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Diary of an intern – Emily Lofts on how agency life compares to Uni

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Emily Lofts joined us in August as a paid design intern, after she wowed us in one of our portfolio review programmes.

Halfway through her internship, we asked Emily to reflect on what she’s learnt so far, what students might find useful to know, and where we can provide more support…

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How does StormBrands compare to uni?

Fresh out of uni and having only done one project with an agency, I didn’t really know what to expect! I was very used to getting my head down and completing projects by myself with the long timescales set by uni. But straight away this was almost the opposite to what it’s actually like in industry. 

Deadlines are shorter and you have to work in a much quicker manner. At first this was a bit scary. However, where it’s different is that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Instead, you’re supported by a whole team and creative directors and/or senior designers are ready to answer all the random questions you may have. And I had a lot – especially around all the jargon used in this industry!

I’m still constantly asking questions, especially when I have an idea and am not sure how to make them work. Most of them are directed at Laura (a senior designer on the team) who is my mentor. Right from the start, knowing that someone is there to help me with everything from paperwork to general feedback on design ideas has been so helpful.

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How have you found working at Storm?

Storm has two different studios; one in London and one in Leeds, and I’ve been lucky to experience working in both locations, but surprisingly they work as one studio.  

The team works on projects together across studios, collaborating, brainstorming, and designing as one big team. There’s no divide, only a few competitions!

My first week at Storm was all about learning how they work. A full induction into every aspect of the business, gave me a much better understanding of everything from ways of working to strategy and the creative process and the strong values that Storm holds. Regular Zoom calls and business updates make sure everyone is involved and always up to date on all the exciting things going on in the background.

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What are your best bits so far?

It has to be the people. I’ve really enjoyed working with Alex (a junior designer) on two different projects – he’s always so enthusiastic and supportive and even has his own hashtag on the internal Zoom channels #BeMoreAlex.

I’ve now worked with so many different people who have each shown me different aspects of the business and taught me many different approaches. It’s all very organised, and everyone has a set role, bringing different strengths and assets to each individual project. 

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There’s a real team spirit. Everyone helps each other out when needed and no matter what project you’re on any ideas are welcomed. Even when deadlines are approaching there’s always someone to jump in and help if needed. It’s also always really easy to bounce ideas off of everyone because of the community feel – which has been very different to uni, where you’re more on your own. 

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What are you looking forward to learning next?

There’s always so much going on and I can’t wait to get stuck in further across all the different projects. 

And it’s been amazing to see how projects I’ve worked on, have progressed or might end up going forward.

I’m really interested in trying out more new things and finding MY thing. I am excited to play with some photography and do some traces too! Storm has already helped and pushed me to develop my own style especially in my illustration (see imagery). 

Most of all, I’m really looking forward to seeing my own skills develop with the help of everyone here. I’m gaining so much more confidence in my work and myself.

Thanks for that Emily! We’re excited to check in with you in another three months to see how you’ve grown further and developed your passions.

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