What My Internship Has Taught Me

As a college student studying Graphic Design, it sometimes feels like we’re designing in our own little college world and the design industry is this big scary place, that’s why internships are the perfect way to jump-start your career and get a feel for what the industry is really like! 

The real-life experience that you gain whilst working in a design agency is invaluable and we have some tips to help you get the most out of it. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

It’s easy to let your mind stop you from speaking up and asking questions but at the end of the day, this is how we learn. Your team are there to help you learn and are more than happy to pass down the skills they have learnt over the years. You may think you know how to do something, but your team definitely has a handy industry tip on how to make something easier! The design industry is evolving every day, whether you’re an intern or a senior designer, it’s important to remain curious and collaborative by always being open to learning something new. 

Use feedback as momentum 

The feedback you get is about your work and your work only, not about you! I feel like every designer has struggled with this at some point in their career, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s important to learn that every negative comment you get on a project is only an opportunity to develop your skills. Maybe keep a handy list at the back of your sketchbook of things to learn and YouTube tutorials to watch to help turn your feedback into new skills! Always remember that nobody is the perfect designer. 

Take every opportunity to learn

Whilst working in a design agency, there’s always different types of work going on at all scales. Be open to trying new areas of design that you would never have thought of before and try your best to never turn down a project. The whole point of an internship is to come away with a broader knowledge than when you started, so always look for something that will challenge you. Be aware of other projects going on around you, just because you’re not working on something yourself doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. 

Sometimes you might have some downtime as in intern, if this does happen always be proactive. Theres always something to do. Again, ask questions! Offer some help to other members of your team and if no one has anything at that moment here are some things to work on;

  • Software tutorials
  • Research current design trends
  • Create something for your agencies social media
  • Work on a self initiated project

Connections matter!

Building relationships within the creative community is so important. Always get to know your fellow designers in your own agency and outside it. The design community is a small place and it’s a great opportunity to meet people who think like you do so always make an effort to be present and up for a chat. 

Getting an internship as a graphic designer is an invaluable opportunity to kickstart your career. Check out what opportunities are available around you and make sure to be proactive and go for them! And always remember to water your desk plant 😉