Cadet’s Log: Kate Roughley

Kate Roughly, a recent Graphic Design and Multimedia graduate, shares her thoughts on joining our Nettl Academy as a Nettl Cadet.

When I started at the Nettl academy, I felt nervous and excited. I graduated from the University of Worcester last November after finishing my course in May. I have missed designing every day since I finished, and I grabbed the chance to design again at the Nettl Academy.

I travelled down to Birmingham on the first day and felt welcome as soon as I arrived. I met the other designers on the course and we all soon broke the ice and got chatting. I’ve been working full time in retail since I left university so it was great to be around other designers again in this atmosphere.

Chris and Simon who have been leading the course are great at teaching and really friendly too. I love being able to learn again. We have been focussing on web design on the course and learning about Brambl and WordPress. I didn’t do much web design during my time at university so I was looking forward to this chance to learn new skills as a designer.

We began with a group task which was really fun, we were given a brief then had to talk it through, create a launch project for a juice bar and then show our work to the rest of the group. This was nice to start off with and I enjoyed all of it. Even presenting at the end, which I never thought I’d miss!

We then learnt how to use Brambl, a platform Nettl have to make web design more efficient. I’ve only ever used code before which I found difficult and Brambl is much more visual which I definitely prefer. Being able to build the website panel by panel and adjust it visually is easier for me.

classroom training in great room training room birmingham nettl academy

After that we looked at WordPress which is a little harder to use than Brambl. Brambl is great but quite simple, whereas WordPress gives more freedom to me as a designer. Being able to use plug-ins, its free to use by anyone, and CSS code can be added to personalise the site even more. I prefer WordPress out of the two platforms as even though it is harder to use, I know that I can still learn how to use it well and then have more freedom with my design work.

We have been given a brief from The Printing Charity and as a group, we are all redesigning their current website individually. This is such a fantastic opportunity as I get to design again and work with a client. The Printing Charity wants a fresh new website that is clearer and easier to follow so the audience can find out what the charity does and how it helps people, as well as letting them donate if they want to.

So far I’ve redesigned the home page for the site and kept it clean and simple, using images of the people involved to help the user connect more with the charity and I’ve stuck to the colours that are already being used. These colours are really bold and look great on screen, it gives the website much more of an impact. I can’t wait to redesign the whole website which will hopefully lead to more opportunities.

I’ve been really enjoying my time at Nettl so far and getting to work with such a great company of creatives. I’m getting to grow each week as a designer and learn new skills which I’m really grateful for.

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

Cadet’s Log: Sean Comrie

After graduating with a degree in Illustration and Animation, Sean Comrie heard about a ‘cool design experience opportunity’ on the horizon. Welcome aboard the Nettl Academy, Sean. Give us your thoughts on becoming one of our first Nettl Cadets.

“I had spent a couple months working a typical supermarket job whilst desperately trying to find some kind of creative inspiration, admittedly more days spent not designing at all and just focusing on working a very normal job. So hearing of an opportunity where I would get to learn some design skills and get real life design brief experience to me felt like a total win, as at university I had never really experienced doing any commissioned-style projects because that was more catered for the Illustration Graphics/Fine Art students.

Initially, I was very nervous, as I thought maybe I’d lost my edge. I hadn’t designed anything to show others in a while. My projects prior to starting had very much been private and mainly unfinished. But everyone at Nettl put me at ease because they are very friendly and it almost feels like a little family relationship rather than just serious business.

The lessons on web design run at a good pace and are made easy to keep up with, especially for someone like myself with zero experience in web design. After the first couple of sessions using their in-house web design software, Brambl and WordPress, I am slowly getting a better grip of designing for web.

I understand the things required to make an appealing and successful website. In addition to this, the critiques after the sometimes one-day deadline projects are very helpful as they get you thinking of where you can improve and practice quick thinking and execution.

sean critiquing a website design

During these projects you also get to work with some of the other cadets. It’s a nice experience meeting new people from different places, much like university again, which is something I really enjoy.

Over the last week I was challenged to create two logo designs for two different types of companies which is something brand new to me as normally logo design is out of my field. But doing this was great fun and I feel like it’s eventually something I will be able to say is part of my designers repertoire.

As I continue through this programme I hope to continue honing such skills and develop others.

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo

Cadet’s Log: Tom Read

Tom Read, a current Illustration & Graphic Design student at Coventry University, and one of our first Cadets, shares his experience of the Nettl Academy:

“As soon as I heard about the opportunity to gain real world experience in a professional design studio, I jumped at the chance head first. Something like this isn’t a regular occurrence and having that kind of experience under your belt is vital to a successful career in design.

Situated in the centre of Birmingham, 5 minutes from New Street train station, the Nettl studio is everything I imagined it to be; modern, quirky and well equipped. Plenty of seating areas, a generously sized meeting room and enough Mac computers to satisfy any Apple fan boy. But the best thing about the studio is its in-house coffee shop supplying the fuel that keeps us designers going!

“The skills we would be developing though out the course were clearly highlighted to us at the start of the programme; the ability to use web building software to create responsive and attractive websites, vital techniques needed to be able to print a range of documents and imagery and marketing, sales and general business skills needed to communicate with potential clients.

“Sounds like a lot of complicated work, but this isn’t the case as the professionals that work at Nettl are there to guide you every step of the way. They run though everything in great detail so there’s no need to feel like you’re unsure as to how something works or is produced.

“I am currently in my final year at Coventry University studying Illustration and Graphic design so as you can imagine, my current background isn’t web design at all. In fact, I’ve only ever messed around with basic web programmes like Adobe Dreamweaver and Muse and so have had no solid experience so you could say I’m a complete novice at this. But fear not, as this does not matter when you enrol onto the Academy course as the professionals will teach you everything you need to know from the ground up from setting up the site to publishing it.

nettl web cadets discuss

“So, 2 months in and I have learned an incredible amount about this industry. I can say now that I can create a fully functional website using a range of building software completely independently; something I could only have dreamed of beforehand. I am also more aware of key marketing and sales skills to be aware of as well as how to work efficiently with clients to ensure a smooth working partnership is achieved.

“Anyone looking for some solid industry experience should look no further as the answer is right under their noses. The Nettl Academy is exactly that, solid industry experience. I am incredibly grateful for everything I have been taught so far and hope this list only grows over the next coming weeks!

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo

Cadet’s Log: Chris Locke

The Nettl Academy recently opened it’s doors to welcome the first batch of Nettl Cadets onto the training programme. The Nettl Academy is a way for design graduates to gain some experience, get on-the-job coaching and real-world training.

Here, Chris Locke, one of our first cadets, speaks about his experience so far.

“At the Nettl Academy I’ve been taught how to use certain online applications such as WordPress and the company’s own Brambl to make professional looking websites in very little time.

“The intense series of tutorials have helped to show me how a studio workflow revolves around speed and reliability. Building websites quickly and to a high standard is something I didn’t think I’d be able to do two months ago, but I’m doing two or three in a day now.

“It’s allowed me to get through the swamp of setup relatively quickly and actually get down to designing things, using the skills I honed at university.

“It’s something I can put on my CV, that I’m learning from, and that easily allows me to work a part time while still being involved in the industry I really want to get into. We all know it’s a terrible time trying to find something directly out of university.

“It’s given me a reasonable example of how a studio naturally works. The change of pace is the most substantial difference, making for an invigorating experience. My colleagues and I are receiving a better experience of work than we did at university, and from professionals as well.

“What’s more, it’s free and doesn’t eat into my schedule too much. We can come and go as we please at the studio any day of the week, and Nettl have given us the ability to use web creation software at home as well – though not professionally of course.

“Our input on projects is listened to and we are given proper, harsh advice that we can actually build upon. Not to say that the staff are any less than lovely. Everyone’s friendly and willing to help you out. Simon’s an excellent tutor, down to earth and concise.

Could you cut it at Cadets?

If you’re a design student, or you know one, we are looking for applicants for next term.

Click to find our more about the Nettl Academy or enrol.

nettl cadets academy launch web training group photo