Hi, my name is Ashleigh and I am a Graphic Design student currently studying at Huddersfield University. My course offers an optional placement year, which gives students the opportunity to take a year out to work within the industry. This happens after second year giving students the chance to gain more experience before entering final year, where a lot more independence is required compared to the first two years. Also during final year, students work on their final major project, have the opportunity to enter into the D&AD New Blood Awards, and present their work in the University’s Degree Show, so I personally feel that the placement year is really important, especially to gain more confidence.My first day at Ultimate was an absolute whirlwind! When I parked up my heart was racing and when Lisa pulled up beside me it definitely eased the nerves having someone there to walk in with. Lisa then kindly introduced me to everyone. There were so many names and faces to remember, which honestly flew right over my head! But I soon picked them back up again as the day went on. Ultimate is by far the biggest place that I have worked in. Before coming here, I had been working in small independent studios around Manchester, typically with no more than three other people in the room, so walking in to Ultimate was undeniably scary. I definitely felt more comfortable on my second day and started to get into the swing of things.
I thought it was really great to see how the design team worked and how the different teams all worked together as a whole.
The days were busy and very fast paced which required a lot of organisation, which I soon saw during a design lunch meeting, where the design team were talking through their highly organised colour coded spreadsheet – something I’ll bear in mind for my hectic year ahead!
Being surrounded by great minds meant I received a wider variety of feedback on the work I was producing. At University it’s very easy to get stuck in your own little bubble and I felt like I naturally gravitated towards one tutor, like most students, which meant I was getting similar feedback every week. Having that wide variety of feedback at Ultimate meant I had lots more to think about when developing my work further: it didn’t just give me one idea to explore, there were different directions that I could take. Taking this feedback on now will help me ultimately with future projects, whether at another placement or at University.
I really enjoyed working on the brief I was given, which was to brand a new beer for a brewery. I loved having the freedom to explore and develop my own ideas! However, I got to a stage where I could see the elements I had created were not visually working well together. One of the logos looked slightly disconnected to the rest of the design. After speaking with Anya, she made me realise how important it is to go back to pen and paper. I was redrawing letter forms over and over again until I felt happy with the composition. This stage within the development was really useful and definitely a process of working that I will use and never underestimate again!
Besides all the hard work, I was able to see and be part of the close-knit family side that Ultimate has.
On Thursday Matt cooked up his delightful Paella for the whole team to enjoy. It was delicious! Thank you for letting me be a part of it! And a massive thank you to everyone for being so welcoming and lovely. I really enjoyed my week with you, even though it was over in a blink of an eye. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time and I certainly look forward to coming back soon!