Design studios collaborate on training initiative for underrepresented designers

Bristol and Bath-based design consultancies come together to prepare young designers for work by simulating a real studio environment.

A weekend studio experience called Werkhouse aims to give early-career creatives from underrepresented backgrounds a step up the design industry ladder.

Werkhouse was launched in 2017 by a small group of design professionals from Bristol and Bath with the aim of helping young creatives succeed in the design industry. It is open to all design disciplines, from product design, graphic design to illustration and digital design.

All images are from last year’s Werkhouse cohort

Running the experience this year are 20 professionals from across nine different studios in the South West of England. Participating studios include Bristol-based agency’s Taxi Studio and Halo Studio and brand strategy and design agency Mr B & Friends.

Co-founder of Werkhouse and Creative Director at Mytton Williams Bob Mytton explains how he feels that young designers could be “more prepared for starting work”. To that effect, the two-day workshop offers a crash course on the creative and interpersonal skills required to thrive in a design studio.

Helping young creatives who “may not have the connections to get a work placement” is also a priority, according to Mytton. He adds that the volunteering studios “do their best to be inclusive and support diversity”.

Halo Studio strategy director Paul Bailey says, “We believe there need to be new routes into the creative industries and Werkhouse is one way we can open the creative industries up to a much wider group than just university graduates.”

Applications for the Werkhouse experience are open now until 14 October to anyone over 18 years old, regardless of whether they are self-taught or have any formal design training. An online application form will ask designers to share details about their design background and, in past years, has included specific questions about gender, ethnicity and disabilities to ensure a fair selection of young creatives from all walks of life can enrol.

After being placed into teams, each led by a senior designer, participants will be given real client briefs followed by fast-paced, team-oriented tasks, simulating a real studio environment. Briefs will come from charitable organisations and will only be revealed on the Saturday morning.

These type briefs could have multiple design solutions, so they are aimed at encouraging lots of ideas and strategic thinking. Last year included a brief from national food charity Fareshare on how to better engage its volunteer team.

Sessions start promptly at 9am each day and go through to 6pm. After getting the brief from the client, the first day will involve exploring the problem and generating ideas. At the end of Saturday afternoon, there will be an industry discussion about balancing health and wellbeing with work expectations.

Sunday will consist of refining, visualising and presenting ideas. Then, proposals from each team will be presented back to the client on Sunday afternoon.

Chosen applicants will work with a variety of industry experts, from creative directors and senior designers to account managers, copywriters and strategists.

Although a job is not guaranteed after the Werkhouse weekend, participants from previous years have successfully secured either an internship or an entry-level position with some of the agencies.

Werkhouse will accept 30 participants and will take place on 19-20 November 2022 at Taxi Design Studio in Bristol. There is no fee for this workshop but participants are expected to organise and cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.

Start the discussionStart the discussion
  • Post a comment

Latest articles