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Internship of an interaction design student in Norway

Internship of an interaction design student in Norway

A “new” agency

There’s plenty of things to say about a company like R8 Edge. First of all, they are a fusion between two great Norwegian agencies. Edison Menlo and onezero, two competitors that became partners and merged into an agency with a wide range of skill sets.
I am pretty sure you’ve heard about R8 Edge for their amazing work on Arkaden. They redesigned the identity of the Skien shopping mall for it’s re-opening. If you are familiar with their work on this project you know that the two of them united can create really good and beautiful work.

My first professional experience

As a student, learning from every one of them was a blessing. As it was my first experience into the professional field, when I arrived three months ago I knew almost nothing about it. This was, I think a really interesting position. When you start at the very bottom of the ladder, the only thing you can do is climb it, right ? Because if you start by knowing almost nothing, then you get to learn really fast. As an interaction design student, I learn different things in school in a quite wide perspective. Learning how to apply my skills into a project with real clients was really exciting. It allowed me to express myself fully and really delve into things. It also helped me to define what I was not that good at yet and what I could develop as a designer.

Understanding the process

The first thing I had to understand was the idea of having a budget. Trying to do the best work in a short time was a difficult task. It was not the same process that the one I was used to at school and in my personal projects. As a student, I have the chance to work on projects with no time limits but a deadline way into the future. I understood that a deadline is necessary to finish a project and to be productive, and seeing the designers and developers produce such good work under the tight deadlines was very inspiring.
Sometimes the final design was far away from the initial idea because the client had other ideas. This is also something that was new to me: as a student I get to create what I like without anyone else having opinions about it.

Using the rights tools

I have always avoided to use any CMS or templates during my schools projects. I always thought it was kind of “cheating” to use such a comfortable way of producing websites. I even avoided Bootstrap! On my personal or school projects, I used to focus only on furthering my design and development skills. I don’t want to rely on anything else. I can see now how much time I lost on some projects were I should have used the right tools available to me.
Now, I found out that designing for a real client I could not use the same ideology. While the internship, I have been introduced to Beaver Builder, a Wordpress plugin that allows you to create a website quite easily. The first two hours I used it, I didn’t like it. But then I understood how efficient it could be. Create a website from scratch takes a lot of time and then most of the clients need a back office to update their website. Even though development skills are needed to use Beaver Builder it’s quite easy to show the client how it works so they can do it themselves and be way more independent. Most of the time, the most relevant tool to use on a project is a CMS or Bootstrap.
In Edge, I mostly do Motion Design. On a project, the deadline was to short for us to create something from scratch. Along with Mario Michelli, Senior Developer and Planner, we realised that we had to use an After Effects template. The result was way more efficient than if we had built it ourselves and gone over budget!

 

Using my school education

Being creative is not an easy thing at all. Everything you produce is a piece of your personality and imagination. Sometimes you’re doing total crap and you don’t even notice it. That’s where Atle Barcley, Creative Leader, or Espen Grimsgaard, Digital Leader, came in and told me to change my r designs! One teacher once told us about Gestalt principles, the fact that great design is about really simple elements put together. It also says that we should use as little effort as possible to distinguish two different elements. For me, it is a quite useful principle to remember in order to take a step back on what I am doing.

 

A great experience

I learned a lot of things during those three months. I lived as a foreigner in Norway and learned about the Scandinavian culture and was surprised by some of it actually. I didn’t just meet professional people or colleagues, I also met and got to know people that I now consider as friends. They shared a lot with me about their lives, their experiences and culture. They told me a lot about about their beloved country which is insanely beautiful by the way. I’m quite lucky to have been part of it for a while. I also had the chance to meet people from South Africa or England now living in Norway. I spent a weekend with them in the forest, in a cabin without water or electricity, drinking and washing from the river! I heard the silence of true nature and had a swim in a quiet lake in the middle of it. We also hit the road with Mario Michelli up to Preikestolen! Now I am back in to France with a lot of new things in my head to do my third year of bachelor program in interaction design.

Nathan Frouin