Yesterday was an exciting day out spent following around two pupils, Louise and Dylan, from Fernhill School, Farnborough, as they were shown around the offices of Reade Signs to see what they get up to.

A print and design company, specialising in signs and employing more than 30 people, the office gives students a glimpse of working life and in particular, the graphic design and print industry. 

The tour started with a look at where their work is used outside the office - in shopfront displays, housing developments, football stadiums, on the road, and everything in between - making everyone visiting realise that we are constantly being bombarded with signs even though we don't realise it, and from these signs we create an immediate impression about a business, what they do and how credible they are. 

Watching their artwork unfolding

Andy, a graphic designer by trade, then took us downstairs to the studio and printers. Here, the day really came to life. As Louise and Dylan are two students who are interested in art and design, and are thinking of attending college and university to study art, they were asked to bring along some artwork of their own. Andy showed them their artwork on the studio computers and how they could manipulate them with their software, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, to create different versions of their images in the same vein as they would do in their professional work for clients.

They were then able to print off their designs and take them home with them as a little souvenir, witnessing the enormous size of the printers and the speed at which designers could get their work printed and sent off to site.

The suspense of what it's going to look like when it comes out the printer!

Sometimes it’s very hard, especially with skills that have been downgraded by the recent government, for students to understand where their interests might fit into the wider world of work. This tour gave Louise and Dylan this understanding, and it’s especially lucky that the graphic design and signage industry is flourishing with lots of interesting technical developments evolving. They were enthralled by the whole afternoon and, although times have changed, asked how staff had entered the industry, making themselves think about what further skills and experience they would need to get into the industry when they leave college or university. Louise, a self-confessed computer dunce, even admitted that she could see herself experimenting with Adobe software, getting a feel for it, and positively looking forward to it.  

Dylan and Louise showing off their final product