The graphic design course blog for
HND Visual Communication at Edinburgh College

Being a Design Buddy

23 February 2015

The 'Design Buddy' scheme adds an additional dimension to our award-winning Mentoring Programme by giving design students an early taster of working with employers before they move in to their final year of study.

The arrangement also gives the buddies a chance to give something back, and to have some input on how we develop our curriculum. Their knowledge of the course and their industry-related experiences can inform various aspects of the rollout and structure of our projects, course content, and scheduling.

As part of the programme we spoke to two of the buddies, Kay Cochrane and Emma Hart, to see what they made of the whole experience -

Kay Cochrane

Kay is a designer at the Lane Agency, and graduated in 2011.

When I was asked to be a buddy I felt I was possibly not up to the task. Would I have anything useful to say? Would I be witty, insightful and interesting? And could I take these budding talents under my wing? All worries dissolved as I realised the stuff I do everyday is the stuff the students need to know. Things like being able to help them focus - help them realise that worries, distractions and a lack of confidence hinder idea generation - allowing them to think bigger.  Working as a peer rather than a juror means they break this barrier faster and get to a clearer solution.

I've gained a lot from the experience -
Confidence in what I know (there are always folk that are better than you).
Pride in what I do (not everything gets in the folio).
Inspiration from these fresh brains (it might sound daft but...).

I also enjoy the fuzzy feeling from giving back. After all, we all wouldn't be where we are without someone taking a chance, risk or putting their neck on the line (even just for a couple of hours a week).

Kay Cochrane chats with HNC students Jen Vass and Jordyn Finn.

Emma Hart

Emma graduated in 2011 and joined Story as a Junior Art Director. She is a now a designer with Stuff Creative.

I felt honoured to be asked to be part of the Design Buddy programme, but I was also nervous. I questioned whether I could do it, did I have time, did I even know enough about anything to add value to the students' work? But I'm glad I went for it because it's these kind of challenges that keep us learning and developing.

The concept of the programme is great – all of the Buddies have done the course, we can completely relate to the structure of the HND and the various challenges presented along the way, with the added benefit of being able to share some real life experience from both the course and the working world.

It's really exciting to be able to give a bit back and to watch the students progress, not to mention an excuse for us to come back to college to see the family, like big brothers and sisters passing on first-hand experience and a few tips on how to handle the folks!

Emma talks to students Charlie Law, Rumana Sayed and Maria Del Mar Reche