Practicum: Week 7

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One of our many motivational posters in the meeting rooms.

Ahh, the final week to write a blog post about my practicum. I lost a day because I had the day off preparing for our grad show (it was such a great turnout!). But because I was away for a day, everything else just piled up. Tuesday was incredibly busy, though I’ve realized I’m a bit less fazed about sudden changes that happen almost all the time in a project now. “Welcome to the advertising world,” someone mentioned to me when they asked how my week was going. Indeed.

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Here’s a poorly taken photo (I blame myself) of some pills(?) decor in the office.

 It felt good to be able to finish things quick but I had a website redesign project that kind of went out of hand and thought I’d have to work through the weekend for it. To my pleasant surprise, our project manager (Maddy) caught wind of this and said “we don’t want you to work on the weekend because that’s just crappy”, and took that project off my hands. I felt extremely bad but also incredibly grateful (I will not forget this) that Rethink really honors and tries to have us enjoy our own personal time off on the weekends rather than work through things. I’m used to the latter environment, having been trained so hard in the IDEA program but I love how Rethink really keeps our personal time as a higher priority instead of work. They really do celebrate that. I feel very taken care of and it’s great!

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One of Hans’ many helpful tips that I will one day frame.

We had what was called the ADCC Super-Push Kick-Off Meeting that was really inspiring. After seven weeks here, I did wonder sometimes how Rethinkers are able to stay so creative and sharp even though we had to deal with (sometimes) the more mundane projects that are a little less creatively stimulating. The answer lies in CP’s! Also known as creative proposals, we’re given the freedom to dream up whatever we’ve been wanting to work on, whether it’s something we’re passionate or curious about. I’ve been encouraged to do this and I’m super excited. I’m also nervous because if you’ve been following my previous posts, you’ll know that ideas is definitely not a forte of mine. But one can always practice, practice, practice.

I’m bittersweet. I looked forward to writing my thoughts every end of the week about my time here at Rethink, but also sad that now I won’t be writing anymore. Thank you to you who’s been with me throughout the last six weeks of updates on my practicum. To future students who are reading this, good luck! I wish you all the best.

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Practicum: Week 6

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A corner of the office, where I’m forever envious of a co-worker having a bean bag corner.

Helllooo! Week 6 has come and gone just like that. I had to work from home on Monday because I fell ill (be careful when babysitting a sick 4-year old kiddo who will, no matter what, sneeze on your face not once, but 475 times). But the rest of this week flew by like a jet plane.

Anyway, a highlight this week was attending the creative meeting that was held on Tuesday. It took place in the main boardroom with the Rethinker creatives from Toronto and Montreal, where everyone would take turns to show their most recent projects. A lot of them were CP’s (creative proposals) that were self-driven and brought to life under the direction of our art and creative directors. It was evidently refreshing to see how each team tackled an issue they were passionate about come alive, like gender equality in construction and political voting for kids.

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A snapshot of my cork board that include sketches, feedback and thoughts written on paper. And my scarf.

Other than that, this week really got me juggling quite a few projects and reminded me of our school days back in the IDEA program (I sound old even though I have not even officially graduated yet?). But I’m really glad that the program groomed us well to handle the workload that agencies throw at us (in this case it was thrown at me gently so I’m totally fine).

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A slow and gradual accumulation of snacks has claimed its territory on my desk.

I also had my first coffee date with Maddy, who’s in charge of resourcing and making sure we don’t rip our hair out working on 348583 projects. It’s nice to hear about the inner workings on the project side of things and how she manages to handle that for all of us creatives. I have to admit I was such an awkward potato during coffee time because I’m just naturally shy but she was real sweet and made sure I had everything taken care of in the office.

T’was a productive, good and busy weekend!

Practicum: Week 5

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A gentle but firm reminder on everything we do here!

Oof, this week also flew by really fast. The first two days of the week was just really getting the designs for the line of drinks finalized for approval from our CD in Toronto. I have never felt this buried in work since I started the practicum, but it feels good to be busy and productive (thank goodness they find me useful here ’cause I’ll do anything and everything).

This week has been the busiest by far. It’s the first time I got briefed for three new projects in a day and I have to say I feel so excited whenever I see a Google calendar invite for a briefing. I feel like a little kid getting Halloween candy, and not the cheap kind, but Hershey’s or something. Working on new projects is also super cool because everything feels fresh and I get to be a temporary expert on each client’s company (self-proclaimed). Recently I became an expert in installing modems, which is something I usually leave up to my dad but I think it’s safe to say I can handle myself now.

One of the projects I’ve been briefed on is for a non-profit, which is kind of one of the few reasons why I wanted to go into graphic design. I want to help people, especially the less fortunate, and to help design for non-profits who champion these social causes is more than what I could ask for.

This week was also my first time to participate (as a silent wallflower) in a client meeting in the main boardroom (which is the image below, where we have what is a meeting table during office hours and a ping-pong table after 5pm when people are feeling frisky. It was extremely insightful to be a part of it as well because I was able to see how my fellow designers were presenting work for clients and how the back-and-forth interaction went.

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The main boardroom where people can secretly maybe play ping-pong during meeting calls?
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I just realized all the lights are cone-shaped and that’s really cute.

I think I’m at a point now where I’m comfortable to laugh out loud when something’s funny rather than hold it in (for fear of people judging my goat-like laughter) so I hope Hans and the others don’t uh, mind my laughs reverberating throughout the entire office sometimes. I’ll try to keep it quiet. Though, it’s an emphasis on the word “try”.

As always, stay tuned for next week!

Practicum: Week 4

Week 4 has come and gone!

I was able to sit in on a client presentation (through a Skype video call since the clients are in Toronto) and see what it was like. It was a really interesting albeit a bit scrambled, experience to work with the Rethinkers in Toronto. Although the direction was not as clear-cut, the two of us (Alex and I) were able to pull through and hopefully continue to get the ball rolling for the next coming weeks. The client seemed to really like some of our ideas so it was nice to see our hard work pay off!

By the way, here is a five minute crappy sketch to break down the types of stretches and exercises that happen during stretch o’clock (I’m still trying to keep up with Ashley V. & Hans three times a day but my small weak body can barely take it!!) There were some days I missed each time and it feels like something was missing.

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The crappiest five minute stretch o’clock sketch you will see.

I’m beginning to get used to the way Rethink goes through its creative process. The first part involves finding treasure through sketching real fast and loose, so keeping everything simple but quick. The second portion is spending time finessing a couple golden ideas that’s been narrowed down. I’m currently in the latter part, and it’s definitely more challenging than I thought (my brain cells are trying to keep up). But this is an extremely valuable formula because I tend to get lost, so this really helps me stay grounded and move on in a project.

Other than that, I also learned how to operate video calls and book meeting rooms now so I feel like a big, independent girl. Our program didn’t really teach us secretarial work, but that’s okay, it comes with the job.

This Friday, Ashley V. & I were in charge of the beer cart. Can you guess what our theme is? Or you could just scroll down and take a look yourself hehe.

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The beer cart, completed decked out and decorated for all to see.
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The theme for our beer cart!
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The patterns that go on our beer cart include cropped out pictures of Mary-Kate & Ashley.
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Paddle sticks for contestants.
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The trivia slides for contestants!
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The other side of our beer cart, where the good stuff is.

In this case, we are Ashley(squared) while Mary-Kate is well, the beer cart. It was loads of fun! I’m glad our co-workers thought the same. Some thought they could strategize their win, but it was really hard to tell them apart (the trick is they both each have a mole on different spots on their faces but I won’t show you where).

Looking forward to next week!

Practicum: Week 3

And just like that, I’m now officially halfway through the practicum. Unfortunately I was down with the flu so the first two days of this week I worked from home. I’m better now thankfully!

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The Rethink founders have an affinity for globes, I’m not sure why though.

This week, one of Rethink’s founders, Chris made an appointment with me to have a casual chat and talked about how Rethink works as a creative agency. It was such a precious time to get valuable insight into looking at the ups and downs, challenges, and how Rethink was built. Perhaps someday it will really help when I start my own agency!

Ideation has always been a weakness for me, and the last week and a half I’ve been concentrating on sketching a lot for a client. What was challenging this time was having to ideate for a product without knowing what its final name would be. We weren’t given much direction to begin with, so it was hard to really visualize how we could design it. But I really learned a lot about how to give an idea more legs to run. I was challenged to think beyond the packaging for the product, and how it could work on social media, billboards, t-shirts and tote bags. It was such an incredible process and really helped my creativity more as I kept sketching. It wasn’t so much thinking about a colour or typeface for a logo or wordmark, but how the idea itself would work across all platforms. That was an important lesson for me, since I usually have a hard time ideating in general.

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Some sketches I did this week (there’s five more pages aack!)

Another highlight this week was our beer o’clock on Friday. Every Friday (I think every, or every other), two people are tasked with going around the office giving out drinks in a beer cart. You can pick a theme or idea, and maybe even win something. This week the theme was St. Patrick’s Day and the song that kept playing was “Sail Away” by Enya.

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This week’s beer cart that went around the office!
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Their signature St. Patty’s drink!

I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be working on next week. Everyday there’s always something new to experience and many things to learn. Stay tuned for next week’s post, especially because I will be in charge of the beer cart with my friend, Ashley V. !

Practicum: Week 2

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We have a nice artificial turf perfect for human and dog legs.

This week was definitely much busier since we had a deadline for a client presentation. The team and I were scrambling a bit to get everything done. It’s a bit crazy how last week’s unexpected lull flipped upside down.

At Rethink, there’s a tendency for interns to float around from their normal desks. This week Pam is away on holiday, so I was asked to sit at her desk so that I could be closer to everyone else (eek! feels really nice). Since my desk is in the corner of the office, it was a refreshing change of pace to sit somewhere else (this area also has more dogs coming to me, which is something I will cherish forever in my heart). Hans is also away on maternity leave for a while, so things are a little quieter than usual. We have not done our stretch o’clocks in a while too because of how busy it was this week!

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I can never tell time with this wall of clocks.

Project-wise I continued to design the instruction guide and helped with presentation. It was the first client presentation for me and I was definitely a little nervous. But it was nice to be able to rely on my teammates as they were incredibly supportive and really helped me in my design process (Thanks Alex and Matt!). I learned a lot from this project about collaboration and getting creative guidance, and to be able to finish it in a week feels extremely satisfying. The client ended up wanting us to do more work, so that is probably a good sign!

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On a dreary day working away at Pam’s desk (sorry Pam) with my cuppa tea.

I started working on a new project! It will be about designing a line of drinks for an ongoing client and I have to say that when I get briefed on something new, I get pretty excited. This one is a hefty project, because I really just got thrown in and realized that we are also working with the Toronto team. So there’s going to be lots of calls, meetings and creativity involved. Definitely exciting!

I’ll be a little sad next week knowing I have to go back to my own desk. But that’s okay, sometimes they can probably hear my laughter from the other side of the office.

Practicum: Week 1

Helloooo! The first week of practicum has quickly gone by, and that feels pretty crazy.

Just a quick recap: my practicum is at Rethink, an incredible multi-faceted creative agency, and their office is located in downtown Vancouver on Granville St. I definitely had first day nerves when I walked inside the building. The nervousness wouldn’t go away until I met a familiar face, Ashley Visvanathan! She was a classmate who had left the IDEA program last year to work full-time at Rethink.

I was then showed to my desk area.

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Already felt like part of the team after seeing my name.
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My glorious desk area on day 1.

Day 1 was mostly spent being introduced to everyone, getting a thorough tour of the office and getting to know my desk buddy. I was able to work on multiple projects, from logo sketching for an organic food brand and a social awareness campaign, to making an instruction guide for a telecommunications company.

One of the things I’ve been enjoying a lot is what we call stretch o’clock here at the office. Hans and Ashley both do it 3 times a day and have been inviting me to do it too. So far, I feel more comfortable as each day passes, with moments like giving each other high-fives for stretch o’clock, peer reviewing people’s creative work, and petting every dog that comes my way. Also, I find it really great that almost all the desks are seated by the windows and that just feels weirdly satisfying. I’m really enjoying the office atmosphere, where it feels super relaxed, cozy and peaceful. I feel really taken care of and precious at the same time.

One of the things I experienced was being able to work with different people on different projects, and it’s a really refreshing change of pace to be able to learn and see how that works firsthand in a creative agency.

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Someday I’ll play on the drums without anyone noticing.
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How my desk would usually look working away on some things.

I think what I was unprepared for were moments where nothing was really going on. I would ask people around to see if I could help out with anything, and I want to try doing so every time I can. I just want to soak up all the experience I can get! I’ll try to post dog photos next time (with permission) so stay tuned!

Also, the amount of people here at the office is driving my mental state a bit crazy. I can remember faces, but the names are just floating in the air waiting to be matched. They’re all still in the air. I will learn in the coming weeks.

Can’t wait for the next week at the office!