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Diary of a Placement Girl

Well what a wonderful and fun time I’ve had in the ‘creative shed’ over the last 6 months. Being in my third year at Southampton University studying Design and Fashion Styling I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to work with the digital team at O&oko. Obviously I jumped at the opportunity!

My reason for being here was that I wanted to design and build an app for my university project as part of my final portfolio. I approached a few agencies but most wanted more money than I could begin to afford, O&Oko were different, they just love what they do and were keep to help.

This isn’t your average creative agency. Apart from being a huge shed in the middle of the countryside, it’s buzzing with ideas and excitement and it’s a place where people take pride in what they do. From day one I was made very welcome (possibly helped by the chocolate cookies I bought with me!). There are two main teams here – one for design and one for all the digital work although they obviously work very closely together. It’s a small team but that’s what made it work so well I think.

For my app, Creative Connections, the whole team sat down and listened to my ideas, made suggestions that would grow them to more refined and suitable to work on a live app. We also discussed my thoughts for how I wanted it to look and feel. I felt like my opinion was actually valued which really helped my confidence. Being able to work alongside the design team at the start of this project was just amazing. I absolutely loved seeing ideas and sketches turn into beautiful designs on screen – it was so exciting and made me want to learn how to do that too!

As it was a busy design studio there were a lot of other projects going on while I was there. The fast paced environment gave me a great insight of what it is like to work in a creative agency in the ‘real world’. At times, it got quite hectic and sometimes stressful but they still knew how to make it a fun place to work. I guess that’s what they call ‘the buzz’.

I had the chance to be really involved in every stage of my app from designs through the development stages. I also involved myself in other projects such as brochure design, a re-brand, all the many SEO and social media accounts that they look after and some email campaigns too. I found it all fascinating. My time is coming to an end here now as we are getting ready to submit the app to app for testing and approval.

I don’t think that there is one sole lesson that I’ve learnt in my time here, but many. With each day bringing something different, I was able to surround myself by many different ideas and skills in such a short space of time. I don’t know what I expected when I came here but this has certainly exceeded it. Not only do I have an amazing app to hand in with my portfolio but I have gained invaluable work experience and a hunger to succeed so I can have a career like some of these guys. As people they were inspiring too – they all made time for me and my project even though at times they were on a deadline and I wasn’t a paying client. Team O&oko – it’s been an awesome 6 months and I look forward to hopefully coming back again one day! Thank you for making me feel part of the team, I will certainly miss the creative shed and everyone in it.

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