A graphic designer on The Apprentice has spilled what it’s really like to help the candidates

Yes, they do notice how awful the product designs are


A graphic designer who works on The Apprentice has finally spilled the tea about what it’s really like to work with the candidates on the show.

Speaking to the Sun, Daniel Walkin and Ben Shutler from Innovate Design have shared their experience of taking part on the show. They were behind helping the candidates with the task last year which saw the famous turd-looking toothbrush. The company shared on its website the ins and outs of working on the show, saying that in less than a day they were tasked with designing a product that would usually take over six months to develop.

Daniel worked on brush character design and animation whilst Ben helped the candidates with their brush concepts. From trying to not to laugh at how awful their ideas are, to working all through the night to make their products, here’s what they had to say.

Yes, they do notice how bad the products are, but they aren’t allowed to offer any help

Let’s address the biggest question first – do the graphic designers see how awful the products look? Your answer? Yes. Ben told the Sun he and his colleagues knew the toothbrush they were designing looked like a turd, but when they tried to help out the candidates this year, Karren Brady was quick to shut them down. “I just remember looking over at my boss, sat in the corner of the room, and we were literally just smiling at each other because we knew what it looked like,” he said.

“And there was literally nothing we could do about it because we’re not allowed. You’re not allowed to intervene or give the candidates any guidance at all. So I just had to bite my lip and put on a bit of a poker face.” He said there is a strict “no talking” rule and that’s why we never see the graphic designer interacting with candidates on The Apprentice – they’re not even allowed to speak once the cameras stop rolling.

Daniel added: “I was like, ‘What about all these great ideas, spaceships and stuff?’ and Karren said, ‘You know Sugar is not paying you to do this. This has nothing to do with you’ – effectively saying I should shut up and get on with it! It felt like being told off by a teacher. I was like, ‘I can’t even shout back, even though this is my own office. I can’t say anything!’”

Ben on the show, via BBC

They work through the night to make the products for the candidates

As stated on the company website, it would usually take around six months for the design process of a new product. Ben added: “They were supposed to have an hour and 15 minutes for the toothbrush design and then 45 minutes for the packaging, design and logo. But it’s actually a very stop-start process. They’ll be filming bits and then get everyone to stop and take people out of the room for interviews, and the production crew will be talking to the candidates every so often. So in the end, it was probably more like half an hour of design time, which is hardly anything.”

Ben said he began filming with the candidates at around 3pm, and didn’t stop until around 9pm. Daniel said his team was with him from 6pm until around midnight. But, that wasn’t the end for Ben and Daniel, they both then had to work through the night to finish the products for the teams. For Ben this was even more hard work, as everything the candidates do has to be run past lawyers, and he faced a very last minute call saying they weren’t allowed the original idea for the name of the toothbrush on their design.

A graphic designer shares what it is like to work with the candidates on The Apprentice

via BBC

‘Almost everything is set up for them to make a very easy bad decision’

Despite knowing how awful some of the designs are, Daniel admits the situations the candidates are put in are difficult. “They’re in a competitive environment where almost everything is set up for them to make a very easy bad decision,” he said.

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