Team Communications #9

A shot of the bridge in DUMBO, before a team event held at Soho House. Captured by Angela Alvarez on iPhone, April 2023.
A shot of the bridge in DUMBO, before a team event held at Soho House. Captured by Angela Alvarez on iPhone, April 2023.

As we reach our final weeks in the internship, many meetings are being held between us interns and our supervisor, along as an entire group. Overall, team communications have had their ups and downs, but I am glad to say that in these final weeks, everyone is on a similar page for where they are at, what they’ve learned and how they can move on once the internship is over.

We utilized multiple channels and tools for our team communications, which is what helped many of us stay on track with where everyone is at. Our main channel sources of communication were WhatsApp groups, Google emails / chat / meet, and direct phone calls / messaging. Having all of these channels allowed me to always maintain contact with my supervisor for the progress on what I was working on, and to always have the chance to ask any questions or concerns. In some working environments, it can be really difficult to contact supervisors beyond phone calls, which of course, cannot always be the main source of communication. As we are students, we are also dealing with specific class hours that limit us from always having the chance to speak on the phone. Therefore, being able to send a message to my supervisor directly on Google chat gave both of us time to come to a conclusion based on each particular matter.

As a team, we used Google meets and calendar in order to keep track of our meetings, which ran both weekly and bi-weekly. WhatsApp is a global phone friendly app that connects us all, whether we have Androids, iPhones or otherwise. When supervisors send out messages to the entire team, the interns are expected to acknowledge it, whether it is through a text or emoji response (thumbs up to agree). When it comes to working in internships, it is very important to establish these bounds of what supervisors and their interns expect when they work together, because it helps to prevent any misinterpretations. If certain boundaries and expectations are not set in time, then it can cause a domino effect and create an unhealthy working environment. Overall, because we prioritized communication tactics across the whole team, we were able to successfully work with one another throughout the weeks of the internship.

Pop-up Project, #8

Throughout this internship, I have been working on various projects, with most of it being backend and minute front-end detailing throughout the entire website. In terms of designing content, I have successfully completed some landing pages and main website content, such as the pop-up design for Women’s History Month.

Since our business is women-owned, the supervisor wanted me to design a pop-up for new visitors to the site, with a large discount in celebration of women.

The main color scheme that the site uses is chartreuse, black and white, but in the brand guidelines document there is an allowance for the use of a light and dark gray that resembles a pastel purple appearance. These colors were perfect for the pop-up design, in order to make it stand out just a bit from the original theme. Additionally, I incorporated the naturalistic waves that appear throughout the whole website to appear in the pop-up, too. Keeping a consistent flow of designs was crucial to the supervisors, but I had some flexibility in terms of design outlining.

Pop-up design for women's history month, designed by Angela Alvarez for hustle + flo co.
Pop-up design for women’s history month, designed by Angela Alvarez, 2023 for hustle + flo co.

One of the challenges I faced was choosing the right image that created the persona that we wanted to convey. We did not want to use stock photography, so we had to work with the images that we had, which were quite a range of different environments and people. Jamie, the supervisor, is the face of the brand, so it made sense for us to use an image of her on a background that contrasted well with the gray/purple tones of the waves. Some images were cropped due to being vertical, so I had to utilize Photoshop in order to add extra bricks in the background with the clone and blending tools.

When users see this pop-up, they are met with Jamie’s signature quote, and an incentive to sign up for email newsletters in order to get a percentage off their next purchase.

Mentor Mindset, #7

Taken near the Queensboro Bridge in Manhattan by Angela Alvarez, 2023. A red tramway heading to Roosevelt Island glides along the lines above the bridge, on a cloudy day.
Taken near the Queensboro Bridge in Manhattan by Angela Alvarez, 2023. A red tramway heading to Roosevelt Island glides along the lines above the bridge, on a cloudy day.

From the beginning of the internship, I definitely can say that I have considered my supervisor to be a role model because of her role and everything that led her to where she is today. The company is barely two years old and she founded it and continues to do her very best, day and night, to continue building it and spreading the mission of bringing a community who appreciates wellness and lifestyle altogether. From day one we all witnessed the story and the business’s mission, and she mentions spending time on it almost every single day of the week. Owning a business is not easy, and the biggest issue is the finances, which is why I am glad that our internships with CUNY Spring Forward is being funded by the Research Foundation, so we aren’t taking away from the small businesses and leaving an important impact to help them to the next stage. Even though we are all interns, of course, our small contributions will make a long-lasting impact that I hope can bring more business and positivity to h+f.

I actually did not exactly understand or look into mentorship until now, in my final, senior year of college. While I did have my sister, brother-in-law, and mother who are all educators / work in education, I never approached a mentor who would be impartial to any family-related dynamics and I could ask for advice. Since I did not know that they existed until my final year, I wonder how the system could be changed to improve mentorship for students like me who slipped through the cracks. I understand that we have advisors, but when I transferred here I was not assigned one until end of junior year, whom I never fully communicated with either. I think if students in college could have accessible mentors, it would sharply improve the outcomes of graduation and continuing education into grad school and beyond.

In the workplace, also having a sort of role model or mentor from someone in a higher position could be really useful because they have spent so many years working in their position and learning, so it can assist you in your journey whether you choose to follow in their position or otherwise. Even if I don’t work at this business beyond the internship deadlines, I am happy to say that I can apply everything that the supervisor has shown me, and that learning experience can be applied to so many business opportunities in the future, even if I choose to start my own business up as well. Networking in general is such an important aspect of the working world, and new doors often can open up when you make the right connections.

Self Evaluation, #6

Shot taken by Angela Alvarez, 2023, from the window of a moving Metro North train, on a bridge casted with the sunlight.
Shot taken by Angela Alvarez, 2023, from the window of a moving Metro North train, on a bridge casted with the sunlight.

So far in my internship, I am beginning to move at a really fast pace, which brings me to reminiscence of my time spent at my job at the Apollo Theater in high school. I was on a small team of 10 students divided into different categories, where it was very fast paced and we were responsible for our divisions in performances such as Amateur Night and Final Production. In my current internship at h+f, I feel like I am applying my past experiences in fast-paced environments in order to move along with my tasks. There are so many different parts of the brand to work on, from the website, integrations for email marketing and other visuals that are displayed to consumers and users. I am getting along great with the team, especially because of the fact that it is hybrid, so everyone can have their combination of independent and collaborative work, which I think is a successful tactic to utilize. Even though the schedule is flexible on the days that I am available, I keep a consistent account of hours and time spent working, both in person and remotely. The workplace feels really inviting and comfortable, so I am able to go to my supervisor and/or coworkers if I am in need of any assistance or need some clarity on an assignment or task at hand.

Having an inviting workplace like this helps with those like me who may be more on the introverted side who can get overwhelmed. Since the team is small and there is lots of flexibility on where to work, I feel more motivated while working, which boosts efficiency.

Lastly, going back to some of the beginning days of the internship, all of the interns were tasked with discovering their personality types on 16 Personalities, which was very fun and informative. Not only did I discover my personality type (Advocate), but also everyone else’s on the team, which helps me to understand my strengths and weaknesses and how I can better understand everyone else on the team without making subconscious assumptions. Some of us are on the introverted side and others on the extraverted side, but we all have qualities that link us in one way or another.

Ethics in Graphic Design 2B

The image is engulfed with the lights of hundreds of windows from the buildings surrounding a public seating space in Midtown East, captured by Angela Alvarez, 2023.
The image is engulfed with the lights of hundreds of windows from the buildings surrounding a public seating space in Midtown East, captured by Angela Alvarez, 2023.

After reading about the Fairey Copyright Case, it was shocking to see the dispute that occurred over the use of Garcia’s AP photograph submission to create a presidential campaign poster. This case definitely seems complicated especially at the time of its origination, when photography was beginning to rapidly advance to DSLRs and art was being shared to online mediums. Even though Fairey’s understanding was that he was utilizing the photograph in a fair nature and new, creative, way, it really boils down to the time if courts were able to determine the legitimacy of cases like these over the importance of copyright, as reflected in the “Case Study on Fair Use and Fair Dealing: The Hope Poster Litigation.

Based on The New York Times article, “Shepard Fairey Is Fined and Sentenced to Probation in ‘Hope’ Poster Case“, the explanation of the case ends with a statement by Gary Pruitt that says: “We hope this case will serve as a clear reminder to all of the importance of fair compensation for those who gather and produce original news content” (NYT). Though this case blew up to the proportion that it did, it also raises this point that Pruitt says about truly just and fair compensation for those affected by copyright. It is important for designers to attach appropriate copyrights to their work, especially now in a digital age that we share our designs online for the world to see. AIGA’s “Guide to Copyright” discusses the use of copyrights, such as registering creative work and designs, in addition to the natural copyright that exists in the creation. As AIGA’s reading emphasizes, having a registration of a design allows for the record and entitlement of damages and fees in the case of claims such as infringement of work. Across all fields of the law, having an official paper trail can be very helpful in the long run, especially in the case of an unfortunate lawsuit that can happen, just like the ‘Hope’ Poster case.


“Reflections on the Hope Poster Case,” 25 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 244 (2012).

“Shepard Fairey Is Fined and Sentenced to Probation in ‘Hope’ Poster Case,” The New York Times, (2012), New York City; Randy Kennedy.

“Guide to Copyright” AIGA. (2009). PDF. New York City; Tad Crawford, AIGA.

Ethics in Graphic Design 2A

A shot of one of the Harvard University dining halls, by Angela Alvarez, 2023. Dozens of tables are aligned with chandeliers floating above them.
A shot of one of the Harvard University dining halls, by Angela Alvarez, 2023. Dozens of tables are aligned with chandeliers floating above them.

The readings that were assigned to us for this internship class have definitely opened my eyes in the understanding of ethical perspectives, concepts, self-awareness and other issues. All of these aspects allow me, as a designer, to apply the values of ethics not only in the workplace but in the brand that I extend and build for myself. In all of these years of academic education, I have learned the principles of the importance of copyright from the early years, taking creative classes in high school. When giving presentations for class projects, it was always important to have references to the imagery that was used from online sources, even down to the elements or presentation templates. I was able to apply this knowledge to all of my college courses as well, and reading up on the detailed logistics and reflections of ethics in graphic design expanded on these understandings.

In terms of giving artistic credit, it is important to acknowledge laws such as the 1976 Copyright Act, explained by AIGA’s “Use of Illustration” (p50) reading that highlights use of art by illustrators. As supported by the reading, original artwork always belongs to the creator/illustrator from the moment it is created. Even if buyers purchase an artwork for use, the creator of the artwork remains as the owner, and any changes made to it must be done by themselves with permission. This same rule applies to photography, as highlighted by Sara Hawkin’s article “Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images”. It is important for designers and other creatives to understand the meaning of terms such as “fair use”, and “Digital Millennium Copyright Act”, which are some of the many aspects of understanding the use of work and copyright rulings.

An online childhood game that I loved, Club Penguin, was owned and shut down by Disney in 2017. During this time, dozens of “private servers” were created by individuals to completely replicate the game and “revive” it for the millions of users who played the original. One of them was recently shut down due to this being copyright infringement, even though the original game shut down years ago, Disney is still actively pursuing cases of those trying to revive the game. You can read more about it here on Wikipedia, “Club Penguin Rewritten”.


“Use of Illustration”, AIGA, (2009), New York City; Brad Holland et al.

“Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images : Social Media Examiner” Social Media Examiner, (2019), Sara Hawkins.

Ethics in Graphic Design 1B

A view of the brick buildings surrounding the train station near Angela’s internship workplace. The sun casts over the building, causing it to glow beyond the shadows of the station. Shot by Angela Alvarez, 2023.

1B) At the beginning of the internship where I was filing paperwork, I indeed did have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) which is why I am using certain omitted language and hypotheticals when referring to use of platforms and projects. It is important for the business to have a transparent image but also, for safety reasons, I feel like it is indeed necessary to have an NDA especially when working with sales products and a tricky industry such as the one we are in – CBD. When it comes to social media or online posts, we have to be careful about what we post in order to prevent ourselves from being flagged due to the use of certain keywords. Any other internal projects I do not discuss as well, in adherence to the NDA, and to follow the best company standards, just like discussed in AIGA’s “A Client’s Guide to Design: How to Get the Most Out of the Process” (p33). It is important to acquaint oneself with the business that they are working for and in order to act in their best professional responsibility, and to prevent any conflicts of interest due to negligence.

The signing of the NDA was very important to be aware of, and thus I have applied such importance to the journal entries for this internship class. Not only do I not want to carelessly post important private information, but I also want to create the best image for the brand. As an intern who is new to this industry and has no prior knowledge, I am not as experienced in the laws of communicating about CBD products, but I do have experience in the aspect of attaining wellness and being a part of programs and communities that reach to spread wellness in lifestyles.

The Design, Photo and Apple Geek – Melissa Wolowicz’s “Ethical Issues in the Graphic Design Business” raises some points on taking on the work with a business that you align with as a graphic designer. “If a designer does not agree with [the company’s beliefs], then he/she should not take on the work.” (Wolowicz). Growing up in my household, there was a strict stigma about products stemming from the hemp plant used to make CBD, which is actually not the compound that causes a “high”. Due to our lack of knowledge, we associated them all to be used for reckless purposes, though that was not the case. When my father was suffering from cancer in his final years, I realized there were so many other purposes to the plant that provided medical assistance to those who had no other alternatives. In his memory, I took on this work with this company, not only to educate myself, but to spread the message that these products are to be used as alternatives methods of relief for those who suffer from a variety of ailments, and for those who seek community in this overwhelming city. This was a difficult decision because I was not sure where my ethical and moral standards were on the topic, but I am so grateful that I chose it because it taught me everything that I did not believe beforehand.

Being a graphic designer and part of this business means that I am taking part in a movement for ethical change in a nation that still heavily opposes the use of CBD products for medical and wellness purposes. I know that even prior to the time of my father’s suffering, there were thousands of others just like him who did not find relief in harsh treatments like chemotherapy, and did not have access to alternative reliefs such as CBD oils. Being a part of this, like Wolowicz says, means that what I create is a message for an audience, and especially for our progressing nation.


“A Client’s Guide to Design: How to Get the Most Out of the Process” AIGA. (2009). PDF. New York City; Joanne Stone et al.

“Ethical Issues in the Graphic Design Business” The Design, Photo and Apple Geek. (2011). Melissa Wolowicz.

Ethics in Graphic Design 1A

A shot on a footpath in Manhattan, looking over the fence onto the busy street with cars driving. Dimly lit buildings line the foggy streets. Shot by Angela Alvarez.
A shot on a footpath in Manhattan, looking over the fence onto the busy street with cars driving. Dimly lit buildings line the foggy streets. Shot by Angela Alvarez, 2023.

1A) It is very important for designers to understand and adhere to the guidelines of ethical reasoning and perspectives. As a student partaking in the CUNY Research Foundation’s Spring Forward internship program, my responsibilities and experiences lie between both the foundation and the business I have been chosen to work with, hustle + flo. From day one, there has been a streamlined application process with accessible formats to communicate with administration, from transcribed zoom calls, to recordings, email and text communications. From there on, we were given clear visual, audio and textual directions on our next steps, streamlined in digital formats shared through email. We had submitted both our personal and school emails, so communications were addressed to both to prevent any missed communications.

Within the business I am working with, the images that I have worked with for my assignments have been the property of hustle + flo co, in private photoshoots they had commissioned artists for. These photographs include the CEO, products that are sold on the website, the origins of the cbd products (farmlands in NY), and photos of the team holding the products for lifestyle. When testing designs, I was advised to also utilize Unsplash’s free stock images with proper attribution credits. AIGA’s “Use of Photography” (p93) emphasizes the point of using photography with notice of credentials, such as placing copyright adjacent to used imagery based on the stock agency’s appropriate licensing agreement. While I did search Unsplash stock images and placed them in some of the temporary design mock-ups, we decided to go with our own branded imagery to best represent our vision and message. This action also prevents the small risk of copyrighted content that may have been unknowingly placed on Unsplash, which is free for all users to submit content. Though, like mentioned in AIGA’s “Guide to Copyright” (p85), having content acquired through “work-for-hire” can be problematic. From what I’ve observed, though, the photographer in charge of the brand’s images had a written contract that allows both parties to be protected.

As for the use of content such as trademark and logos, our business has a dedicated folder on platforms such as: Canva, Dropbox and Google Drive for document sharing. This is important and very useful that the assets are shared across multiple channels, so they are always accessible if needed, along with us downloading the asset folders on our computers. When designing on platforms such as Canva, I take advantage of the folder there, for seamless placements of content in designs such as for social media posts or other mock-ups. As for the logo, we have a dedicated folder for a black text version of the company title and a white text version, both versions allow for easy use on a range of backgrounds, be they images or solid colors. I was able to experiment with design mock-ups using both asset versions, which saved me a lot of time of attempting to edit it into the inverse color. The entire brand has a thorough workbook of guidelines tailoring to h + f, and the design principles that it must follow in its work and portrayal across media channels. From a limited specific range of theme colors, to the UI of text ranging from titles to paragraphs, to the specific typefaces that are permitted to represent the brand, and more. All of these key elements are important to keep the brand consistent, which is one of its core values: transparency and consistency.


“Use of Photography” AIGA. (2009). PDF. New York City; Tad Crawford, AIGA.

“Guide to Copyright” AIGA. (2009). PDF. New York City; Tad Crawford, AIGA.

Communication & Collaboration, #5

Shot of a skyline at night on a bridge in Brooklyn, by Angela Alvarez.
Shot of a skyline at night on a bridge in Brooklyn, by Angela Alvarez, 2023.

In my very second assigned task week in the internship, I was responsible for redesigning a pop-up for the website. Though this assignment was solely tasked to me, I utilized the importance of communication and collaboration in order to get the best results. The original pop-up was a form that encouraged consumers to sign up and get a percentage off of their purchase, along with signing up for newsletter emails.

Communication was really important in this task so I can truly understand what the brand stands for and wants to represent in their marketing through elements such as pop-up boxes on the landing page. The main person that I collaborated with was my supervisor, who is the leading face of the company. I walked through the entire process with her, where we both contributed to the task at hand. She showed me the platforms that the forms are on, and details such as a timer set for the pop-up to appear on certain devices. On my end, I came up with 12 different designs that ranged in two color schemes that the brand guidelines follow. This task meant that I had to show her my sketches that I came up with, and from her expertise, which ones she thought would best represent the company. From there on, I produced more designs and walked through the displayed copy to make sure that her voice in the message felt authentic and welcoming for incoming consumers. Communicating in person really worked for this task, because I was able to conduct her vision in live-time and show it to her, where she had suggested minor changes by simply pointing to the screen.

Overall during the end of week meeting, I had boiled the design down to 2-3 options, where I felt like it was necessary to have the rest of the team chime in for their best opinion. This was really helpful to be able to get insight from other minds who were seeing the design for the first time, rather than me since I was working on the project the entire week. What ended up happening was that the images of her did not feel quite right, and that is why it is so important to be a fast thinker and worker. The leaders pulled up some additional photographs from an external source, where I then imported it into the design for a final appearance.

I learned a lot in this past week, from the importance of communication and collaboration, to the importance of iterations and working through designs. It helped me so much to be able to hear feedback from fellow teammates who were seeing the design for the first time and could output their first thoughts. But additionally, it was so important for me to come up with different iterations of the design to allow for options to be had. Sometimes seeing two completely designs that may not feel right could lead to a third design that has all of the necessary elements to effectively solve the problem at hand and create the best vision for the company.

This collaborative project was very successful, and now, first-time consumers who are interested in a wellness and lifestyle journey will be greeted by an introductory pop-up that highlights women’s history month and a promotion for users who input their name and email address.

A Learning Experience, #4

Black and white image of a collection of residential buildings and urban architecture on a NYC street block, captured by Angela Alvarez.
B/W Image of urban architecture on a street block, captured by Angela Alvarez.


At my internship, we are working on building the wellness and lifestyle aspect of the business, which also has a focus on CBD products. In my position that focuses on Marketing and Analytics in Advertising, I am taking responsibility for utilizing my web, UX and UI skills. In my second day I was able to apply what I’ve learned from taking web courses in Communication Design, such as conducting website, desktop and mobile audits and analyzing visual web elements. For now, the tasks I am assigned are entirely focused on that aspect, but I have mentioned availability for any other necessary tasks. I am learning a lot about the business and the products, a lot of which I was unfamiliar with and may have held unconscious bias on.


A note that was mentioned during the interview stage of my internship was that this place of employment is intent on helping the interns/students grow in their respective fields. As a result, I will be getting to learn more about web, UX and UI and understanding the consumer audience from a creative business perspective. Over time, there will also be campaigns that will be taken through social media and visual platforms. There are 5 of us interns and all of us have our respective assigned roles, but I foresee collaboration occurring since, like I mentioned before, it is a very small business environment where all of our individual contributions work towards the desired end goal.


Lastly to note, though all five interns have our own respective title roles, we won’t necessarily be committing to one type of task throughout the entire internship. Week by week, the days may appear differently and we won’t be stagnant on one thing the entire time. There are plenty of opportunities for flexibility with work, whether it is in scheduling, collaboration, or task-based, as long as we stick to the overarching goals that are projected in the entire 10 week internship timeline, 15 hours per week. It is a good testament to building on our time management and communication skills in order to proceed with an uplifting, positive atmosphere and place of work.