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

February 1, 2017

What happens when a German photographer intern joins High Contrast?

The Arrival

It was a cold morning when I arrived at High Contrast in Romania. I met all the team members and was happy to hear that Mondays at High Contrast are special.

But first of all, let me introduce myself. I am a German student and photographer, passionate about art, culture and digital technologies. While studying International Management, I’m doing a 3 months internship at High Contrast, so I'll be living in Brasov, Romania, just half an hour away from the famous Bran Castle, home of the title character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

After setting up all my accounts, I noticed right away that the creative people of High Contrast are very friendly and not so much Vampires/Dracula-like.

I was stoked to hear that this Monday the High Contrast team was going on a trip to Postavaru massif. The enthusiasm was there, what we needed next was the right equipment. iPhones fully charged, 3 cameras, one GoPro and a tripod, hot tea and some alcoholic magic potion I shouldn’t be talking about.

The Red Slope Walk

Looks like these guys take work pretty serious so we left Brasov only after the last laptop was shut off and we started our walk uphill when it was already dark. "Don’t worry, it’s only wolves and bears around", is what they were saying.

Walking up the very slippery slope, I could not help myself but look up to the spectacular sky, where every star no matter how tiny, was perfectly visible.

Apparently, there are people that can run up the mountain in about 25 minutes. Well, I think they are missing all the fun 🙂

As a group of 10, we did a lot of stops to take photos and sip a bit of the homemade plum booze Tudor brought. It took us about two hours but the trip is more important than the destination isn't it?

At Postavarul Chalet

Just arrived at the Julius Römer Hütte (Germans are everywhere haha), the owners told us that there wouldn't be enough food because the chalet was a little more busy than usually since Tuesday was a national holiday and a lot of people came to have fun at Romania’s most popular ski resort.

After 20 minutes, the huge table was packed with meat, “slanina”, smoked sausages, cooked rice, pickles, homemade bread, and the amazing “zacusca” which you have to taste to understand. I’ve had no idea how bad a Romanian food crisis on top of a mountain looks like!

During dinner, still the only foreigner, High Contrast creatives adapted with some games, but not the usual high school drinking games, but a remix called “internationalization” where the rules are simple: anyone that spoke Romanian needed to take a sip of the schnapps. I thought this game would emerge to my absolute advantage, but of course there was an extra rule for me, so I couldn't say yes or no, else I’d have to drink the schnapps. I can’t remember who won 🙂

Time passed and suddenly we’ve been the last ones in the dining room, so it was clear that our party should continue in our rooms, where we ended up with a truly philosophical talk about different concepts that we tried to analyze, understand and debate. Suddenly it was 4 a.m. in the morning. Taking a last look at the city lights, we have been able to hear some wolves howling, not too far from the chalet. Time to get some sleep.

The Beautiful Sunrise

After about three hours of sleep,  we woke up to an amazing sea of clouds and a spectacular sunrise, that you can witness in the photos below.

The downhill walk only took us about 30 minutes, still slower than the crazy ones that run the slopes uphill. Arrived at home, exhausted and happy about my awesome first and a half day of „work“, I started thinking that this must be the different view, from the High Contrast tagline.

Well done High Contrast, that’s how you welcome an intern properly.

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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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