Robyn Koenig

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.

Great news! We’re hiring a Graphic Design Intern for Summer 2019 so you can put these new skilled you just learned to use! For the details and to apply online, visit the careers section on our website. Be sure to submit your application by March 15.

As many of you know, A. Bright Idea is expanding its creative services to Northern California and is busy setting up our West Coast office this week. The ABI team will enjoy some new digs in Sonoma, inside the village  of Glen Ellen. We are happy to announce a new relationship with Peter Mathis Wines of Sonoma.  The A. Bright Idea creatives have just completed a new label redesign of the Peter Mathis Sonoma Valley Grenache and are working on some new projects for this boutique winery.

This weekend, T.J. and I were honored to attend an exclusive wine event, “The Cult Cab Party,” benefiting the Sonoma Valley Teen Center.  A. Bright Idea supported the evening by creating several pieces of collateral materials promoting a vertical tasting of some Sonoma and Napa Valley’s legendary wines including Beringer Private Reserve, Chateau Montelena, Dunn and Spottwoode. Guests included Ed Sbragia, former rock-star winemaker at Beringer and now owner and winemaker at Sbragia Family Vineyards, Dick Arrowood from Arrowood Vineyards and Winery,  Philippe Thibault of Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma and other local VIPs.

As for A. Bright Idea’s new expansion on the Golden Coast, Bel Air, Maryland and Sonoma, California may be on opposite parts of the country  but are more similar than you might expect.  It was these similarities that drew us to the area (not to mention our love     of wine) and what made us decide to expand our business services on the West Coast and put down stakes in “real wine country”. Both areas offer rich agricultural history and take pride in small, family-owned farms and businesses passed down     through generations.

Sonoma Plaza and Downtown Bel Air are small, but thriving hubs of activities with restaurants, boutiques , government buildings, festivals and Farmer’s markets.  Sonoma County, California  and Harford County, Maryland are both rich with history and made up of small nearby towns and cities like Healdsburg, Glen Ellen, Petaluma, Sebastopol in California to Bel Air, Havre de Grace, Aberdeen in Maryland. It’s a quiet and safe place for families, where you know many of the people walking down the street and you do more than just wave and nod, you stop and catch up or reminisce and time stands still for just a moment.

These areas are in a state of metamorphous. The once quiet, rural and agricultural regions are being transformed. Sonoma is becoming a lifestyle destination and Harford a busting suburb supporting military growth as a result of Base Realignment and Closure.  However, with change, they retain their history and quaint charm that make people want to call it home.

We’re lucky that we can work and live in both locations.  We can truly call both places on either cost HOME!