I got back from my trip to India at the end of January. I interned at LOCAL design studio in Mumbai for two months and travelled around for a month whilst working on my SIP. I had an incredible, eye-opening time in India and I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to go. I fully embraced Indian culture and learned so much about the current social and political challenges. Before I went to India, my expectation was that I would have lots of free time on my hands whist there to apply for my next internship. I hoped to have something in place before I returned to the UK. As it turned out, my working week was pretty full on so I didn’t have much spare time to apply for placements. The hours at my internship were supposed to be 10am - 6pm but we actually left the office between 7:30 - 8:30pm so I was getting home every day around 9pm. The working culture in Mumbai is pretty intense and there is less respect for work life balance than in the UK. I also had quite a strange accommodation situation which made working at home in the evenings and on weekends difficult. Long story cut short, I came back from India without my next internship sorted.
To bide me some time whilst looking for my next placement, I decided to work on one of the competition briefs for YCN. I chose the Dishoom brief (to design a new loyalty program) because Dishoom is not only my favourite restaurant, but it is modelled off the Irani cafe culture in Mumbai which I had recently experienced first-hand. It sounded like the perfect brief for me! But when I actually sat down to work out my concept ideas, nothing seemed to really work or match the requirements of the brief. I think I was putting so much pressure on myself because I was excited about this particular brief, that I was getting frustrated when my ideas weren’t working. I also really struggled with not having someone else to talk to, to bounce ideas off and check if they made sense. It made me consider how isolating freelance work could be and whether that is suited to my working style. I finally came up with a concept that I was happy to move forward with, but only at the very end of the two weeks which I had put aside for this project.
As the deadline for the Dishoom project is at the end of March, I have decided to put this project on hold for now so that I can fully focus on finding my next internship. I’m hoping to start a new placement at the beginning of March and would love to be based somewhere in Europe. I’ve been reaching out to companies through a mixture of cold emailing and applying for available positions but I haven’t heard anything back yet. I was lucky at the beginning of DPS that I only reached out to 3 studios before getting the internship at LOCAL. Now I am experiencing the challenge of contacting studios and not receiving a reply. I know that it is a numbers game though so I just need to keep sending out applications and I’m sure I will hear something positive soon.
Apart from keeping busy applying for stuff, I’ve been feeling a bit uncertain lately about my position and skills as a designer. I’m going through a period of doubt. Perhaps this is because I haven’t heard anything back from studios I have contacted, but I’ve been questioning what I’m good at and what I can say is “my thing”. I don’t feel like I’ve found my groove as a designer yet. I know that it will come, in time, and that this is what DPS is for, trying new things and figuring it out, but I can’t help but feel a bit lost at the moment. Another reason for feeling this way is that I have so many interests within design. One day I’m committed to improving my illustration practice and the next day I’ve decided I want to learn to code. My mind jumps from one idea to the next so quickly that I’m struggling to stay focused on one thing long enough to make progress. I’ve realised that this is my main personal challenge I would like to overcome before returning to LCC in September: building and retaining habits so that I can make visible progress.