For many, the first step into your industry-of-choice starts with an internship. In preparation for this “real world” introduction, take the following steps to earn your graphic design internship.

  1. Research the company
  2. Be yourself
  3. Bring a portfolio
  4. Talk through your process
  5. Send a thank you note

After selecting companies you feel fit your creative spirit and career aspirations, pour your passion into crafting a perfect cover letter and resume, remain diligent about following up with prospective employers, answer every phone call and monitor email to ensure you don’t miss out on the opportunity for an interview. Then, after all the waiting — and let’s be honest, some stress — you receive the call offering an interview for the design internship of your dreams! So, what do you do now to prepare?

1. Research the company

Now that the interview is scheduled and placed on your calendar (hint, hint!), the first thing you should do is research the company, in detail, if you haven’t already. Read about how the company started, make note of the leadership, research their company culture, list of clients and portfolio of work. This initial step will help when the employer asks, and they will ask, “Why are you interested in a design internship with us?” You will demonstrate that you took the initiative to research and familiarize yourself with their company.


2. Be yourself

This one tops the list for any interview, but it’s true. Most people get a case of the nerves during any interview, so you are not alone if you feel anxious the day-of. Take a few deep breaths, try to stay relaxed and just be yourself. Employers want to see the real you. Not only do employers look to see if your skillsets are up to par, but they also take into consideration how you fit into their culture. Have personality during the interview and show the company why you’d be a great extension of their team.

3. Bring a portfolio

When interviewing for a graphic design internship, make sure you bring a professional and polished portfolio in digital and/or print versions. If you designed a website, bring an iPad or laptop with you to the interview so you can walk through the site — do not rely on the interviewer to supply the technology. If you designed a printed piece, bring a mock-up so you can talk through your design process from conception to implementation. An equally important second part to this step — take pride in your work. As you talk through your portfolio with the interviewer, speak with confidence about the things you created. Do not mention what you should have done or would have done. Talk about your pieces in a positive light and focus on things you did well in the execution, or how you solved the design problem.

4. Talk through your process

While your portfolio shows the interviewer the end-product of your creativity, it does not convey the story behind your creative genius. Start with explaining the project or assignment to show your understanding of the audience and design problem. Demonstrate your critical and design thinking by answering the following questions:

  • What challenges did the project present and how did you solve them?
  • Did you work within a budget or time constraints?
  • What was your strategic approach?

As you explain, take ownership of the project and the design decisions you made along the way. Describe your purposeful design choices that influenced your decisions and the strategy behind them. Please know, graphic design professionals do not want to hear you did something “because it was pretty.”

5. Send a thank you note

After you make it through the interview — and, you will definitely make it through — be sure to send a thank you note to the interviewers. This may seem like an outdated gesture, but a handwritten thank you note speaks volumes. Take the opportunity to thank them once again for their time and consideration and to express your interest in interning with their company. Not to mention, it will help you stay fresh in their minds as they make their decision.

Making the best impression during your interview requires preparation. While you’re there to try and land an internship, you could also be speaking with your future full-time employer. Take the necessary steps to impress before and after the interview, and always remember to be yourself.

Stay connected with A. Bright Idea by checking the careers section on our website for any future employment or internship opportunities.

“Design is where science and art break even,” said Designer and Entrepreneur Robin Mathew. Most people don’t recognize a correlation between science, technology, engineering, and math as they relate to art, but at A. Bright Idea, we certainly do.

Digital Canvas

It might surprise you to know just how much technology goes into graphic design. Throughout a whole workday, technology gets used to establish creative to bring brands and advertisements to life. No longer solely centered around creating a piece of art, a graphic designer’s strategy now includes a focus on functionality and how their work will succeed in the digital world.

Users can now access online information via desktop, mobile or tablet surfaces. With a change in user experience comes a shift in design strategy. Responsive design, for example, involves creating a website to work on large horizontal desktops as well as a small portrait phone. Designers must keep this in mind during the development process to ensure any text, graphics or videos will function properly no matter the source.

By committing to life-long learning, designers and artists can smoothly transition as technology continues to evolve, thus becoming artistic and creative in a digital and technological sense.

Modern Paintbrush

Just as Leonardo da Vinci found common ground between science and art, so do contemporary graphic designers. A computer, in turn, becomes the paintbrush.

Technology provided the fuel for art to not only evolve but come to life with a direct purpose that integrates directly into everyday life. Whenever you see a logo for a company or a design on a website, you witness art in a digital form.

For the most part, graphic designers start out with a sketch of an idea before turning to technology to elevate it to the next level. Software suites, like Adobe Creative Cloud, allow graphic designers to easily transition from sketch to vector — digital images created by placing lines and shapes in a given two-dimensional space — arrange pages of a brochure or create custom animations. When designers use this software to enable creative freedom, the technological and artistic worlds collide.

Unexpected Inspiration

Creative inspiration can stem from anywhere. Designers use math and science for concept inspiration, as well as product execution. Math allows designers to create crisp and accurate graphics. Simple, yet important things like measuring out the sides of a brochure or making sure lines run precisely parallel to each other make designs as perfect and functional as possible. Designers also use math to scale images, convert units, write print specifications and develop deadlines for printed projects.

Geometry acts as a building block for many different designs, such as creating icons and graphics to then use in making complete shapes. It seems like a simple concept, but designers more often than not use shapes to create a complete image, not free-hand drawings. For example, designers can create a light bulb through the use of geometry by setting various shapes at different angles and placements. This method requires a meticulous approach, bringing several different variables together to create an end product.

With so many variables to work through and consider, problem-solving becomes an essential part of a graphic designers’ process. When an engineer gets tasked with building a bridge, key components to consider include the quantity and cost of materials needed. Similarly, when designing a brochure, graphic designers also consider size and shape, materials, cost efficiencies and other variables to ensure a complete and functional final product.

Creativity and technology not only coexist but also produce groundbreaking ideas and outcomes. Art not only fits perfectly into science, technology, engineering and math, but creates a connection among all of them. Strategy and technicality have no limit when it comes to various industries. An engineer exudes the creativity of an artist, just as an artist emanates the innovation of an engineer.

Marketing businesses using Facebook and Twitter has become a growing tactic in marketing plans across all industries. Social media platforms serve as an effective tool for circulating branded messaging, but Internet usage and trends continue to change every day.
In a recent article, Bulldog Reporter found that 90% of all Internet traffic and 50% of mobile traffic is now made up of photos and video. For growing visual media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, this means an opportunity for continued expansion. Instagram’s more than 200 million users make up an attractive market of young people for PR and marketers. Digital media reporting site Mashable has also found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults are now using Pinterest. These large groups of users of both platforms are at the ready to receive visual content that could ultimately lead to better connecting and capitalizing on consumer and brand relationships.
With the expanding use of visual media, it is more important than ever to control your brand’s messaging. People make decisions based on trust and brand promise. Using photos and visuals helps create another tangible connection to brands. As we can see from these recent statistics, it is becoming a greater means of communication – that old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Having a strategic presence in visual media can serve as a key tool to further brand development as part of an integrated marketing approach. Everything you do or say influences what people think about your brand, so providing them with a visual example of what your brand promises also helps demonstrate that your brand delivers on this promise.
No matter the medium, the ability to connect users with your brand is crucial to developing brand loyalty, and will ultimately lead to a better consumer experience. It’s important to assess your own brand strategy as it compares to trends, as not all trends serve brands equally. With the expanding use of visual media, now is an opportune time to analyze your own brand and consider the most strategic uses of visual media and how it can potentially become part of your integrated marketing approach.