Tight Placement. 

After visiting Duke Studios, my cousin asked me if I wanted to come and spend a couple of weeks working for him there. After leaving Elmwood, he has started up 3 separate freelance businesses, 1 in design (TIGHT), 1 in motion graphics and 1 in 3D digital production.  I had been showing him some of the stuff I had been working on, primarily the animation for MOO, and he seemed really impressed so wanted me to help him with a few projects. 

As I hadn't got round to getting another placement with a big studio, and was feeling that maybe finishing my portfolio was more important than turning up to an interview somewhere with a half finished pile of work I had nothing to say about, I felt this was a good opportunity. 

I have never seen what my cousin does before, and to my surprise, the projects I was presented with were actually quite exiting. The first was a branding and identity project for a guy who designs and builds steampunk style fixtures, the second was a branding and identity project for Burley Summer Festival, the third was animation work for Asda, the fourth was animation work for a Leeds music festival I have forgotten the name of, and the fifth was some design work for his website and identity. 

Although non of the work I produced whilst I was there really taught me anything, and truth be told did not give me high hopes about my skills as a designer, there were quite a lot of positive things that came from the experience. 

Firstly the idea of working in that environment was amazing for me. My cousin only rents out a space in the communal work area, not a studio booth, so this meant I was working along side loads of other companies. Sat next to the guys from Something More for the first week was cool to have a peak at what they were doing. Second week I was sat with a guy who is now one of the creative directors at the BBC, and he was really down to earth and talkative which was a surprise. 

After initially looking round Duke and wanted a studio there, to actually being in there working, I wanted it even more. Comparing the place to Elmwood it just seemed so much cooler - it wasn't like an office environment it felt much more creative and less intimidating. 

On the last day I ended up going for a drink with everyone from Duke, and then was joined by everyone from Elmwood, which was a strange coincidence. I feel like this night was one of the highlights of my year. I had a few drinks down me and literally talked to every single person I could. I had a great chat with the guys from Passport, met a guy who went from finishing a Geography degree to running his own Freelance design business, met the owners of Duke, made friends with every single person from Elmwood that I hadn't spoke to when on my placement, talked about my work and what I believe in and networked. 

I spoke a lot to Laura and James who own Duke, and learnt about the Leeds College of Art 6 month programme that is run there. I told them how much I admired the space and how I want to work there, and to my surprise they seemed really keen about me doing it.  After meeting the Hungry Sandwich Club as well and seeing how far they have got this quickly, it really appealed to me. As much as i'd love to though, I know I am not ready to be my own boss. I need a good few years in a studio/studio's to give me that experience and knowledge I need, and to help me find my path. 

I think the most important piece of advice I got from meeting all these designers and creatives was that I don't need to know right now what I want to do. There is no rush and I don't need to stress or worry about it. I'm still young and theres plenty of time for me to work it out.

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