November 11, 2019

Teach me design, I’ll teach you French

Where interns truly belong to

Hi! Here’s Aurelien, the french guy from Nantes. I was looking for a two-months internship in a digital agency somewhere in Europe and this is where I got: Brasov. Where exactly? High Contrast. Why? Because it’s been a journey of two years since I started to catch feelings for design, without giving up on my first love, technology. And now I put them together and go on this agency life adventure. Hurray!

Mostly, a story about curiosity

I was looking for an Internship of two months in web design and I also wanted to improve my English. How could I hit them both? Searching for digital agencies all over Europe, up to adopt me. So I searched on Google Maps ”design agencies ready to babysit interns and make them learn some things about the daily struggle of a designer’s life”. High Contrast was one of the first agencies to respond to me positively and have a match with. Moreover, Romania was totally unknown to me so it was a lucky strike to be immersed in a new culture and learn design from a different point of view at the same time.

When tasks keep coming.

All fun and games, now here’s the test

My first contact with High Contrast was by email. Smart move. (A piece of advice here, if you ever want to get in touch with them, always use the email. Don’t you dare to think of a call as the first approach). We had that ‘terms & conditions’ talk and agreed with everything that we had on the table. After that, they sent me a web design test to challenge my abilities in design and my level with the tools they use (Photoshop, Illustrator, Figma, Drive). My portfolio and CV were also important in this step. We had a Skype conversation to confirm some points and see the people who would welcome me. After all, I needed to know who I’m gonna deal with for the next two months.

First day in High Contrast

My first day began early in the morning. 11 o’clock. I met a part of the team and got familiar with their stuff, their projects, their way to work. They gave me time to assimilate their methods (like they had a choice), to explore their work and find questions, if necessary. In the afternoon they gave me my first task to complete. 100 website layouts. It was interesting to see and adapt to the different ways of working. Somehow. ‘Bogdan, do you have a minute?’. I love this phrase, I’m going to use it often. It just sounds lovely. 

Monday talk: `Who's gonna solve all his tasks by the end of the week?`

Everybody, meet the gang

The team welcomed me like you welcome a new colleague in high school: they have an  ’initiation’’ process. This is also a test to pass after your skills are proved. We’ve been hiking Postavaru peak, where I had the chance to sympathize with my new mates. I really loved that they weren't just colleagues at work and it was also possible to hang out with them in the evening. I thank them for that. (gratefulness everywhere)

Hiking with the newbies is a tradition.

Let the game begin

The fun of office life just begun. My duty was to help on some projects by creating, in the first place, visuals for collateral materials such as invitations mock-ups, layouts for the projects and some brand research. 

I’ve learned to use Semplice, Figma and got used to some tips in Photoshop and Illustrator. It was a good thing because at school it's difficult to test new things and take time to learn more about the process, so here they got me covered to learn and improve my skills.

Pros & cons of agency life

I've learned many things during my time spent in the agency. First of all, I got familiar with the way in which things are going on here. For example, I've experienced the branding process by working at some logos I had to do from scratch. The brand manuals taught me how to think over the process of a fancy and usable logo as well. Does it sound fun? Wait until you deal with the client's 'Can we try another version?' (just in case you've got the ok from the creative director). At least I had some sources to get my inspiration from, before asking for feedback. Behance helped me a lot.

This is how a design sprint looks like.
Overall, this life is pretty cool. The team had the enthusiasm of a start-up gang, the situations got always clear somehow and I had guidance from these multitasking guys and the materials they have made during their activity. The only thing that tried to kill our relationship was Slack, a communication tool supposed to make things easier and faster. Good that we had the lunch break and hangouts for truly human interaction, after all.

The goodbye

The one and only possible conclusion: it was a great experience from any point of you, but the best of it was definitely seeing the design process from a different view.

So, thank you, High Contrast! It was a pleasure.

Your devoted intern,
Aurelien

October 31, 2019

Feed us what you have, TikTok!

Come on, it's fun!

For a digital agency, the Social Media world is very important and any attempt to conquer it has to be highly calculated before each and every step.

Kidding. It’s not that harsh. Do your magic. Have some fun, just like we did! 

This time is going to be about our newest concern, TikTok. Just in case you’re still in 2016, TikTok is one of the highest-rated, downloaded, used, loved, worshiped (and so on, you got the point) video app nowadays. Its purpose is to help you create and share personal video content with users from all over the world. There are also some challenges to have fun with, but we’re going to talk about this a bit later. Keep scrolling.

Catching up with online trends be like.

Where to, now?

We’ve been talking in previous articles about the fake importance of having a job title, tips & tricks for newbies in the agencies and also about some helpful tools. Now some other Social Media magic trick got us inspired. As we said, the great TikTok.

Hey there, agency life, could this be helpful to you?

How it all went down

No Social Media channel has its own and exclusive content. Think about the link between the apps and the possibility to share the content from each one to another. All these trends are so spread that it doesn’t matter if you’ve downloaded a certain app or not. You will surely find some related content on any other channel at some point. And this happened to us with TikTok. 

So it all started with a bit of curiosity. A bit more, actually.

Spreading all over Social Media

First of all, we had to get familiar with the TikTok content in his natural habitat, and not from some Instagram feed. Store > TikTok > Get the app. Now let’s get it started.

So, step one: sell your soul to the devil by signing up. Once your account is created, there’s no way back. Trust us.

Step two: keep scrolling. Give a chance to each and every video. Inspiration comes in so strange and unexpected ways…

Step three: don’t check the time, you might get a heart attack noticing that you’ve spent all day ‘searching for inspiration’ and you have to postpone your daily duties. Again.Step four: discover the trending challenges, rate them and accept them. 

Curious to find out what are these about? The answers are here and here.Step five: have you had enough fun? Good. Now go back to work and let people know what a fun life you are having in the agency! That’s the purpose, after all. So let’s take some shots.

Extra tip: if you ever look at your coworkers and wonder... `what is going on inside their head?`, just keep in mind that what you find out might be harmful. 

Step six: got your video done? Post it! Don’t forget about the relevant hashtags that make you popular. Be generous with them. Ok, not that generous, you don’t want to cover your masterpiece. Clean, clear, clever, claim those damn likes & followers!

Double-extra tip: use some feedback before any final decision. In fact, any experiment has to be approved first of all. Attention? Attention! More attention. Attention now, please! Thank you.

Step seven: no more steps, you’re done. Stay tuned and see what happens.

The audience for this kind of post never dies.

Who else is an early adopter?

Even if TikTok is at the beginning as a commercial platform, it caught the attention of marketers and they are falling for it one by one. From Chipotle to NBA and San Diego Zoo, brands started to be involved in this TikTok community more and more. 

Forget about the pixel-perfect and ten-steps-forward thought content! The boost of this movement seems to be the fact that the audience actually enjoys a less organized content, with the sense of `keep it real` and a more natural flow. And this couldn’t be better for expressing the daily struggle in the agency, right?

Surprisingly or not, there is a lot of agency life to offer to TikTok-ers, especially when it comes to challenges. There you had some of our ideas to be shared.

The future is under your nose

Everything is a marketing tool if you are brave enough. Or crazy enough. Or you have plenty of time. Just be bold. Try everything that comes out. The Social Media world is full of resources. So should be the inner you.

Do you need another piece of advice? Don’t be afraid to introduce to your client the big boys, itty bitty boys, Mississippi boys or the city boys by using TikTok when it comes to brand persona. Convince him that people gonna love it even more! 

But that’s enough for now. Go conquer the world! Have fun! And stay tuned for more of our stories and experiments. 

Oh, we almost forgot, what about the relationship between postcards and Social Media stories as a future topic? Here's a picture to motivate your decision.

Mallorca, 2019, and Emilia's sense of humor

October 16, 2017

This is how we roll @ High Contrast

Wednesday, 11 October 2017, Brasov, Romania.

High Contrast Office

- Got your hiking heels? Your backpacks?

- Got them. Food supplies?

- The courage potion ready for Bogdan? Ready.

- Are we still waiting for Rares?

This is how our special Wednesday started.

A few weeks ago, we got an invitation from the SELFQUEST team to join them for an adventurous team building program with rock climbing and hiking activities to test ourselves outside the office. And it was all for free since they were eager to get our feedback as a well known team of extraordinary people, an offer we couldn’t refuse.

A trip to climb Cheile Râșnoavei on a Wednesday morning, with some of the coolest and smartest people I know. No amount of Trello solved tasks can beat this.

When we got to the meeting’s place, the SELFQUEST team presented us basic climbing rules and techniques and then we headed towards the activities area.

Climbing the mountain gave us a thrilling experience and amazing view. We were really relieved to see Bogdan, our rockstar designer, come out unhurt from the experience. We took our time gliding over the amazing scenery and could almost fell the branches of the tallest trees reaching our feet. Quite an empowering experience.

We climbed, we slided, we glided. We rolled. And most of all, we enjoyed every moment.

You can see this in the photos, our faces are telling a better story than any words could tell.

I really liked the rock climbing, I always wanted to do this outside the indoor bouldering training and it was awesome. (Costin)

We also got some team challenges and honestly we were too good, too fast, too perfect for them. See the equally shaped square below or the perfectly set tent that we blindfoldedly put together in 133 seconds.

Sport action on this perfect weather and the best scenery.

How can this get better? Just add some ad-hoc BBQ and a Truth and Dare creative game plus some really nice conversations. You got the perfect Wednesday @ HC. See our entire journey here:

May 16, 2017

Fun is meant to be shared

As a freelancer, you might find this familiar

You wake up past noon, grab a sandwich and you settle on your favorite spot on the couch. You read your emails while you enjoy a (hopefully) fresh cup of coffee and start working on your projects. You keep checking your phone craving for some interaction, but you know all your friends are at work and they can’t spend that much time on Instagram as you do. Your cat comes awhile and you try to complain to her about the feedback you just received from that moody client. You listen to “Under Pressure” on repeat every time you are really close to a deadline but you have to finish that last level of Clash Royale. You text your mother every time you get a new client even if she has no idea what you are doing.

Freelancing is fun, chaotic, fascinating, overwhelming, amazing. Since we met so many of you and we truly appreciate your work, we thought we can make things easier for you.

Meet Demisol, the open space

Well, we have an offer you can’t refuse. We found this open place just one floor beneath High Contrast office and we decided to keep it open. If you are a freelancer and you work mostly from home, we invite you to drop by.https://player.vimeo.com/video/216825495

Demisol is an open space where you can work at your own projects together with others freelancers from Brasov, Romania. You just have to bring your laptop and your enthusiasm, we'll take care of the rest. 

And what if we offer it for free?

You can now enjoy your (definitely) fresh coffee in a cozy office, surrounded by creative and eager minds, just like yours. Or you can share the latest design trends with someone who is really into typography. Remember when you were looking for a developer to make that idea work? Well, you can extend your network just by hanging out in a cool place.

Who can jump in?

We see this place conquered by designers, developers, copywriters, architects, illustrators, writers - basically anyone who works in the creative industry and needs some interaction from time to time.

What’s in for us?

We are in the creative industry in Brasov, Romania for 15 years and we think it's time to show some support for the brave ones. If you are familiar with our Get to know us! event, you know that we just want to meet you. At least for now (we'll recruit you later).

Claim your desk!

There’s a limit of seven desks for now, so you should be fast and bold. Claim a desk and tell us who you are, what you do and why would you like to hang around. We will get in touch with you shortly and set you up. To make sure we match, please read The rules before applying. The deadline for the first group of applicants is May 20th. So hurry up!

Claim your desk!

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Copyright © 2002 - 2021 High Contrast. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2002 - 2021 High Contrast. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2002 - 2021 High Contrast. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2002 - 2020 High Contrast. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2002 - 2020 High Contrast. All rights reserved.

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