Road in a three-story terrace town house, converted into a design studio was interesting. Even though it was small I really enjoyed my first 6 months there. The buzz and setting of the Lisburn road was an ideal location, however for an evolving studio, we were out growing our premises.

It was very exciting to be part of the move to Jenny Mount, during my time at KBE. This was a huge milestone for the company. The studio vibe changed dramatically, as we went from a room where everyone was facing a wall while working to an open plan layout with designated break out zones, gaming areas, coffee stations and swings, to de-stress when the going gets tough.

There is a definite culture of knowledge sharing within KBE, with monthly shared learning talks and tutorials, which helps the place evolve as a whole, something I certainly benefited from during my time there. During my year with KBE I was given a fantastic opportunity to speak at the event they were hosting, as part of Belfast Design Week. Talking about how my outside hobby of pottery and ceramics influenced me as a junior designer. This was a great personal achievement of mine.

Needless to say, I have truly loved the time I’ve spent at Kaizen Brand Evolution. This year has stretched me in more ways than I ever thought possible, and pushed me out of my creative comfort zone, both personally and professionally. The people are what really make this company special. 

I just want to say a big thanks to Lynsay and Ryan at KBE for giving me this amazing opportunity to be part of the team, where there is never a dull day! Huge thanks should go to all the design team, thanks for all the laughs, chats and Friday lunches. They all have put up with my endless questions (and all of my mistakes along the way!) I admire all of them and have learnt so much from their wealth of knowledge and perpetual patience showed to me. 

I would definitely recommend industry placement for all students studying Graphic Design. It will stand by me during the final year of my degree and has validated a clear sense of direction for my professional future.

Placement – It’s Been Brill


Over & Out

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