#TICEGraphics goes to the Northern Design Centre!


TICE Graphics Silver Stage day 2
Northern Design Centre, Monday 21st March 2016

The second day of the silver stage was to be held at the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead. It was here that all 5 schools totalling 90 students were to meet and spend the day together, participating in the busy workshop activities. After being informed on the essential basics of how to work with software such as Photoshop on day one, day two had a more primary focus on ensuring that the students understood and became more familiar with the creative industry itself, more specifically, Graphic Design.


Once all students had arrived at the location, they were given an opportunity to get to know one another as well as the staff members, followed by a quick presentation by Mark Pattinson, their well experienced and highly skilled team leader whose profession is well integrated within the graphics industry (advertisement and product design), who delivered a quick overview of what the day will consist of.


The day then commenced with our first guest speaker, Tim Wilson from the company AtomHawk. He began by giving us an insight into what it is that he and his colleagues do, which consists of a wide variety of things. The main focus of interest however is the fact that they produce concept artwork for both the gaming and film industry! They design characters and props to meet the brief of any client who may approach them, ensuring the highest quality every time, as well as needing to meet deadlines, thus proving how demanding the industry can be. Tim explained his job as head of operations at AtomHawk and how it is his responsibility to ensure that everything is continuously running smoothly and that all staff are being used effectively and efficiently in different areas to ensure highest productivity. Tim explained to us that at his company, the staff are divided into two separate teams, Art and Design and also Production. He informed us on the duties of each role, for example the fact that one team is in charge of the art fundamentals like anatomy and perspective using Photoshop whilst the production team are responsible for project management, PM methodology and finance through the use of Microsoft Office – thus proving just how diverse the industry itself is.


After Tim’s talk, the graphics team were given a second presentation by Alex Davy from Arcus Studio. Alex herself is a digital designer who studied animation at university. At Arcus, they produce 2D animation for a wide range of clients, focusing on animation with character and heart, helping companies communicate what they want to say. Alex produces animation assets, storyboards and concept work, which are then handed over to her colleagues at Arcus Animation Studios, who then go on to create the animation for the client. The team at Arcus consists of animators, digital designers, layout artists, studio managers, writers and producers. What’s more, Alex was able to give the students some first hand advice on what it is that they should be doing right now in terms of where they want to be in a few years and work placements also. She advised the graphics students to find an area of interest, something that they are highly passionate about and to then develop their understanding of such an area of profession through further enquiry, utilizing their tutors and attending workshops outside of a school environment. The importance of being well informed and educated in a particular area of interest was stressed and that you should have an in-depth answer prepared for any potential question that you may be asked at interviews.


The team were then taken on a tour to different offices where they were able to see first hand, the day to day operations of a design studio. They were then able to ask any questions to the experts that they had, which were met with a thorough, concise answer each time.


Both speakers mentioned the importance of being passionate for the area of interest that that the students may wish to peruse leading on to further education or even employment and to know the ins and outs of that industry, to the best of their abilities, both to ensure that interviews are ‘aced’ and to give themselves a head start from all competition. They also both highlighted the importance of the fact that dream jobs are out there for the taking and that everything begins with an idea.


After lunch, the team was set a graphics activity where they were to design and produce a graphic of their name using inspiration from a prior presentation. This was an opportunity for them to express their individuality and this without a doubt shone through in their work.


Finally, towards the end of the day as a finishing activity, the students were given the challenge to write up their own blog posts on how they found their experience, which without a doubt was thoroughly enjoyed by all!