Through the epda exchange program I was given the chance to work for Studio Schoch in Zurich, Switzerland, for two weeks. Two weeks is perhaps a too short period of time to really get to know a new work environment and understand its ways completely, but for me it was time well spent.
Studio Schoch is a lot smaller than my agency Silver (9 employees compared to 25), which was probably the biggest difference for me. I’m used to several small teams working on different projects and sometimes a noisy, fun workplace. Studio Schoch was to me rather quiet, but on the other hand more intimate and the team in a way more like a family.
Work-wise, I’d say it wasn’t so different. We use the same equipment and work is quite similar as both agencies do branding and packaging design. I was assigned to do a line extension for Delizio coffee, a fun and very open project. I could do practically anything I wanted, which was a bit unusual for me. The biggest difference is probably our processes. At Silver we usually start with an idea presentation, which can be very brief with mood boards and ideas rather than finished design. From what I experienced, Studio Schoch show the client finished design earlier in the process. I´d say both ways have their advantages, depending on the client and project.
In my spare time I explored Zürich as much as possible. It’s a good town for walking, so I did just that and got to know the city quite well in the end. My colleagues at Studio Schoch were so friendly, took me out to dinner (I had to try the fondue, of course), drinks and gave me lots of tips of what to see in Zürich.
If anyone has the chance to go for an exchange, go! It will not be time wasted for sure. You will gain a lot from the experience: insight into how it is working for another agency in another country, as well as making new friends and maybe even establish a relationship between your company and the hosting agency. And even if that doesn’t happen, the time spent abroad will not be to no purpose, as it at least will give you some perspective on your own work and life when returning back home.
After arriving in Stockholm early on a Saturday morning, Idun picked me up at the Central Station to show me the office of Silver and her apartment. We had only little time to swap keys and some important information before she took off to Zürich. It was a strange feeling standing in her apartment and saying good bye to her, knowing, she now will be staying in my apartment for two weeks.
Sunday I met André in the afternoon for coffee and cake, or «Fika» how they call it in Sweden. We had a nice chat and he gave me a short brief of what I was expecting in the next two weeks.
Arriving Monday morning I found a nice warm welcome by the whole Team including beautiful flowers and a wonderful travel guide designed by Magda. Later I found out that this little book didn’t just look good but was of great use.
The week at Silver started pretty much the same as the one of Studio Schoch; with a Team meeting. The only difference was that I found myself in a room with more than twice as many people than at home. This I would say was one of the biggest differences between the companies. Due to the many employees, Silver is structured in different Teams. It was my first time working in such a big company and I found it a great experience to have so many people around me, all with very different specialties.
I was allowed to join the customer meeting receiving a new briefing for a redesign. Due to the fact that the briefing was in Swedish and I didn’t understand a thing. Kindly I received a new Briefing in English. As from there I had normal working days researching on the product, sketching, putting together mood-boards and lay-outing.
All very similar as to what I was used to, just in a different office, working in a different team and a different culture.
The experience I had during the two weeks was absolutely incredible. It was extremely interesting working in a different country and seeing how packaging design is done in Sweden. I spent a lot of my free time in supermarkets and shops, researching and taking in a lot of inspiring ideas. In my opinion Stockholm is design wise more progressive and a head of Switzerland. It seems that Swedish people are very detail loving. I felt a big passion for design throughout the whole city.
The Team of silver was very kind to me, we went for after work drinks, had an office dinner and visited museums… I never felt lonely. They also were very helpful in advising me to great places to see and experience Stockholm in a local way.
I could truly imagine living in Stockholm and working for Silver for a longer period than two weeks. This is of course if they would have me again. I am very thankful to EPDA, Silver and Studio Schoch for giving me this marvelous opportunity to experience the Swedish packaging design and lifestyle.