The company I am working for this fall semester is a non-profit organization that is recently founded around 2020 and is in Manhattan, NY. The primary objective of the organization is to help small non-profit organizations. The organization does this by creating a website and releasing content to gather views and generate ad revenue. The revenue earned, over 50% of it will be donated to the other non-profit organizations based on the viewers’ and content creators’ choice. In addition, with them being recently founded they are currently working on getting reels and if possible asking celebrities to shout out that their organization exists to help other non-profit organizations, not through just money donations but something simple as a view can help!
I got the job! (And how I got it!)
I am a graphic designer/storyboarder in charge of creating post designs for social media, and creating storyboards for short animations for intros of reels the organization collected and will be uploaded to their website. When applying for interns, I was applying to 3-4 interns including the one I am currently working in now, and in addition, keep looking at the COMD Intern open lab for any interesting interns to apply for. I was extremely nervous and constantly in contact with Professor Nicolaou since there is a deadline on how long you have to get an intern, with the addition of waiting for the next few days for a response from the interviewers to get back to you on the application, it was quite nerve-wracking. In the next couple of days, I was able to get a meeting with one of the interns (Which is the one I am working in now), and surprisingly when meeting the interviewer/general manager of the organization says I am already accepted in and can start any time.
As we met we were discussing the task and the role I am to take which is to help them on their social media platform on gaining traffic and design posts that can attract more viewers/followers and create short and simple animations for video reels and ads. We also discussed what the work culture would be like and in addition the challenged and goals the organization is facing. The meeting lasted between 30 minutes to 1 hour, and it is quite insightful and in addition informative and helps me have a headstart on ideas and designs. Overall I am currently the first intern and hopefully, more interns will join so I can discuss their design ideas, criticisms, and insights!
On my first day, I got to talk to my supervisor at the beginning of my first day. The first obstacle to tackle and my task was to learn more about their organizations and make designs that are best suited for their message. But before I start on the designs my supervisor recommended I start out with something called the “Golden Circle”. My supervisor showed me a ted talk video that in order to make an effective ad design we need to make the consumer believe it will benefit themselves, in the circle we have the why in the middle, the what, and then the how. Usually, when it comes to ad design we need to start off with why (Why you exist, why are you here, what your purpose/cause) because it is the least clear question to answer, then the how (Explain what you have and what is the purpose of these products/services) and then lastly the what (Ask the viewers if they would like to have one product/services). I also learned that I shouldn’t start off with what (what we do), then how (how were different), and then why (why should the viewers buy their service/product) but the problem with this route is that it is common and boring for the consumers to hear, in addition, consumers don’t want to buy what you do, rather they would buy why you do it. Overall it was an eye-opening talk with the supervisor and got me thinking about designs that have the message that explains why the organization exists and how the organization work and lastly what the organizations offer to the consumers.
Work Work and More Work!
These next few days have been quite busy, I’ve started out with thumbnails sketches and been constantly in contact with the supervisor and a few other staff members in the organizations to get some insights on the designs. After a few of the thumbnail sketches have been selected I then started making rough sketches of these thumbnail sketches. In addition, while designing these ad designs for social media, I also needed to make sure some of the designs are separated so then the organization has assets they can use in the future or design ideas for future designers. Overall since the organization is still new, I was given the freedom of creative experimentation where I can experiment with different styles of art that can communicate with the viewers on social media. I went with a hand-drawn design because viewers can get tired of seeing the same old clean corporate line art. So the idea is that the hand-drawn designs give the appearance and the idea of “local” and the organizations some sort of personality when posting these designs, in addition, I needed to make sure that the designs I am making are sending the right messages and keeping them simple.
As a couple of weeks goes by things started to get a little bit hectic as I have to balance out my intern work and my school work. Luckily more interns just joined which hopefully will offload the work a bit. I got to meet up with the new interns that joined in and helped out by checking together and giving some insights on their designs. The supervisor grouped us all together so then we can communicate effectively and even set up a weekend meeting where were all available to help and be able to talk to each other about our designs and what needs fixing/changing. In addition to that meeting, it is also the place where we discuss our progress and the current status of each project, and the updates on the organization so far. Currently, I am still working on the design posts and I had about two design posts done and ready to be posted, and a refined storyboard that explains what the organization is about and how it works. It is quite busy because I have to work on these design posts, while also having to tackle multiple art projects and lastly, studying for a bio quiz that is on every Wednesday, but fortunately I am managing alright, and just gotta remember to pace myself and not to push myself too much over the edge when tackling these obstacles.
As a couple of more interns are joining in, my supervisor decided to make me a sort of subleader for the design team. He mentions that my task will be to keep every other design intern in contact and gather their works and files into a drive for the organizations to use, help the newer interns that just joined and give them a run down. In addition, contact other groups such as the social media team and discuss design insights they think would be effective for social media. Lastly, set up meetings and take charge of discussing the designs with other interns rather than the usual supervisor giving his insights I was tasked with this role because my supervisor said that I was the earliest intern that joined the organization and the one who the supervisor talked to the most and discussed on design insights and ideas that I can hand down to other interns to understand. I’ll admit, it may or may not be an easy task as I am also balancing this new role with my design role and also tackling the issue of communication and the best time to reach other designers. However, this is also quite exciting because I am not just learning to just design but am also learning to become a leader for the design interns and hopefully become a productive team!
Communication Communication Communication!
As my requirement hours are about nearing their end. Most of my projects are done with the addition of discovering that my rough sketches that are posted onto social media are attracting views and so my job in design is a bit more simplified where I make multiple rough sketches ideas that can be posted onto social media to interact with the viewers and to peek their interests to come and visit the organization’s website. As for my new role, I am quickly adjusting to it. I am constantly in contact with other interns and another department, it is a bit of a struggle because some of the people are in different time zones, and some have conflicting schedules while trying to find a meeting where we all can meet. So the idea was to make separate meetings if possible where the majority can meet, while the few who cannot join the meeting will be given notes/insights that are taken from the majority so then the minority is also in the loop on what is to be expected, what needs to be changed in the design and lastly making sure we’re all on the same track and pace.
Progress So Far!
So far I am done with all the projects and my requirement hours. I am planning to stay a bit longer in the organization as a volunteer for a couple of weeks but in shorter hours because I have more art projects that require my attention. I will be making a few more rough sketches for a new project that the organization is shifting to. Other designers will also be shifting to the specific projects, I will pretty much be on the sideline helping out other interns and giving them insights, and doing quality control checks. Make sure that the design is sending out the right messages and also fits with the project. I will also be continuing to maintain communication between other interns and try to be available on the phone where they will be able to contact me immediately and get a response back from me asap. Overall this whole internship has been quite an eye-opening experience and has been very helpful in letting me see what the real world is like for graphic designers.
(Image Source: https://cgherb.medium.com/the-working-hard-myth-85c73774b284)
As the design team is shifting their focus from one project to another, I’ve started up another couple of thumbnail sketches ideas on posts that could be put onto social media. In addition, I’ve also found a friend who had been waiting for an intern response for a while and so invited that friend to work under the organization that I am working in. And so I am currently dealing with working on design ideas, managing the design team when the supervisor is away. Make a weekly meeting with other designers so then the group can give insights on each other’s design and figure out what design needs to change or what can be improved on. Lastly, I am also tasked with helping my friend who is accepted to the organization’s internship and helping that friend on learning the ropes, what is to be expected, and helping the friend’s project and where to start.
(Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/90986854952684095/)
As I am wrapping up my required hours with just a few more hours and in addition to the semester some of my classes are requiring more of my attention. My supervisor suggested I just simply work creating more thumbnail sketches for future design interns to look through and have their own ideas they can start on when working for the organization’s internship program. In addition, my friend is slowly but surely adapting and settling down to the work environment and is starting to understand what is expected of my friend when working with the design team. I also helped my friend with ideas and a strategy called the “Golden Circle” where they will know where to start off on the designs. Lastly, I also helped my friend with some thumbnail sketches ideas and had the chance to meet with other design interns on our usual weekly meeting and as always and helped them get comfortable and reassure that we are all here to each other out on design ideas and give some criticisms and awareness on what designs that we think should be careful about.
I have finally completed my hours, in addition, I’ve gotten my timesheet signed with the addition of having my supervisor fill out my evaluation form and had it sent to my intern professor! I will continue to volunteer in the organization, but with shorter hours as the semester is becoming busier and busier and requires more of my attention. I continue to stay in contact with the design team and still continue to meet together weekly. It has been an extremely eye-opening work experience, in addition, I am grateful to work with a supervisor who is kind and encouraging, the supervisor has given the design team some freedom ins creativity with the addition of experimenting with different designs for the organization. Lastly, I enjoyed working with the design team as were all constantly communicating and helping each other out when were stuck on a design, with the addition of honest criticisms and insights so then we can improve and refined the designs we made to help the organization more effectively in social media!