Introduction at VBAT Amsterdam

Starting out a Career in Graphic Design

Written by Craig Berry
Former Creative Intern at VBAT | Superunion
Originally shared Sep 7, 2016

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Hello, I’m Craig.

I am a recent graphic arts & design graduate from Leeds Beckett University in the UK. Originally from the Wirral in North West England, I am now taking part in a 5 month long creative internship at VBAT in Amsterdam from September 2016 to January 2017.

During my 3 years at university in Leeds I learnt to enjoy living in the city environment, the atmosphere this has, along with the advantages and opportunities that arise from urban living. The projects I did during university focused on things that I was (and still am) interested in, focusing on subjects like cycling, architecture, typography and photography.

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Cycling is a big deal for me. My bike is everything to me: a way to commute, a way to socialise, a way to exercise, a way to explore, a way to escape. My beloved bike is fixed-gear track bike that I ride on the roads. It’s very light and nimble, unlike my new Dutch bike which is heavy and is like driving a tank! Although it gets me to where I need to go and it’s great to live in a country where cycling is so widely accepted and appreciated — in the UK cycling is often seen as negative by other road users such as cars and buses.

My passion for cycling led me into my first internship which I started as soon as I handed in my final university work (May 2016). A friend I met whilst cycling in Leeds offered me a potential design internship at his company — Full Windsor (an innovative cycling accessory company), where after an interview I was given the internship and I was immediately given work to produce new t-shirt designs, catalogue and brochure designs, product and packaging design along with other studio jobs like handling stock, contributing to social media campaigns and towards the end I was featured in a new and upcoming product video. This internship was a steep learning curve after university and it was a great insight into ‘real world graphic design’ and all the things that encompasses as well as exciting working in a innovative cycling company.

During my university degree show (which myself and a few other students — working with a local design agency — produced the identity and publication design for) Graham Sturt (VBAT creative director) was invited over by my tutor Andy Edwards, who was also one of Graham’s previous tutors. After speaking to Graham in Leeds and further discussions I was offered a 5 month internship here at VBAT in Amsterdam which I could not turn down. Graphic design is historically important over here, with huge names like Wim Crouwel, Studio Dumbar, Mevis & Van Deursen, Experimental Jetset and Irma Boom to name just a few, have shaped the image of Dutch design and in doing so, influenced the rest of the world.

VBAT is an exciting agency which will hopefully allow me to learn more and gain experience in ‘real world graphic design’ and how large design agencies are ran. Living in Amsterdam, a great European capital city, is also a great advantage with things to do across the city with its vast number of museums and culturally significant places. My first week has been very busy, lots of shaking hands and trying to remember names — which I can remember about 10 so far. The week which included going to a Jeff Mills techno/orchestra event at the Concertgebouw and a type tour around the city led by the renowned David Quay. It’s great to be in a place like VBAT where everyone is welcoming and helpful, there are no egos and the food is great!

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