New Designers made possible by study advance funds

As a student you develop a great head start here

You will find them at the end of a hallway, somewhere in the main campus of THUAS. Not in a classroom, but in a space where creativity and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand. New Designers is a simulation of a real design agency, smack in the middle of a university of applied sciences. The agency is the first design agency in The Hague run by students. The students will have a great head start when they enter the labour market. The IT &Design faculty enabled New Designers by using the study advance funds.

At the New Designers studio we find lecturer Tim van den Bosch as a primus inter pares in a meeting with student assistant Karima El Amriti. Tim is the UXD lecturer and founder of New Designers. Last season, Karima completed her graduation internship for senior secondary vocational education and training (mbo) at New Designers and is now a first-year CMD student. Tim laughs when he talks about Karima: “Because she did her graduation internship here, she is now a senior at New Designers.”

An agency as a student job

Karima: “The agency is mostly run by the students themselves. Experienced lecturers serve as their sounding board. We don’t work exclusively with CMD or USD students here. Senior secondary vocational education and training students can also gain wonderful experience here with an internship.” Karima is no longer a student intern, but has a part-time job at New Designers. The hours she works here are not study hours, but paid employment. Karima: “I prefer gaining practical experience here than stocking shelves at a supermarket.”

Change in energy

Tim: “Here we simulate working at a real design agency. You notice that there is a real change in energy when you reward people financially. It makes everything much more real. The students have to create a quote for any potential new assignment. They have to estimate their hours and calculate their rate. Then they negotiate this rate with the client. This is all part of working at a design agency. This hands-on experience is hard to imitate in a classroom setting. As New Designers we are building a bridge between the real-life digital design experience and our curriculum.”

Into the deep end

Before her graduation internship, Karima had already acquired practical experience at other design agencies. What makes New Designers different from these other agencies? “Here I work for the client. In my earlier internships I worked for the agency.” She proudly talks about an assignment in which she developed a complete brand guide for a client. “I conducted interviews with the client. I pitched my design and then developed the entire brand guide: logo, colours, fonts, layout, everything. At New Designers you jump straight into the deep end. But if you need help there is always a lecturer to give you advice.”

Ownership

The students who work at New Designers are given ownership from day one. Tim: “Other agencies give juniors a checklist to work through. Here they make the checklist themselves. Because the students became very involved this way, they noticed that the management at New Designers could use some more structure. As a result they proposed creating a board and different committees.

Major head start

The students at New Designers participate in the initial meeting with every new student who applies. Tim and Karima are responsible for the follow-up meeting. Karima: “Here you are given unique and complete responsibility, which you would never get as a junior at another agency.” Tim: “When these students start working for an agency later, they have already outgrown the junior phase. This gives them a real head start over everyone else. We prepare graduates who are really good. To properly address the issue of continuity, we want to hire more first-year students and train them internally. They will then be able to work with us for 4 or 5 years. This way we can fast-track seniority.”

Join us!

Do you want to join us and gain practical experience in an innovative, creative company while studying? See what you have to offer and sign up with New Designers via newdesigners@hhs.nl.

Follow New Designers on Instagram to take a look behind the scenes: https://www.instagram.com/newdesigners.agency.