Bild Blog

in Training & consulting | 25.07.2016.

20 Days of Interning at Bild - Deconstructing the Construction Process

What's a UK based Belgian-Congolese student doing in Podgorica? Visiting family, and a graphic design internship apparently. 

Naomi's picture
by: Naomi Mabita
Design Intern

A recent graduate in East Asian Studies and Screen Studies at the University of Manchester, I came to rest after my exams and instead was greeted with an offer of an internship at Bild Studio through acquaintances of acquaintances who had shared my website - the diplomatic way. When I looked at the company site, I was intimidated and had doubts as to whether I could offer them any meaningful work. After coming to the Studio for an initial meeting with the Head of Design, I was even more intimidated. I wasn't sure that what my background had been communicated properly, and this was confirmed during the internship when, through informal conversations, people learned that I did not actually come from a design background, when the general impression seemed to be that I did.

My fields within the visual arts are mainly photography and video work, but when I was asked to step in as an emergency illustrator for a friend's project (always make sure you have a backup of your work, you never know when a computer might implode and take everything down with it :) ), I gladly accepted the task mainly because it was paid well, but also because I wanted to try to expand on my creative capacities. It is for that reason that this internship was particularly appealing to me as I would like to be able to improve on my own work and have a broader range of skills to offer potential employers. As a person with no formal design training, having the chance to shadow some of the most talented people in the country was a fantastic opportunity not to be wasted.

My difficulties were exacerbated by the fact that I don't speak Montenegrin and had to rely on people's knowledge of English, which is limited and understandably so. People's warm attitudes made up for this fact and while I wasn't fully able to socialize as I would have in an environment where I speak the same language as the majority, I still felt comfortable and welcome.

Beside an improved understanding of design as a whole obtained through the hours of package / menu researching and the e-book on the Principles of Design I was given, I feel that I have improved my ability to deconstruct images. When tasked with designing a menu, my initial focus was to simply bring one into existence using a program where every function was new to me. Round 2 was to be more creative about the design and upon consultation with a superior I soon realized how constrained my ideas were by what I had been used to seeing and had never thought of deconstructing before. Following some guidance from the senior designer, I felt more confident exploring different aspects of design and stripping back on elements that in my head were static but in practice were not. I am satisfied with what I was able to produce during my stay here, but fall short of feeling proud as I wish I had more time to develop skills further and build on the constructive criticism I received, but that is part of the internship game when it only lasts 20 days.

(Piece of Naomi's work during her internship program).

The language barrier may have contributed to miscommunication, but on the whole most of the work consisted of an initial prompt and then being left to my own devices for hours at a time, which was difficult due to not having used any of the programs before, but that's what YouTube tutorials are for. There are many similarities between design and video editing, and I think that this is what made the tasks slightly easier than if I had never used a computer program for editing before.

(Piece of Naomi's work during her internship program).

My other field in the arts is dance, so I am used to moving for hours at a time and to interacting with a maximum number of people simultaneously, sometimes thousands. At Bild Studio it was the polar opposite of this, sat in front of a computer for hours at a time, communicating via Skype more than verbally with a person sat on a computer a few meters away. If you're a fidgety person like me this can be frustrating, but nothing a good soundtrack inside your headphones can't appease. People are in and out of the office enough to keep the surroundings dynamic and calm any frustration of periods of prolonged seating. I also feel the need to add that one of the catering companies was accommodating of my veganism, and even though apparently this isn't very common in Montenegro, at least you know the option is there.

As I prepare to do an MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, though it may seem like a subject separated from the work I was assigned here at the Studio, this could not be further from the truth. What I have learned here is a skill in critical deconstruction which can be transferred across disciplines. It was my first time working in an office environment, which here is spacious, comfortable and stimulating, highly desirable features for a space one inhabits for a large portion of the day. I have learned to better operate programs that can be used to design anything including effective NGO brochures or graphics for documentaries. For this I am incredibly grateful, and can only speak highly of this company and all the people I met through it.

Hvala.

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