A graduate of The One Academy’s School of Advertising & Graphic Design, Nadine Fer had recently paid a visit and gave a casual yet inspiring sharing session titled “Eyes to Advertise” to fellow advertising students. She had a chat about passion, strengths, and the working culture in Malaysia and overseas. Currently working as a graphic designer at adam&eveDDB in London, she also gave pointers on how to prepare for employment after graduating.
Nadine, who is of mixed parentage – a Swiss father and Malaysian mother, did her internship in Switzerland as a watch designer, translating designs from paper into the laser machine. She then returned to home soil and worked for one of the biggest ad agencies in Malaysia at that time. While working there, she had a clearer view of what she wanted to do.
She asked the students about their dreams and aspirations, the reason why they are pursuing advertising and whether they thought to work in advertising or graphic design. She reminisced that she was once lost and unsure like them too. Coming back from Switzerland after a job that she did not particularly enjoy, she took a year off to find her feet and did rock climbing often. She advises them to take their time to find their direction, and to take a break if needed.
She also encouraged the soon-to-graduate students and future job seekers to prepare their portfolios and make hardcopies of them to drop off at the reception of companies. Then, send a self-introduction email, saying that they have dropped a portfolio accompanied by the reason why they would like to work with the company. Also, do some research on the employer and interviewer to gauge what interests them and how to connect with them. She also tells students to always show perseverance while keeping a humble personality.
She recounted her experience of trying to get a job after graduating from university, saying it was really hard to get their attention on why they should hire her. At first, she prepared softcopies of her portfolios and sent it to recruiting agencies, but had a feeling that they were all going into the black hole because there were no responses. She thought of what to do next and carefully targeted the companies that she was interested in. She was struck with the idea of making an attention-grabbing video introducing herself with all her works. She then bought lots of donuts and designed her own donut packaging to be delivered to companies. She incorporated the box with her life principle in designing – ‘Go nuts, do nuts, with donuts’. That warranted her responses from a few companies, who praised her clever idea and called her in for interviews.
She related that working was tough at first. College experience was very different from the working world. When studying, students are asked to build one logo and then work and progress on that logo. Whereas in a company, designers are asked to churn and produce hundreds and thousands of logos, which is good because when working, they would want to progress to be a good designer, and all that practice will benefit them.
“Whenever a project comes your way, take it as an opportunity to flaunt your skills and show them how much you’re willing to work and be able to work with others as well. Because when you’re in the advertising industry, you’re not working by yourself or for yourself, but for your clients,” she urged.
She realised that with The One Academy’s specialisation, its students excel at being able to produce work in large amounts and with precision. All the training in portrait design and marker rendering is something that is not seen elsewhere. So, in a sense, The One Academy trains its students to be machines, which does great at preparing them for working in the industry.
She compiled a few projects to show the grand scheme of what happens during the production of a campaign, which includes Marmite – package redesign for an experiment with a gene research company to find out why some people love or hate it; Project 84: CALM – designing a typography logo for an awareness raising campaign on male suicide in the UK; and Great Western Railway (GWR) – a campaign on telling the story of an adventure with the railway company, in collaboration with the children’s book author Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’.
“What makes you stand out and able to climb the ladder, is that you take that extra effort into putting an extra amount of work,” she said, adding that perseverance is the key to getting to the destination.
The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programmes and continues to nurture its students passionately through its ‘Masters Train Masters’ coaching philosophy, which has been practised for the past 28 years, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts and ESMOD Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-5637 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to [email protected].
The One Academy of Communication Design