<title-serif>Gaining hands-on industry experience is<title-serif><title-sans> life changing<title-sans>
Flipside is an east London-based diversity scheme to help a wider pool of talented candidates break into the industry. Beyond was a co-founder of the scheme which started in 2018. This year we’re proud that two Flipsiders have joined us at Beyond as part of their training. So we asked them to tell us their story.
We know there is a diversity challenge to be addressed in our industry. At Beyond, we believe that words are not enough to tackle these problems. We need proactive, practical solutions to address the problems head on. This is one of the reasons why we helped to found Flipside back in 2018. And it’s one of the reasons why we’re so pleased that two of the Flipsiders from this year’s scheme have joined us as part of their training.
The conclusion of this year’s scheme sees Amenn Ogbemudia and Ethan McFarlane joining Beyond for a three month work placement. They sit inside our creative team, working alongside our designers to soak up as much industry knowledge and experience as possible during their engagement with us.
We asked Amenn and Ethan to explain what Flipside means to them.
I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Philosophy and moved to London in January 2019 where I began interning at an architecture firm.
Right before I applied for the Flipside programme, I had just dropped out of a Master's programme that I realised after a month I really wasn't enjoying. I wanted to change careers and applied for positions in the digital sector. I had always had an interest in digital design and at the time my cousin was working as a product designer and encouraged me to look for bootcamp/training programmes where I could learn the skill set of a product designer. When I discovered the Flipside programme, it was exactly what I wanted and came exactly when I needed it to.
As part of the programme we were given two briefs by the fashion retail brand Farfetch which aligned with their 2030 goals of creating a cleaner, conscious, circular and inclusive fashion industry. They wanted us to create a digital product that was either Positively Circular or Positively Conscious.
Each week of the training shone a light on different phases of the design process, from research to creating our digital prototype. I enjoyed the visualisation and testing/validation phase the most because at this point we were able to bring all our ideas to life and finally see how people would respond to them.
I initially thought my lack of design skills would be a challenge. Being one of the few among the Flipsiders with no formal design education or professional experience, I was worried that I would fall behind. However, in the end, this was a positive thing because we were all able to help each other out when we needed it. I was able to receive support from both the agency hosts and my fellow Flipsiders whenever I was having difficulty learning how to use Figma, particularly during the prototyping phase - which was quite complicated - or simply when I needed some extra encouragement.
During my time at Beyond I've learned a lot by being amongst a team of talented designers. I've also gained more insight into the different areas of product design. I would recommend Flipside for anyone interested in getting into the digital design sector - even if they don't have a degree or prior formal training.
I’m a self-taught graphic designer. When I finished sixth-form in 2019, I began my design career by learning the fundamentals from online courses and I quickly developed a passion by being curious about every type of design and wanting to learn how it’s done. Two years of developing my design skills went by and I felt that I had made very good progress learning as much as I could on my own. But I was lacking experience of working in the real world. That’s why I applied for Flipside.
We started the programme in October. We were eased in slowly in the first week with lots of fun icebreaker activities to make sure we felt comfortable in our new surroundings. From the second week onwards, we visited a different agency each week. There we were taught new skills on Figma and the product design process from start to finish.
I learned so much from these seven or so weeks. I remember in particular week four where we created moodboards, colour schemes and a design system for our product idea. I enjoyed that part of the process the most as that was the week where all the ideas in my head were projected onto a screen and really started to come to life.
I think the biggest challenge during the process was the week where we learned prototyping on Figma. It was a very intense week of learning and trial and error - but I was very satisfied that I fully understood the prototyping process by the end of that week. I know this is a hugely useful skill that I will be able to use throughout my design career.
I think as much as we learned about the product design process, Flipside has helped me gain a lot of the real world work experience that I felt I needed. It’s given me a lot of confidence in myself as a person and designer that I’ve carried forward with me into my placement with Beyond.