Thursday, September 19, 2013

From Ordinary Interns to Global Award Winners

One would remember several events of key importance in his/her life: graduation, first job and perhaps even the first relationship. But for NYP graduates Too Jun Jie, 21, Darshan Kadam (Dash), 22, and Inessa Loh, 20, the trio will  never forget their internship, which led them to being part of  three big design award-winning teams – namely the Design and Art Direction 2012 Yellow Pencil Award (Professional Category) and the Bronze and Silver Awards at the prestigious Cannes Lions Awards 2012 and 2011 respectively.

The Diploma in Space & Interior Design graduates scored their internship during their final year of school at the reputable and globally renowned advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, via a senior who worked at the firm. Extremely keen at the prospect of having the opportunity to work there, all three went ahead to complete their four-month internship with Ogilvy & Mather after seeking approval from the school. A year on, Jun Jie, Dash and Inessa, still feel like it was the best decision they ever  made.

Of the many campaigns they had to work on as team, the Lego graphic design project, saw  them working alongside Art Director, David Stevanov, to recreate posters made entirely out of Lego pieces. When viewed at a certain position, the Lego image forms a seamless continuation with the scene outside - a concept that Jun Jie feels was “such a simple idea, executed in the simplest and most understandable of ways”.

While it could be extremely daunting to be interning in a company with exceptional levels of competency, Jun Jie, Dash and Inessa found their internship stint to be rather  enjoyable.

“It was a lot of fun. The work environment is very open and what I liked the most was getting to see projects move from the sketch pad to a full sized outdoor ad. “ said Dash.

“I suppose that was because we were almost always working together, it made projects much easier. In fact, we were always excited for new work,” added Inessa.

According to Jun Jie, SDN helped him to cultivate the process of constantly thinking outside of the box. He feels, as a design student, he should not be conventional and should try to experiment with new ideas. Dash, on the other hand, said that his SDN lecturer Mr Wayne Oh was a great help to him during his student days, and taught him how to create presentation boards quickly and neatly, which greatly aided him in his internship.

Apart from their Lego project, Inessa, Dash, and their then schoolmate Loh Yi Qi, 22, also won the Design and Art Direction 2012 Yellow Pencil Award (Professional Category) for a Faber-Castell project that had them recreating well-known masterpieces such as Vincent Van Gogh’s “Terrace Cafe at Night” using thousands of Faber-Castell’s color pencils.
“We learnt how to be patient while on this project because sawing the pencils and smoothening them with sandpaper was tedious work. We also had to stick the pencils on the board at the right angles to emulate the painter’s style correctly,” said Yi Qi, who was also interning at Ogilvy & Mather.

When asked if they still remembered the day they found out about the win, all four had stories of fond memories.  Jun Jie remembers being on site at Labrador Park, working on another campaign initiative when he first got the call.

“The news practically turned a particularly rough day into a day filled with smiles for us. It was a nice surprise because we didn’t know our project was sent in for selection!” exclaimed Jun Jie.

“It was overwhelming. I mean, we were only interns, and yet, we’re named as winners of the Cannes Lions Awards,” admitted Dash.

Four months may seem like an extremely short period of time to commit to an internship but for Jun Jie, Dash, Yi Qi and Inessa, they were never short of priceless experiences.

According to Jun Jie, his internship helped him to experience the industry in more ways than one, and even provided him with the platform to make new friends. Inessa brought home extra pointers beyond her scope of knowledge, including post-production knowledge, aiding her to be adaptable to differing environments.

“For the short period of time I spent, I found Ogilvy & Mather to be a very carefree company that won’t restrict interns to certain working hours,” said Yi Qi. “We could just walk out of office to buy our materials without informing them, and they trusted us intrinsically.”

And yet, the most important take away of all, according to Dash, was that success is only possible if everyone involved in the project combined their efforts.

Today, Dash and Jun Jie are both serving National Service while Inessa and Yi Qi has gone on to pursue further studies at LASALLE College of the Arts in Graphic Design and Fashion Media and Industries respectively.

Jun Jie has plans to resume working for Ogilvy & Mather after NS with a goal to become the next Creative Director of Japanese franchise, MUJI, within the next five years.

Dash aims to build a stronger portfolio, and create a well-curated 3:10 zine and travel the world while Inessa likes to keep it simple – all she wants is to be in a job that she really likes! As for Yi Qi, she would like to venture into the fashion and visual communication industry when she finishes her degree at LaSalle.

From music to Creators and even the World Wide Web, Jun Jie, Dash, Yi Qi and Inessa find inspiration from a variety of sources. How about making them your inspiration? As it is, in the words of Inessa, it is “pretty cool that the project comes up when you Google your name.” Are you impressed yet?


By Nur Mirrah Amit, Year 3, Diploma in Mass Media Management

Mirrah is a Year 3 Mass Media Management student who, as her mother had reiterated, “reads all the time!” She consumes as many as three books a day in her spare time, and enjoys classics and romance novels by authors such as Mari Mancusi, CS Lewis, and Sophie Kinsella. She aspires to write for political science magazines like Time and Newsweek in the future, and also has an interest in fashion writing.

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