DK internship

26th-2nd September

So I’ve just started my placement year at uni where I can take a year out and explore the graphic design industry. I have to do at least 6 months worth of internships in order to gain the Diploma in Professional studies. Up until the the 26th September, finding an internship was basically an endless pit of nothingness, full of my sent ‘please hire me’ emails and nothing in return except the odd rejection email. I felt disheartened, rejected and useless, everything I’d hoped the placement year wouldn’t be.

I received an email from Sarah ( our course leader) about DK needing some help with a book fair, I was quite nervous about delving straight into graphic design so I felt that helping out with a book fair would be a nice way to introduce myself to working in an office environment. I knew I had to get on with it because I’d had no luck with anything else so I told myself anything positive to get myself back on the right track.

One thing that always makes me nervous about starting an internship is that I’m not a fully graduated designer, I find that all my worries overcloud my better judgement and all of a sudden I’ve got no idea how to even turn my mac on because I’m so nervous.

Luckily for me, this particular internship was more manual labour and there was a large group of us all from my uni doing the same course. Even though I still didn’t know anyone at first, it filled me with delight knowing that we were all from the same uni and all had the same worries.

The main office is at 80 Strand, a huge building filled with all sorts companies and a tonne of business men and women gliding through the revolving doors. I entered through to the Penguin Books reception (DK is part of Penguin) where I saw a bunch of students that were there for the same reason as me, I let out a huge sigh of relief that I’d made it on time and joined them on the sofa where I began to ask the others questions about the dreaded placement year. We all at least had something in common – the fact that our placement year wasn’t quite working out so far, it made for a much less boring introductory conversation and made me feel much less of a failure.

After going through a standard tour of the office and getting security passes to gain access to the building, we met the main people we’d be working with each day and discussed the Frankfurt Book Fair in greater detail. Our job was to to prepare material covering a varied range of titles to show at the book fairs. This involved printing out existing spread and jacket designs, carefully trimming (with scalpels) and fitting them into blank book dummies. It wasn’t the most exciting job, and I never knew I could get so stressed over a book, but it was a first internship working in an office, and that was all that mattered to me.

I spent a solid 3 weeks cutting things wrong, re-cutting, sticking pages wrong, and re-sticking, but weirdly, I enjoyed it. I loved the office atmosphere, I made really great friends with a girl who’d laugh at everything I’d laugh at and document our time there through snapchat. I ate a serious amount of biscuits and drunk a serious amount of tea. I was even ill and went through around 4 boxes of tissues, but I somehow managed to laugh my way through it and just get on with it. The actual job was hideously hideous and so not what I want to be doing with the rest of my life, but the working environment was completely up my street, I loved walking though the office and being able to see the dozens of computer screens being used to design new spreads for the books. I was working the full 7 days a week, 5 days at this job and 2 at my weekend job to pay for rent, I think, I didnIMG_0015.jpg‘t mind because I had purpose again, I was doing something near-ish in the area that I eventually want to end up in, and that was enough for me to be happy.

Throughout my time at DK, I not only made a new friend (who I’m always snapchatting) but I also started quite an extensive book collection. Each day we worked, we were allowed to take home 2 free books from the library, which was another perk that thoroughly made my time there. Overall, I collected 22 books, each of which I plan on reading on my commutes to all my future internships. I definitely don’t think I’ll be making a career in cutting and sticking books but needless to say I needed that push of motivation from that bustling office environment.

I really want to continue working in big offices similar to DK, onwards and upwards!



Branding choices 5

We visited the Olympic Stadium’s ArcelorMittal Orbit where we went up the sculpture, to the viewing platform and around the outside balcony. We split off as a group and were left to form our own divided opinions of the sculpture and we reformed back in a cafe near by. At first, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it, the outside surrounding area seemed rather desolate, we were the only ones there apart from the odd cyclist passing by. For how much the ‘experience’ is worth (which is £10 for a student), I can’t say it compares to its competitors; The London Eye, The Sky Garden and The Shard. There isn’t much of a view because it’s so far away from anything remotely interesting, and everything in the foreground is just building works. I couldn’t really understand the reason for the sculptures existence, it didn’t relate to the olympic stadium in any way, if anything, it felt very disjointed from the stadium. When we reconvened in the cafe, we discussed what we thought of the sculpture and talked about how there’s no longer a community where there once was. The area used to be thriving with homes and community spirit, but since the olympic park was built along with a complete regeneration of the surrounding area,the people that were living there before were no longer welcome.Now the area is home to people that can afford to live there, with high end apartments and a community built on money.

Similarly, this reminded me of the regeneration that’s currently happening in Elephant and Castle at the minute. The new ‘Elephant Park’ is going to be home to the upper class society that can afford to live there. However before the building work went underway, it used to be blocks of council flats which were inhabited by people with a low income. Right now there’s a complete clash in people visiting the area as the building is still in the in-between stage, but soon there will be no community or affordable housing left.

Branding choices 4

Visiting the Museum of Brands was an insightful trip, I hadn’t been before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Upon entering the museum I was informed that half of it was closed which was a bit annoying because I felt that might impact my visit/blog post. The museum contained a serious collection of brands over the years, ranging from the late 1880s to now. One particular aspect which caught my eye was the way in which products had been purposely shaped. For instance, an example they displayed coca cola bottles and explained how the familiar shape over the years has stayed the same and ingrained in our minds. I felt that this was a subtle way of marketing a product and ‘creating the brand’. Growing up surrounded by all the brands, I’d never thought of some of the interesting facts that were displayed and it was like a trip down memory lane to see some of the brands I’d not seen since I was a child. It was great seeing how design had changed over the years instead of reading about it in an old book, it was really useful the way in which you navigated around the room from early years to now.

Branding Choices 3

A topic which I found most controversial was the swatstika symbol. We we asked if we thought the designer of the symbol should have been prosecuted or not, to which, I answered yes because I felt that as a designer, you hold a certain responsibility. I don’t believe the person responsible should’ve been let off free because they would’ve known exactly what the symbol was going to be used for and what it’d represent. In doing this, it means the designer was participating in the violence that occurs and they were just as bad, if not, worse than those doing the actual killing. To not be prosecuted is offensive to all those that were affected by the war.

“The Sig-Rune, also known as the Siegrune, was symbolic of victory. In 1933 SS-Sturmhauptführer Walter Heck, a graphic designer employed by the badge manufacturing firm of Ferdinand Hoffstätter in Bonn, drew two Sig-Runes side by side and thus created the ubiquitous ‘SS-Runes’ used thereafter by all branches of the organisation. (The SS paid him 2.50 Reichsmarks for the rights to his design!) Heck was likewise responsible for the ‘SA-Runes’ badge, which combined a runic ‘S’ with a Gothic ‘A’.” (Robin Lumsden, The Allgemeine SS (1993), p. 18)

I found this article where Russell Brand spoke out about Hugo Boss actually being the designers of the Nazi uniforms which I found most controversial. Hugo Boss haven’t commented on the topic, however Russell Brand was thrown out of the award ceremony for speaking out about it. Annoyingly I couldn’t find much more information about the topic but I certainly feel strongly that whoever contributed to the killings of all those people should’ve suffered some sort of consequence.

Mail Online. (2013). Shameful truth about Hugo Boss’s links to the Nazis revealed: As Russe. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Mar. 2016].

Branding Choices 2

“What would happen if everyone suddenly started wearing fake Rolexes – the pleasure of wearing a real one would diminish”  (Moor, 2007)

I particularly liked this quote from today’s lecture, I felt that it summarized the ‘situation’ well. Rolexes are a sign of ultimate luxury and exclusivity, the thing that wealthy people value most. It’s important that if you’re spending a lot of money on something, you want to know that not everyone has one, so that it feels extra special and you can parade your wealth.

It’s interesting thinking about why people would pay £70-£80 for a poorly made knock off designer bag, and how it’s become so normalised. Rich, wealthy people are considered a completely ‘different’ group of people and this is established by their lifestyle and the way in which they dress. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate how much of someone’s attire is genuine or fake. Personally, I can see the appeal of wanting to own a lot of fake luxury, because of the type of person you can almost ‘pretend’ to be, rather than, only own one extortionately priced item and hardly want to take it out of the packaging. With carrying a fake, you’re not as protective about the item because you know its real worth, so you can use it as you would a normal bag, like high class people would do.

I also think it’s a matter of following trends, when I see a well dressed person I immediately pick out what I do and don’t like. More often than ever, I see someone wearing something that I think looks hideous, and then a month later I end up purchasing it for myself. So it’s not surprising to believe that we tend to copy and almost idolize the upper class.

Until this seminar, I hadn’t really thought about the topic. As someone who owns a lot of fake items and hasn’t given it much thought, it’s really interesting to think about it from a different perspective.

Moor, L. (2007). The rise of brands. Oxford: Berg.

Branding Choices

Everyone knows about child labour and and how it’s still a major issue in some parts of the world, however what most of us don’t realise is that huge companies like apple, sony and samsung are behind child labour.

Amnesty international  stated that “The abuses in mines remain out of sight and out of mind because in today’s global marketplace, consumers have no idea about the conditions at the mine, factory and assembly line. We found that traders are buying cobalt without asking questions about how and where it was mined.”

We’re being sold a product and manipulated into feeling like we need it through the design of advertisements and social media. We feel more emotionally engaged about a product than what’s happening in the real world and we’re made to feel like buying a macbook will make our life better, when really, we’re making someone else’s life worse.

Mark Dummet said “The glamorous shop displays and marketing of state of the art technologies are a stark contrast to the children carrying bags of rocks and miners in narrow man-made tunnels risking permanent lung damage”

After further research I found this page on the BBC showing Apple, Samsung and Sony facing child labor claims. Cobalt is a a vital component of lithium-ion batteries which all the companies use to create their new products, UNICEF estimates that there are approximately 40,000 children working in mines across southern DRC. (BBC News, 2016)

BBC News. (2016). Apple, Samsung and Sony face child labour claims – BBC News. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Mar. 2016].


Day 5 & 6

Victoria asked us to think about a space that we want to write about in our essay, she seemed to like my thoughts about Plymouth Hoe and also about how where I live is half social housing half privately owned, so perhaps I could write about either of these two spaces.

Continuing on from my last post about Plymouth Hoe, I could write about how it’s a public space but is made to feel like a private space when events are taking place, I could also think about what Plymouth Hoe would be like if it became a public private space.

Another space I could write about is Royal William Yard, this used to be a victualling yard which was owned and used by the Royal Navy, the Yard was closed in 1992 and subsequently passed into private hands. It has since been turned into a branded space owned by Urban Splash, there’s plenty of opportunities for consumption with bars, restaurants and a bakery, and there’s also plenty of upmarket shops for not your everyday person. Similarly to Canary Wharf, it’s very obvious that this place is for a particular type of people, with it’s high end shops and luxury apartments. It’s the same type of place except without the constant business, it’s rather desolate. I’m not sure if they intended the area to appear that way, but, thinking about it, since the place opened (which was over 10 years ago) I’ve only been there a total of 3 times.

A more interesting space that I thought would be good to write about is a space that currently still has it’s culture and diversity, but is going to be turned into a clean, sterile, branded space for consumption. This place is called Bretonside Bus Station, (another space in Plymouth). It’s been there since the 80s, even my grandparents talk about how it was a bustling station back in the day and how now it’s turned into a desolate area you only go to if you really have to. There are plans to spend 50 million pounds to completely eliminate the current local shops, casinos, news agents and night club. It’s replacement will be a deluxe cinema and restaurant complex, attracting a completely different type of community and culture to what is currently there.

“The new complex will restore the links between the city centre and the Barbican and waterfront.” -The Herald Website. Realistically, will the new complex ‘restore the links?’ Or will it just fill the gaps of the City that the new owners of Bretonside Bus Station don’t like the look of?  I find this very similar to what is happening at Elephant Park, except all the people that are currently still occupying the area haven’t been kicked out yet, so this would be a slightly different angle for me to consider. It’s very easy to think about how you jut want a shiny new place to go and visit, but it’s very difficult to consider that people lives and careers belong in the old rugged Bretonside Station. –Where are those people supposed to take their businesses? I can look at what kind of ‘experience’ you’re getting from the bus station right now, compared to what experience you’ll get in two years. I can look into the development places and see, who is designing the building and if there are any plans to keep anything form the original station.