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LIVE PROJECTS FIVE WEEK PLACEMENT AT ICODESIGN

ISABELLA FERNANDES


I spent five weeks at icodesign. I asked for an opportunity to work at ico because after completing the ‘Rhinofloor’ brief with Steve in second year, I really wanted to be involved in a studio that not only designed but also delivered conceptual thinking and helped with brand marketing.

ico is a small, sociable and prolific design team with a successful 12-year history. In our central London studio we create brands and produce exceptional print and digital media pieces for clients from the arts, property, leisure, interior design and museum sector.

I was really excited to get involved with briefs and meet the studio. I was not prepared, however, for the rush hour commute. My first two days were slow. Steve was running in and out of the office and others swore to me Mondays were never this busy... Steve gave me a welcome challenge to create a Tea Chart for ico. This gave me the opportunity to move around the office and learn peoples names.


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AKIRA

ALEX Add milk

Add milk One sugar

COLIN

ANAND

A dash of milk

Add milk One sugar

CHARLOTTE One sugar

Peppermint Tea

Tea

Milk

One sugar

STEVE

Add milk Two sugars

LAURA

Peppermint Tea

RUSSELL

SANDRA

Add milk One flatbed sugar

Add milk

VIV

BEN

MARCIN

Add milk One flatbed sugar

Earl Grey One sugar

Just tea


Viv briefed me on my first project for ico. Yoobi is a new sushi restaurant to be opened in Soho that gathers influence not just from Japan, but also Brazil (apparently Brazil has the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan). The theme of the brand is focused around triangles, influenced from Temaki - the cone shaped sushi that will be served in this restuarant. When working on this brief I found that -

WORKING AT ICO is similar to the methods used at uni...


STEP

ONE

research and initial ideas after recieving the brief...

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STEP

TWO present the initial ideas to get feedback and told which direction is the strongest to develop.


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STEP THREE Experiment loads.


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STEP FOUR

Prototype ideas and present to the client. My final idea included folded corners on every piece of stationary that would be sent out by Yoobi. As well as presenting the common theme of triangles, the stationary would have to be folded out in order for the information to be read, something which I though brought an unexpected ‘gift’ feel to recieving anything from Yoobi.


YOOBI MENU ICONS My next challenge was to design the icons that will be found inside the menus of the Yoobi restaurant. Having never worked on icons before I was given useful tips and hints from Akira on how to devise a system and general style when developing the designs. These are examples that Akira had developed on previous projects. Who knew there was so much development behind a simple icon? I certainly didn’t and found it be a much bigger challenge than I had first anticipated...


It took me two days of tedious development to try and get the perfect style that I could translate onto every icon. Below are (only a small amount) of the development examples.

lime juice

ceviche

sea bass

Viv and Akira were very adament that the icons, when put all together, should look like part of the same set. This project made me realise how something as simple as the stroke weight

can affect the overall look of the icons as a set. I found it to be very hard and accurate work to apply a similar theme to every icon.

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avocado

sesame seeds sauce

carrots

garlic yuzu sauce

salmon

cilantro

chipotle

avocado

carrot

cucmber

spring mix sauce

spring mix sauce shrimp

cucumber

tuna

tuna

citrus marinade sesame seeds

chives

garlic yuzu sauce

shiitake

radish

sea bass

lime juice catch of the day

shiitake

avocado

cucmber

radish

cilantro

seasonal veg

shrimp

seasonal veg

chipotle

chili oil

cream cheese

ceviche

artic char salmon


THE FINAL SET

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Seabass

Carrot

Avocado

Shrimp

Mushroom

Cucumber

Chipotle

Radish


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These are my favourite examples of the T-shirts I designed for the staff to wear inside the shop. They needed to be something that I myself would want to wear everyday, something that could fit outside the confines of a restaurant. Again, following on the theme of triangles I created a series of different styles playing with a triangular grid. I wanted to make a series to avoid a uniformed look that made all the staff look the same. Viv was pleased with the designs and told me it’s likely that I will see one of these t-shirts inside the shop!


BLUE-CHIP CLIENT, KPMG KPMG are an accounts firm that ico design for. With such a coroporate company comes strict design guidelines that frustrated many of us in the office. They wanted a new look to their in-house brochures that will be given to new employees. Their slogan was “Cutting Through Complexity.� and we had to visually emphasise this in the best way possible. Steve split the brief into three parts and shared it around the office. I paired up with Colin and our task was to visually show complex things being broken down to its simplest form... I struggled


With very little experience at layering together millions of pictures to eventually get a stunning piece of art, as my examples to the right show, this definitely wasn’t my brief. When looking over my shoulder to Colin I would slump further into depression when I saw what was being crafted on

his screen. Below are the final mock ups that were shown to KPMG, which just seemed to be effortlessly designed. They were put into a PDF with all the other final designs from around the office. ico had given KPMG a mountain of designs to consider.

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WHAT I'VE LEARNT... • You can never get stuck on a brief (but you can get frustrated with your photoshop skills...). inspiration is hitting you from all over the studio with everyone happy to help out and give their creative view. Meetings with the senior designers or the art directors always leave you thinking about things from a different angle. It has really made me realise how benefitial it is to discuss ideas with others and get opinions of your work from people with fresh eyes. (I have also been told that my photoshop skills with improve with experience).

• Be prepared to work extremely hard on a brief, only for it to be rejected by the client. • The designers do not get to present their work to the clients. presentations go to the senior designers and art directors, however the design team get to sit in on a meeting in which they can proof read the PDF and give their ideas on how it could be presented to the client.

• Designers are hit with project after project after project. nothing like the 3 month briefs we are set in uni! I’ve watched designers run one finished project while being briefed on a brand new one. A brief is worked on sometimes in under a day - however it’s obvious that with the help of many other people with lots of different creative eyes, this can be easily accomplished producing good results.


Akira gave me the task of designing the bottles for the new sugarfree smoothies that will be sold at Snog. I had to include the elements already used for the promotion which were the birds

and the nectar drop. Akira told me to make is as dynamic as possible but at the same time ‘remember, somtimes simple graphic design is the most effective...�

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Snog Simple Sweetness

Snog Simple Sweetness A delicious natural sweetner with nearly half the calories of sugar and a low GI

Snog Simple Sweetness Organic Agave Nectar

Snog Simple Sweetness A delicious natural sweetner with nearly half the calories of sugar and a low GI

A delicious natural sweetner with nearly half the calories of sugar and a low GI

Snog Simple Sweetness Organic Agave Nectar A delicious natural sweetner with nearly half the calories of sugar and a low GI A delicious natural sweetner with nearly half the calories of sugar and a low GI


AQUIRING NEW CLIENTS Russell sent me on a mission to take pictures of the hoardings around the Haagen-Dazs in Leicester Square. He was so appalled at the boring hoarding they had around their flagship shop that he wanted to contact them directly and tell them that ico could do a much better job.


Steve gave me the task of researching into blog post trends and popular news aggregators. ico plan to create a news aggregator blog page on GF Smith’s website.

10%

5%

5%

ARCHITECTURE

BRANDING

ADVERTISING

10%

30% TANGIBLE DESIGN

ILLUSTRATION

10% WEB DESIGN

BLOG POST TRENDS. THE MOST POPULAR TRENDS OF TWENTY POSTS FROM DIFFERENT CREATIVE BLOGS

15% PHOTOGRAPHY

15% DIGITAL


WEEKDAY OFFICE DRINKS AND WORKING THE NEXT DAY WITH A HANGOVER...

...is not for me


DESIGNING FOR A NEW ARTISAN BAKERY I helped with the development of designs for a new Russian Bakery. After pulling a lot of images form the internet, Russell thought it would be better to take our own pictures. We went to a nearby Skandinavian cafe and bought colourful sandwiches. This also allowed me to have a free lunch bought by ico!


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This is a design I mocked up for the Russian bakery. I was told to create a contemporary design of traditional Russian patterns and apply it to approriate visuals I had found off the internet. Below are the development of patterns I created. Unfortunately the client wanted a more traditional feel to the designs. So all the hard work done by Alex and Russell were scrapped and it was back to the drawing board


WHAT I’VE LEARNT... • “A lot of the time to get a job, it’s about being at the right place at the right time” Akira Nearly everyone working at ico were once like me - doing a work placement. Akira told me that those that got taken on full time were simply around when there was a space available, and a lot of the time they managed to get a placement by knowing someone at ico.

• ico are constantly being emailed with CV’s Charlotte told me that everyday she works her way through many cv’s. She even told me that not a lot of work is of a very good standard. When she does come across an amazing portfolio she passes it on to Steve to consider. However it’s not just about the quality of work- she showed me an example of a really bad cover letter that came with really good portfolio. The wording and impression it gave was enough for Charlotte not to pass it on.

• Adobe shortcuts! Why didn’t anyone tell me about these brilliant shortcuts on inDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator? Just by watching everyone in the office I’ve picked up so many useful tips on how to effortlessly work on the computer.

• Avoid the hangover... If I ever find myself in a weekday social drink situation again, I’ll make sure that with every sip of wine, it is followed by a sip of water.


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OTHER JOBS...

• Lots and lots of image sourcing • Re-writing copy and altering designs before they were sent out to clients • Getting pictures of shops and signage outside the studio to be mocked up I enjoyed this one; it got me away from the computer...

• Creating moodboards • Printing and binding concept books for clients • Guest stared in ‘ico bake off’ every monday one person from the studio bakes a cake which is then scored. Winning prize has not been decided on yet...


MY FINAL DAY :(


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CON CLU SION

I really enjoyed my time at icodesign. There wasn’t a day I dreaded going into work or that I wished it was the weekend. I did wish however that the work day could start later- I really missed my lie-ins! The placement made me realise what I actually wanted to do after uni, along with my strengths and weaknesses within a creative studio. Even though I didn’t get a chance to show it, I think my talents would be better suited with coming up with the ideas and the direction of the design as well as strategy of promotion. I was told by Russell that my Photoshop skills will eventually improve after working for so long but I don’t think I would be happy mocking up designs infront of the computer all day. I would really enjoy interacting with clients and helping with marketing of a brand. I think my next aim is to find experience in that area. I was also very conscious of the fact that I was a student on work placement. Even though everyone was welcoming and didn’t treat me any differently, when I was asked to work on a design in a specific way, I didn’t know if anyone would appreciate it if I went about it in a different style that maybe I thought could look good - especially when the deadline was two hours away! It was also a shock to the system to see the amount of long hours that is put into a work day. One day can be extremely quiet, with cheeky streams of YouTube videos, but the next can be manic with clients ringing up and asking for changes in their designs. Charlotte told me that their work day is meant to finish at 6 but many people have to stick around for longer in order to finish a job for a client who wants to see the work by 8 in the evening. Also if I am ever to find myself a full time job, I must remember to take packed lunch. Daily trips to Eat is a killer to the bank statement. When it came to my last day I was sad to leave. I had met some really talented people and got to experience working in a small design studio. Viv told me to contact them again when I start the dreaded job hunt to see if they have a space for me! All this has made me more confident to approach companies for jobs as I am more aware of their ‘ins and outs’. Like I said - just like uni!


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