The First Step Into My Career, #1
This is my last semester at City Tech and I did my best to set myself up for success before the Spring ‘22 semester began. In January I began applying to internships that were posted on the COMD internship coordination Openlab site and after about a week I was offered a position at a small privately owned print/design studio located in Brooklyn. This company is run out of the home office of my supervisor and the majority of her clients work in the restaurant industry. Most of the work she has shown me and her other interns consists of menus, menu boards, brochures, flyers, and printed promotions for restaurants, delis, and other eateries.
The president of the company has over 25 years of experience in the printing and graphic design industry and after hearing her talk with clients on the phone I can tell she has a great rapport with local businesses. People trust her judgment and know that she’ll work hard to get the job done right. I’m excited to work for her and already after working just one week under her guidance I’ve learned some new shortcuts and workflow tips within Adobe programs like InDesign and Illustrator. So far my responsibilities within the company consist of mocking up menu boards that will be printed and hung within restaurants and deliberating with the president about design choices and considering important things like hierarchy and aesthetic appeal. I look forward to building my design repertoire under the guidance of my supervisor.
Just Getting Started, #2
My role within the company I am interning at is graphic & motion designer. So far within my first two weeks there I have designed some menu boards, began putting together a digital animated menu for healthy juices, and mocked up a few logo ideas. All of these items are for the same restaurant client who is renovating their business and doing an overhaul on their identity. I work directly under the President of the company as she is the sole private owner. I came to select this internship opportunity because of the info that the NYCCT Internship Coordination site posted about it. The site also mentioned that my supervisor had worked directly with other COMD students in the past from City Tech so that was reassuring. I was fortunate in that I didn’t have to interview for the position and started working the first week of February.
Photo by monicore from Pexels
Workplace Culture When The Workplace Is Your Home, #3
The last two years of my academic career have been my most successful. This was a pleasant surprise because at first I wasn’t sure what to expect in a distance-learning or virtual synchronous workplace. At my internship we attend synchronous meetings over zoom during work hours to communicate about current projects, share work, get feedback, learn from each other, and listen to interactions between the clients and my supervisor.
The attire at my company is typically more informal which I feel is a pattern with interacting on zoom. I usually wear a button up long sleeve T shirt but as far as “workstation” goes everyone has their square on the screen that they fill up. Most of us typically use a simple virtual background or a blur effect which is also common in my classes and meetings online. My coworkers and I are typically online for the entirety of work hours but our supervisor is very understanding when it comes time for us to step away and/or go get something to eat. Most of us work 2-3 days with the company throughout the week with slightly varying hours.
Utilizing My Skills and My Day to Day, #4
My areas of concentration at City Tech are motion graphics and advertising. This aligns perfectly with my most recent project at my internship. I’m learning how to create animated menu signs for a restaurant that wants to display their menu across three televisions. I’m also learning about the cost of producing the work that we design. For example, there are costs to installing those television screens, extra costs for certain software to display the videos simultaneously and on a loop. If we were to design flyers and our company took care of designing them, getting them printed and mailing them out we could provide that service, but all of those variables add to the cost of the project. We take that into account when presenting options for the client in regards to their budget and their requests.
I’m not personally performing any clerical duties. Occasionally, I’ll hear my supervisor talk about following up on invoices with clients or reminding returning clients that her prices have gone up since she last helped them years ago. Some of her clients have been returning to her for over 15 years. My typical day starts in the morning on a Zoom call. I’ll join and be accompanied by one to three other interns with our supervisor. After exchanging greetings my supervisor assigns us all projects. Generally, her clients want a lot of things done at once whether they’re rebranding, or redesigning their business, so we all share responsibilities on these larger projects. We work away on these assignments, sharing when we need critique or feedback, giving updates with progress. When work is finished and approved we submit it to the shared Dropbox. My supervisor requires us all to be available and present during work hours but she is flexible with us needing to step away or leave early or go take a break when we need to, so long as we’re getting the work done.
Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash
Collaboration and Elaboration, #5
One example of a collaborative project I worked on during this internship would be an animated menu to be displayed on screens for a restaurant. Each member of my team was tasked with creating different sections but they all had to look cohesive. There were four total members working on this project and we each animated different parts of the menu. The first step was to use Adobe Illustrator to layout the menu before animating it. After we all shared our still designs we agreed on a cohesive design language like a color palette, typeface choices, and the kind of images/videos we would use. It took about a week to get our animations finished. Overall the execution was successful but we had to go back and make some edits to make our animation style match each others’. For example my initial animation included mostly fade transitions whereas one of my coworkers’ created illustrative solid shape wipes. I enjoyed working together on this assignment because we were all pretty open to feedback and willing to teach each other things we didn’t know how to do on programs like Adobe After Effects. I was happy to elaborate what my creative process and animation workflow was like.
A Self Evaluation, #6
My team was tasked with creating uniform T-shirts for a local marching band that our company supervisor is a supporter of. Our design deliverable(s) had to be a maximum of 3 colors because the shirts were being screen printed. One of the core values of the marching band is that it represents the LGBTQ+ community, and their motto for this year’s performance was “Unstoppable!” so that word needed to be prominent in the design(s).
In my four executions I tried different takes on what represents a marching band. I used symbolism in the form of banner carriers and drum imagery. My designs were four out of 23 total design submissions and unfortunately It wasn’t mine that was chosen but I got a personal message later on from my supervisor saying that she loved my designs.
I struggled for a short while on the execution of this project because of the tight deadline but still came out at the end with a few different original designs. Overall I would say I succeeded in solving the problem I was faced with but the winning design had a more clever design engrained with sheet music visuals, which brought the design of the shirt closer to the marching band members.
Mentorship and Looking Ahead, #7
I attended the internship from home while working remotely and synchronously with my supervisor. I consider her a role model and a mentor. She’s got over twenty five years of experience in the design industry and I admire the business and network that she’s built for herself. She knows a lot about the front and backend of physical media production like signs from conception, to pricing, to outsourcing materials and installation. Everyone who calls her admires her work and has mostly been a return client who speaks to her like a friend. I aim to be a designer who people enjoy working with and would consider returning to for the quality of my work and communication.
This week my supervisor expressed interest in me staying on after the length of my internship to work for her company as her digital content producer. I’m excited to continue to work with this company and learn about the ins and outs of the industry. Mostly, I’d like to learn more about client interaction, project pricing, and the process behind real life implementation/installation of the design work that we produce.
Photo by Joe Parkin on Unsplash
Modern Menus, #8
Over the course of my internship I’ve been tasked with creating animated digital menus that would exist on television screens throughout the clients’ restaurants and stores. For one of the bigger projects I was tasked with animating one specific section of the menu which was the fresh pressed juice section. The overall tone and mood of my design execution was already based on the design language that my team and I collaborated on. We had a specific set of typefaces and background images that we used so that all of the designs felt cohesive within the client’s business. We all used the same high contrast typeface with a chalkboard textured background and colored typefaces that matched the products they were advertising.
Here are a few stills of the animated menus and motion graphics that I’ve created.
Projects: A Pizzeria in Queens, #9
There was one client that requested more work than any of the others during my time at my internship. Over the course of my internship I collaborated with my team on different print menu board designs, animated menus that would play on loop on television screens, potential new logo designs, merchandise, and other print designs to be used throughout the restaurant. This client was expanding their business and generally had quick turn around times and approval on our designs with not too many rounds of revision. It was a great experience to create designs for them and it felt incredibly rewarding to see our work printed and on the walls of the business.
Reflection on the Internship Experience, #10
I was able to start my internship for Spring 2022 very early on in the semester and overall I was incredibly happy with my experience there. I attended synchronous zoom meetings on Tuesday and Thursday and every day my team and I had different tasks to complete from multiple clients. Our supervisor generally delegated which projects went to which interns based on our specialized interests and skill sets, but we also collaborated on multiple projects as well.
I’m incredibly happy with the experience I had and gained during my time with the company. The internship helped me learn to communicate effectively with my team so that we could all improve upon our designs together, and present designs to our clients that shared a visual design language. My supervisor asked me to stay on her team as a paid employee where I’ll continue to design for their clients and be their social media coordinator.
COMD 4900 Internship Final Presentation
Ethics Entry #1
1) The first journal entry will discuss their experience at the internship related to the ethical guidelines discussed in the AIGA guide.
a) They are to discuss how the design work they are doing handles sourcing of images and the company’s trademarks & logos.
Most of the imagery and visuals our team produces are our own. If we ever need photographs or video content our company has a premium membership to a stock asset website. We also use royalty free images when designing. We’ve been tasked with creating new logos for clients as well but as of yet nothing has been selected for final approval.
Prior to reading the AIGI guide to Use of Illustration I didn’t know that original artwork can’t be edited or changed without the original artist’s approval. Doing so is considered creating derivative work from copyrighted material which is a violation of federal law. I also learned that the copyright is owned by the original artist and the work is protected for the length of the artist’s lifetime plus an additional 70 years.
b) It will also discuss if they had to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement for their internship site and how they have handled that with regard to their internship journal for this class.
I wasn’t asked to sign a confidentiality agreement or NDA at my internship. As for my journals, I am keeping all specific companies, brands, and names out of the entry. I can confidently discuss the work that I do without disclosing specifics because it’s the content that matters more than the context.
Ethics Entry #2
2) In the second journal entry assignment students will write about whether or not the readings they’ve been assigned have changed their perspective on their own design work.
a) Students are to reflect on whether, in the past, they have used another’s creative work and how have they given that artist credit?
I’ve used others’ photographs before in some designs. For example I used a photograph of the New York City skyline in one of my design submissions for City Tech’s 82nd graduation commencement booklet cover. The design wasn’t chosen but I credited the photographer in my submission. After reading through the AIGI guide to Use of Photography I feel I should’ve contacted the photographer for permission to use their photograph even though I wasn’t profiting from use of the image.
b) Students are to give their opinion of the arguments and outcome of the Fairey Copyright case.
The Shepard Fairey case is a complicated one. Reading about this makes me want to better understand the details of fair use and make sure I never end up in a situation like that. I think Fairey shouldn’t have tried to cover up his mistakes and lie about the reference photos he used. Dragging out the case may have cost him more time on probation or added to his fine.