A SomeBrightSpark intern talks about life in a creative agency.

By 31st August 2017Blog, Creative Industry
Ralph Lyons spent the summer doing an internship for SomeBrightSpark

Over the last two months SomeBrightSpark has been nurturing the brooding talents of intern, Ralph Lyons.

A student from the Loughborough University, studying Visual Communication and Illustration, Ralph joined us having just completed his second year, to help out during our busy summer period. Now that it’s time to bid farewell to Ralph, we talk to him to find out what he’s learned during his stay with the SomeBrightSpark family.

Why did you choose SomeBrightSpark?

‘I started to look for internships last September and focused my search in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, because I knew there were a lot of creative agencies in that area. That’s where I found SomeBrightSpark. I was drawn to them because they’re an events agency as well as design agency, and thought that it would be beneficial to get some exposure to a variety of different projects and design disciplines.

When I contacted SomeBrightSpark they told me that they didn’t believe in unpaid placements. For me, this indicated they had a good ethos and were willing to reward hard work and I liked their attitude towards teaching and recruitment.’

So what were your first thoughts entering into a design agency?

‘I thought I knew a lot about design – that’s until I went to a design agency. I’ve learned a great deal on a personal and professional level, so this experience has been extremely valuable for me.’

What were your expectations?

‘I had previously done some freelance work so I was very sceptical about entering an office environment because I didn’t feel that I would learn any new skills, but it turned out to be the best decision that I ever made. I’ve learned so much more from working with other professionals than I ever could have working solo.

As well as design tips, I’ve also learned about how a business operates, how to interact with clients and, more importantly, how to ask for help.’

What have you learned?

‘From a design point of view I’ve learned that there is always a better way to do something and knowledge is certainly power. Working for SomeBrightSpark has allowed me to gain a different perspective on design and approach things differently, which will help me to challenge projects and approach them in a new ways.

In industry the pace is a lot faster compared to the academic setting. When you’re working on live projects there is an expectation to come up with ideas and results quickly. At University a project will typically have a month long deadline so it took some getting used to. In academia the emphasis is very much on the process – not being marked on the end result – but how you get there. In industry it’s very much about crafting the end result within a few hours of receiving the brief.

Although it wasn’t something that I was to or comfortable with, I adjusted quite quickly to the pace by embracing it. It was a very steep learning curve but I’ve really enjoyed it.’

What did you enjoy the most?

‘I think just being around like-minded creatives has for me, been the best part. I’ve really enjoyed being involved with live projects and working for some amazing clients. Even though I found it challenging, the work has enjoyable, very rewarding and a lot of fun. For me personally, it was great working in the Cultural Quarter, being in the epicentre of creativity. I went along to the LCB Depot several times and met other small business owners and creative individuals.’

What would you tell other students considering doing an intern?

‘My advice would be to make good use of summer breaks. Begin by making connections through networking events or forums, create a LinkedIn account, familiarise yourself with local companies and agencies. Take advantage of the things on offer at University. For example, I attended a network event organised by the Loughborough University, called the Creative and Cultural Industries Event at their London campus and met with some great people who helped me to connect with others. A lot of agencies are keen to take on interns, but you will need to put yourself out there first!

During your internship, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking questions will ultimately lead to learning something new, so it’s always better to ask – no matter how stupid you feel the questions is.’

What have you learned about yourself?

‘For me, this experience was about stepping out of my comfort zone, and being exposed to new things. When I first began my internship I really loved branding. But, having worked on various different briefs – all demanding different skills – I realised it’s the variety of work I love and that I can apply myself to different tasks.

This has been such a great experience  – one that will help me as I enter into my final year at University. If you’re thinking of doing an internship to gain experience, do it! It’s been really beneficial. The skills and knowledge I have gained are going to make a huge difference to me.’

What do you see yourself doing after graduation

‘My experience has given me more clarity about where I want to go and what I want to do. I was geared up to work as a freelancer after graduating, but now I feel that working for another agency would be better. My internship has made me realise that I still have a lot to learn from working with other creatives and for a range of different clients. I would love to gain more experience of working with other agencies when I graduate.’

Our Design Director, Mat said,

‘Over the past few months Ralph has very much become part of the design team at SomeBrightSpark. He has made some vital contributions to live projects, ensuring that they get completed on-time and to a high quality. There have been times when the team have been under immense pressure. But, Ralph has remained composed and Ralph kept his cool and worked on the tasks set.

We would gladly have Ralph back with us again. We wish him the very best of luck with the rest of his studies and I look forward to seeing him again when he is a fully-fledged designer.’

Find Ralph on LinkedIn 
email Ralph: ralphlyons17@gmail.com