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Next week will be my last week at Scott & Fyfe, and as I am typing this, I am trying to remember all the events and lessons that I have learnt so that I may make this post meaningful, inspiring and interesting. That being said, I don’t think that will take too much, as my experience at Scott & Fyfe has been something of a well needed reality check and a definite game changer for my skills (in a good way).

 

Coming directly from art school (Duncan of Jordanstone), my head was bursting full of creative ideas; spontaneous and bubbling like a sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice about to explode. Nothing was my limit and nothing could stop me.

 

I was thrilled to hear that I had been accepted into Scott & Fyfe and couldn’t wait to get started. I carried out my research and found out that they are an innovative textile company, producing technical textiles for various industries around the world. All from their wee home in Tayport.

 

I got started almost immediately. My first project was to design a show board for one of their many exhibitions. I was nervous but again, my ideas helped along the way. After many adjustments the board was sent for printing as the exhibition was in 2 weeks time in London. My first day and I already had my work sent down to London. The exposure was fabulous. However, that’s where one of my first lessons came in.

 

LESSON #1 JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE UNRESTRICTED, DOESN’T MEAN THE COMPANY CAN BE

Although the company wanted a complete re branding, they also had criteria, rules and guidelines and being a naive art student I didn’t understand why - until later in my internship. As the old saying goes ‘rules are put in place for a reason.’ Whilst Scott & Fyfe were innovative and different to most technical textile companies, they still needed to uphold a professional, definite standpoint within their industry and had to consider all sorts of factors such as customers and market reactions.

 

So even though they liked my wild and crazy ideas, I needed to appropriate it to the company so that they wouldn’t attract the wrong sort of attention, or even worse, no attention. I learnt quickly though and researched companies to see how far I could go without making myself (and Scott & Fyfe) look like the catch of the day.

 

My work included brochures, flyers, posters, logo design, leaflets, folders and stationery. I got so much out of this including learning how to prototype, use the computer and my programs a lot more efficiently. In fact, I was able to create a template for some datasheets in less than three hours! (I was a technical dinosaur before and it took me at LEAST half a day to create something of such magnitude) but along with speed, came careless mistakes.

 

LESSON #2 YOU DON’T SEE ALL EVIL, BUT YOUR BOSS DOES

I made so many careless mistakes while typing and creating but my lovely boss Michelle was quick as a whip to correct and notice all evils that happened within my work. She could notice a misaligned line from a mile away so even though I was engrossed in the work, I still needed to pay attention and focus on the minute details because it is always the little things that count.

 

The weeks passed quickly while I was working at Scott & Fyfe and I stopped making silly mistakes like that (I hope), and delved into my perfectionist side.

 

LESSON #3 CAFFEINE IS YOUR FRIEND (even if you don’t mean for it to happen)

In the whole time that I was in Scott and Fyfe, everyone kindly offered me cups of tea and coffee and even on my first day I was introduced to the coffee and tea cupboard. I politely declined, as I thought I could handle the long working hours sans caffeine.

 

Never have I been so wrong.

 

After the second week, I learnt my lesson and made tea (or coffee) every morning before I started work. Somehow, the day passes a lot faster and my work gets shipped out quicker.

 

LESSON #4 WHY SO NAIIVE, SON

One project that really made me wake up and smell the coffee was a special brochure I was working on that was originally meant for the company. However, they needed this done within a tight schedule. The idea was already created during the first few weeks but only at a prototype level with the intention of printing within the office towards the middle of the month. However, the company required these to be professionally printed within a further one week. Whilst the prototypes conveyed the idea well enough, the actual construction and technicality of the art school idea soon became a problem.

 

The printers said it would be expensive to carry out my idea as 2 machines needed to set up for only a few brochures. In addition to this, a lot of man labour would be needed. It hit me right then and there like the cork from said non-alcoholic bottle in the beginning. I was so focused on my idea that I forgot the actual feasibility of the product. While it was easy enough for me to produce, I could only make one or two at a time. The company needed around a thousand copies and the printers had to have the technology to print and re-create my idea.

 

But lesson learnt, keep your safety belt on at all times until the idea has safely been examined and we land on the ground.

 

LESSON #5 EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE

I’m drawing to the end of my post and even after all the ups and downs and rushes and slows, I am immensely grateful to have had this opportunity with Scott & Fyfe. The experience really grew me as a designer, as a person and also as someone who someday wants to build an industry of my own. I understand why it is essential for all students to have an internship. It really does help and change you. What I learnt at art school may be the Cinderella dream come true, but companies that take fresh interns like Scott & Fyfe, help to shape and build the dream into a much more happily ever after that we actually need.

 

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for giving me a dose of reality, and a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for giving me the kitten heel that I really needed.

Thank you Scott & Fyfe, for everything.

 

Written by Ummi Jameel

 

Written by Guest_Blogger

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With innovation, diversity and partnership at the heart of our company’s ethos, Scott & Fyfe have been designing and producing a vast range of technical textiles for numerous market areas worldwide for almost 150 years. Our ability to design and manufacture products for both current and future market needs have allowed us to build a global reputation for excellence in both quality and service.

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Tayport Works, Links Road, Tayport, Fife, Scotland
DD6 9EE

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