Since September I've been working as an intern at WaterAid. The international non-governmental organisation focuses on water, sanitation, and hygiene to deprived civilizations. WaterAid works closely with its partners in local communities to utilize low cost technologies to deliver sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene solutions to the underprivileged in the economically less developed countries. WaterAid's vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. Having been introduced to the organisation in the 2018 PP unit I was intrigued by the business' ambitions and wanted to get involved. Before the internship opportunity was available, I was part of a small group of illustrators who designed work for an event WaterAid held at Glastonbury. Held in the appropriately named "Looovre" toilet exhibition, artists were tasked to reimagine famous works of art being denied access to basic sanitation.
Upon starting at WaterAid I was surprised at how small the Brand + Editorial team was. Consisting of only five members, David Stedman (Brand and Editorial Lead), Charmaine Morris (Brand and Editorial Manager), Larisa Gribben (Brand Officer), Steve Shaw (Editor - Fundraising), Ella Lines (Editor – Policy, Practice and Advocacy) and only one in house designer Helen Davis (Senior Designer). Considering the size of the global organisation I was stunned in finding there was only 1 in house designer?
The majority of my work at WaterAid has been supporting the team in utilising the new branding supplied by The Chase Creative Consulting a couple of years ago. The branding guidelines delivered are an extensive 291 page document. Over the past few months I've familiarised myself to the details I'm required to know as an in house designer and it's been a great opportunity to be in a role where I'm expected to have this knowledge. I've needed this knowledge to aid the company in understanding how to use the brand since it's introduction there has been particular resistance to using it correctly. A narrative I'm told that isn't uncommon in companies going through a rebranding.
The work I have been a part of in WaterAid has varied. Though the work has primarily been to generate visuals for the communications/media teams that fit the branding guidelines there has been an opportunity to observe and contribute any additional jobs I thought would be relevant. Since the design team has only had one inhouse designer in the past year and her time is completely consumed with working on the big inhouse projects like the annual reports, I offered up my organisational skills to help out with any housekeeping work that might need doing. Over the past year or so the company has been accumulating icon designs and decided to do an icon audit to narrow down the collection to 80 verified assets. I was set the task of organising, perfecting and exporting all 80 icons into PNG and EPS files in 24 of the branding's colours. A total of 3840 icon files. A daund=ting task but I do get a slight tingle of satisfaction knowing that I've tidied that up and helped improve the working file for the team.
Now that my Internship is coming to an end and the workload is slowing down before Christmas I'm having some time to reflect on my time here and think about what I'd like to achieve next year. I feel I've learned a lot about myself and the roles that I can fit into with my skill set and am quietly confident in pursuing a design role in branding or editorial department. That being said I have missed the creativity and exploration of illustration!
While doing my internship at WaterAid I'd been working on a few freelancing jobs in my spare time for a bit of extra cash and a brief came through ArtsTemps for illustrators. It was sent from Vicky Creekey who is the E-commerce + Marketing Manager for UAL's Careers and Employability. The purpose of the series of illustrations was to:
The series of illustrations would follow different themes and the one that was chosen for me was "Creative Business". Other themes were making a living doing what you love/working as a freelancer/money/find a job/ slasher careers/ mentoring/ networking/ designer maker/ side hustle/ leadership. I got busy drafting up and an initial idea of a style and colour palette. After getting a swift approval from Vicky I completed the job in around a week. It was such a smooth and enjoyable process with an outcome I'm proud to use in my portfolio. It got me thinking how much I've missed illustrating!
A couple of weeks ago was the London Illustration Fair. A fun packed festival of art, craft, creativity and visual culture. Bargehouse, OXO Tower Wharf played host to the three-day illustration extravaganza with five floors of artwork, prints, workshops talks and more from some of the world’s top artists and designers.
The artist-led illustration, print and graphic design fair, bringing artists and buyers together in a unique environment. The fair offers the chance for illustration lovers to come face to face with their favourite artists and discover amazing new artwork from emerging illustrators. It's my second year in a row visiting the fair and find it such a pool of creativity and inspiration. I had originally intended to take part in this year's collection however, my priorities and time were consumed with the internship. Visiting the fair this year has reasserted my ambitions to become an established illustrator designer.
With this decision made I'm now looking at how I structure next year. I'm still interested in doing internships but only for a small design agency that does a variety of work. While doing that I will be focussing on any opportunities that I can push my style and accumulate a stronger design brand and aesthetic.