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

Multiply This

23 October 2015

Graphic Design student Alex De Sousa was fortunate enough to land a two-week summer placement at award-winning agency Multiply.  At the start of this term, Alex gave his thoughts on the experience and explained how two weeks turned into five.

Multiply's Charlie Boyle (left) with Alex De Sousa.

What was the creative task that won you the placement?

The brief was to create conceptual ideas for a viral video marketing campaign to launch a new Naturelly drink into the public’s eye. I worked alongside another student, Toni Gomez, and we presented an idea that would look to explode kids heads into fruit after a quick inhalation of the juice. The idea, as crazy as it sounds, ended up winning.

What did you know about the agency beforehand?

I had previously worked with Multiply on the Innis & Gunn One Week project so I knew Charlie Boyle, who is a mentor on our course.  Two graduates from the course, Emma Hart and Steph Dalzell, are also designers there.  A few hours in the agency and a look at the website revealed the massive success they have had with clients such as Heinz, Tennents and most of the Kimberly Clark family brands (Huggies, Pull Ups, Dry Nites etc).

What were your thoughts on the first day?

‘Holy shit this is real!’ was probably the first thing that ran through my head waiting in reception to be welcomed in. The place is impressive from the get go, a huge space which is misleading from the outside. After a quick introduction to the design team Toni and I were given the task to stretch our concept and then start piecing it back together into different scenarios. We were working towards a presentation at the end of the week to the managing partner of Multiply and owner of the product, Dean Dempsey.

How did the presentation go?

We had everything drawn up on a whiteboard in one of the meeting rooms and we basically took him through everything. The ideas that were presented on that day weren’t received as well as the originals. The idea had evolved into more storytelling, taking the children on an imagination journey through the world of Naturelly but Dean didn’t feel as if this was going to suit the product as well as the initial ideas. He felt that keeping it short and simple in a vine format would suit the playfulness of the product better.

Tell us about your extra weeks in the agency.

The week started by getting myself acquainted with an insanely-hard to use graphic tablet, quite a task if you have never touched one before! With that out of the way, a brief came onto my desk called a 'quickie' - a task that is intended to take no longer than half an hour focusing on amending existing work to the client's specification. It was probably one of the most basic things I have ever been asked to do in Photoshop, changing the copy of a web banner for Huggies. Even though it was easy it took me close to an hour to make sure I was doing it correctly. At the time the studio was extremely busy because some of the designers were on holiday, so the first task set off a domino effect of briefs coming my way, so I also had to manage workflow.

The work ranged from amends on all sorts of banners, web design layouts and brand guidelines from a range of clients. The first week passed in a flash, and before I knew it I was offered to stay on for an extra three weeks to help out. One of the biggest and most tedious briefs I worked on was amending 12 brand guideline booklets consisting on average of about 50 pages. All in all it took me about four days to complete, as draining as the project was the experience was invaluable in terms of learning my way around the shortcuts and advanced features of InDesign and Photoshop.

What did you take from the placement that will help you in the year ahead?

There was a lot of valuable insight into how an agency works that I will take into my practice, one of the biggest things is that work will never go into digital production without scamped visuals. It’s all too easy to jump onto the computer and start designing before you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. A really important thing is also how files are built and packaged, you don’t realise the importance of it until there are multiple people working on the same file.

Alex is currently completing his final year in HND Visual Communication and hopes to pursue a career in Creative Advertising and travel the world.