Annie Adam: Finding the Spice in Office Life

Annie Adam is ISG’s Graphic Design intern, putting her passion for illustration into practice. The most controversial ‘uncontroversial’ intern, she’s a passionate debater, admirer of swans, and the splash of art-school-colour in the concrete jungle of Argyle House.





The prospect of spending my summer working for the University of Edinburgh seemed like a mirage of hope in a desert of stressful fringe festival employment

…especially after spending last summer working at Nandos, haunted 24/7 by Perri Perri chicken and a breed of young scallywags known more commonly as ‘spice boys’.

Even better, the fact that I could be paid to do what I love, illustration and design, filled me with a sense of excitement that maybe, just maybe, four years at art school will not result in perpetual unemployment.

Having just finished the third year of my Illustration degree with the presence of the fourth-year looming over the horizon, I pursued the internship in hope that it would give me invaluable insight into how the skills on my course can be applied in a ‘real world’ context…


What I thought would be a daunting introduction to ‘adulting’ was, in fact, one where I was made to feel welcome and a valued member of a team, in particular by my manager Sonia.

Working collaboratively with my team has been an experience where I have mastered new digital skills but also been given the opportunity to give make creative contributions to projects where I have always been made to feel like my ideas are valued; proving an internship can be so much more than the office tea run.

My role as the Graphic Design intern for Information Services is one that has so far been varied and a much-needed introduction to the grind of 9-5 for someone such as myself who suffers from a serious case of chronic lateness. The work I have been doing has spanned everything from designing leaflets, creating graphics for websites, liaising with clients, and engaging in discussions on new changes to MyEd and Learn.

Below is an example of some illustration ideas for a brief for a new ‘The Students Experience Campaign’ that I have been working on, using video game inspired imagery to communicate how through extra curriculum initiatives students can ‘reach new levels’.


Coming to Information Services where such emphasis is on digitisation and technology and A LOT of confusing acronyms, I was unsure how someone from my creative background could fit in among a sea of people from STEM backgrounds. I feel that in our ever more digitised world people often disregard or misunderstand the value of creative and personable people. This is something not only reflected in the eye roll responses people give upon hearing my degree choice but the lack of funding and importance placed on the arts in education in the UK.

My time at IS so far has highlighted, however, the importance of working synergistically with people playing to different strengths. Lo and behold, there is actually much more to graphic design than making things ‘look good’.


As Bruno Munari once said: ‘A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense’.

Planning and understanding how students and staff interact with the services they use has stressed to me the importance of designing and researching from a user experience perspective in order to produce designs that can really have a positive impact on people’s day to day life.

There has also been an emphasis on designing so that information and services are accessible and presented in a way that everyone – regardless of different needs and disabilities – can benefit from them; again, proving there’s more to design than drawing a pretty picture.


photo: Charlotte Pascoe


Working for an organisation that is a large as Information Services has exposed me to many new experiences and people and I actually now have some understanding of exactly where those tuition fees go.

It’s been thoroughly interesting to see a particular emphasis on sharing knowledge and making resources accessible for all through the expansion of in open access content and digitization of university collections, we are in such a position of privilege as students and staff of such a prestigious university that it only seems right that we endeavor to do this. For instance, did you know that the university holds the largest digitized historical scroll in the world, how’s that for a party conversation starter!

After the induction event the word networking was thrown around like there’s no tomorrow, I perhaps ignorantly assumed that this would just include connecting with a few of my colleagues on linked in and engaging in some awkward weather small talk whilst waiting for the office kettle to boil.

To my surprise, my networking has extended to me actually making a group of great friends, reminding me that friendship chemistry is most definitely a real thing!

Professional profile for professional networking.

It’s been refreshing to meet people all from such different backgrounds and courses. I’ve even had the chance to bring out my inner historian through daily historical facts provided by the finest open content intern Cec; did you know: 375 years ago on the day of publishing this post (5th July 2018) the United States experienced the first ever recorded tornado, 331 years ago the Royal Society published Isaac Newton’s PRINCIPIA, and 166 years ago Frederick Douglas delivered his famous ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?’ speech?!

The lack of Perri Perri in my life has definitely been made up for by the spice these new-found friends bring to lunchtime conversations and a new friend who is even called Perry.

Overall it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable learning curve so far. I have developed my technical graphic design skills, an infatuation with micromanaging my life on outlook, and have achieved the mammoth task (please note my mammoth drawing in Cec’s blog post) of waking up at 7 am every day. Well most days…..

One thought on “Annie Adam: Finding the Spice in Office Life

  1. Great post and a great drawing of a mammoth, btw 🙂
    All the best (we’ve met VERY briefly at a meeting with Sonia one day re content for the MOOC).

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