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First impressions

Categories: Extra-curricular, Superinterns, Useful/interesting

As it's back-to-school time, we've been thinking about learning here at Supercool HQ.

Whether it's a second-year student on a work-shadowing placement, an intern with us for four months as part of their course or simply someone who's unfamiliar with some of the design terms agencies use but interested to find out what they mean; we like to be useful and help folks learn. It's good for us too as we always learn something new along the way.

We get sent umpteen CVs every month requesting placements, jobs or portfolio surgeries, all of which we respond to – and within our replies we also like to include some helpful feedback when we can. The problem is that this takes time; and much of that time we find ourselves repeating the same or similar advice, which struck us as a bit daft.

The solution? Some sort of repository which houses the most frequently handed-out hints and tips; somewhere useful we can direct people so we don't find ourselves repeating the same or similar things; something that's accessible to not only the people who contact us but others too.

Initially the project was called Hello Folio (named by Sarah Carter) but the Hello Digital festival started up in Birmingham later that year, so we decided the name had better change. And so Yoo-hoo was born; advice on saying hello to design agencies and making a good first impression.

We've had a number of people contribute to Yoo-hoo so far (including design professionals, students and recent graduates) in an attempt to ensure it's as useful, meaningful and relevant as possible to those it's aimed at helping.

Most recently we crowdsourced advice on how best to approach design agencies from a range of local designers and used their feedback to create a top ten of hints and tips.

We hope this is just the beginning for Yoo-hoo and have lots of plans for the site's development; so in actual fact we may not have saved ourselves any time at all. Oops.

Still, the result should be the sort of thing that would've helped us when we were just starting out, so we're sure it'll be useful to upcoming designers – and we can at least feel all warm and fuzzy inside for having done our bit to help.

Folks who've been involved with Yoo-hoo so far: Caroline Archer; Sarah Carter; James Coleman; Keith Dodds; Clare Godson; Kristian Kaupang; Tina Loekke Leth; Ning Liu; John Newbold; Katie Parry; Aliya Tariq.

A message from Sarah W

Categories: Superinterns

I had a great time at Supercool during my two month internship.

I really enjoyed working in their pretty office on exciting projects. I was able to create a character for the 'Not My Type' exhibition in Created in Birmingham's Bullring shop. Furthermore I created the look for Diversity 2010 and a logo for Brum Book Club.

Thank you for involving me so much in working on such great projects and thank you for taking me to your meetings, especially Likemind. I enjoyed being a part of your team.

Another good thing for me was to improve my English skills and teaching James the German letters ä ö ü! The journey travelling from my place in Worcester to Birmingham twice every day was certainly hard, but worth it.

Now, I'm back in Germany I miss sitting on the orange chairs, listening to James' background music and getting new projects from Katie.

I had an exciting and inspiring time in England especially because of a great placement at Supercool. Thank you so much! LOVED IT!

Sarah Wilbois

A message from Sophie

Categories: Superinterns

I've spent my winter in Birmingham.

It was an exciting opportunity for me to go abroad as an intern. Why not? Besides from experiencing being a graphic designer in the real world, I get to discover a whole new country! I just couldn't let that chance pass me by.

James and Katie really made an effort to make me feel welcome. For instance getting my own orange office chair! Sadly I couldn't fit in in my suitcase! My main project while staying at Supercool was branding the Library of Birmingham.*

I was also lucky enough to be invited along for the lovely Chitterlings event with other interesting local creative people and John Berry, who works for Microsoft. That was a really great evening.

I also joined in on a couple of the Likemind events, where I met new people from Brum.

I have learnt a lot both as a person and as a graphic designer and gained new confidence in myself.

Thanks – it's been supercool.



Sophie's internship at Supercool ran from November 2009 until February 2010. She is a final year student at Skolen for Visuel Kommunikation)


* A project based on a recently circulated tender brief – KP

A message from Tina

Categories: Superinterns

Even though I think the assignments I get in school are exciting and realistic, the real world is so much different – and not in a bad way. 

Getting told in school that I've done a good assignment is nice. But hearing from real graphic designers (Katie and James) that what I've done is good and they then even show it to the clients is SO nice and recognition on an entirely other level.

I have been so lucky that I have had an internship here at Supercool the last four months and it's been four exciting months. I have been given briefs that were both exciting and weird. Like making a brochure without knowing the copy, the brand identity, the pictures or the style. Or making a logo that should work animated. Or drawing a pub icon, a water vole and a canalboat. I have enjoyed all of them, because they have been challenging.

But other than learning a lot about graphic design, I've also got a new, broader vocabulary with both technical and weird words like "apostrophe" (it reminds me more of something that should be in outer space, instead of over a letter) and "water vole" (translated directly from Danish would have the name swamp pig).

Furthermore I've learned things like cardamom in England is sold as whole pods and used in e.g. Indian food (In Denmark I have only seen ground cardamom and my favourite use of it is in pancakes), that Danish pastry is better from a bakery in Denmark than from Tesco and that there is this very addictive page called

With only a few days left in England my last mission is to find out what ginger beer is. So the only thing left to say is thank you Katie and James, it has been a great four months!

På gensyn! (See you!)"