Elmwood: Day One

So, today, I finally started my work experience with Elmwood! Despite leaving two hours in advance, I still ended up six minutes late unfortunately, as there was a traffic jam of the most ridiculous proportions on the M1 just before hitting Leeds. I guess that's just the normal rush hour traffic though, so I'll need to be even more prepared for that tomorrow, and I'll try leaving even earlier! Obviously turning up late doesn't make a great first impression, but thankfully the guys at Elmwood were completely cool about it.

When I eventually did turn up, Alex Nelson came to greet me. He's Head of Digital, and the one who I'll be reporting to for the next fortnight. First of all he gave me a guided tour of the building, which I'm pleased to say is unbelievably nicer on the inside than the outside. And it feels a lot bigger on the inside than it looks outside too; the workforce is split across two floors, and there's a lot more of them than I expected. I'm not sure why, but I expected Elmwood to have around 15-20 staff, but it turns out they've probably got 40 plus. I was introduced to a lot of them, but I can count the names I actually remember on just one hand. Along with the guided tour, they were very quick to get me to sign a 'Confidentiality Agreement', which will sadly restrict the amount of interesting information I can put on this blog, as I'm not allowed to talk about any work in progress or clients and so on. However unlikely it is that the competition read my blog, Elmwood clearly don't want to take any chances. It was also made clear that whatever work I produce whilst I'm there, is officially theirs, although I might be able to include it in my portfolio if I get their permission first.

Anyway, after the formalities of scrawling my signature on the Confidentiality Agreement, Alex showed me where to get beverages (very important), and pens (also important), and then briefed me on the work I'll be doing. Now, I had hoped to talk about the work I'll be doing at Elmwood, but as I signed that confidentially agreement, I'll have to treat this as an exercise in vagueness. Basically, the client is a big global corporation, and they've given Elmwood the task of rebranding and updating their identity, however, that's not what I'm working on, that's being done by Elmwood in London. As head of digital, Alex has the task of redesigning their corporate website to fit in with the new identity, and that's where I come in. They want some animations or illustrations to be featured on the website, to help explain a bit about what the company do, and as it was my animation work which got me this work experience in the first place, Alex thought this would be the ideal job for me. And he would be right! Last time I did work experience I spent a week working on a logo, and it got quite dull to be honest, so I was glad to be plonked straight on to a motion graphics job. And very glad that they threw me straight into a live brief, rather than have me making cups of tea, sorting paperwork, or something equally mundane.

After briefing me, it was time for a video conference with the guys in London who've been working on the logo. However, someone else had booked the video conferencing facilities, and so it suddenly became a telephone conference instead. During the three way telephone conference, they basically talked through all their initial ideas for the logo development, and we were able to look at them as they'd sent over a pdf with all their examples in. Some of them looked questionable to be honest, but there were also some really good identity ideas amongst them too, and it helped give me a good idea of where they were going with the project, and got me thinking about what my animation could look like to fit in with the identity they're developing.

After lunch I got to work researching this mysterious client that I'm not allowed to mention, and started scribbling some initial ideas. By the end of the afternoon I had about one and a half basic storyboards to show Alex, although his response suggested that my ideas were 'ok' but not 'great' (yet). Hopefully they'll look a bit more impressive tomorrow if I can mock up some visuals.

And that was pretty much how my first day went. Elmwood seemed to have a very relaxed atmosphere, with music playing at all times, and decent music at that! They have a policy where they just put Spotify on, and anyone/everyone can choose what they want to listen to, so that everybody gets a chance to listen to something they like. They also have a library, full of design books and all sorts of other things, including a table football table, which I thought was a great idea. So overall it seems like a really nice place to work. The staff sitting on the desks opposite and surrounding mine were all quite friendly, and didn't just ignore me, which was nice of them. I even had several people saying that they were impressed with my animation which felt great. Little did I know, Alex had posted my animation on his blog, and it had garnered a little bit of attention online, with one girl even commenting: "I want to have his babies". Needless to say, she won't be getting my babies, but it was nice to get the praise anyway.


Post a Comment