My Ending at Captiv8

As soon as I had completed working one hundred hours, I emailed my evaluation to Juan. I only had a few more days left before I was completely finished with my internship so I wanted to be sure that I ended things on a good foot. During the time that I sent Juan my evaluation and my final day at Captiv8, I made sure that I reminded him about my evaluation. When my last day had finally arrived, Juan had my evaluation and time sheet ready for me. To my surprise, Juan decided to discuss my evaluation with me in detail. After all my work was complete and I had submitted everything, we went to the conference room for our discussion. Juan went over each category with me and explained why he rated me an ‘Excellent’ in everything. The only category that I did not receive an ‘Excellent’ in was ‘Intern’s Use of Time’. I received a ‘Very Good’ in that category. Juan explained to me that I did take longer doing some things than I should have. This was my first internship that my employer ever told me that. I usually work very quickly and am used to people telling me that. I suppose that it was different in this case because I wanted to make everything as perfect as possible.

I have learned a few things from working at Captiv8. I was an intern and I started at the very bottom. I learned that making mistakes is okay because accepting help and taking constructive criticism from the higher-ups are important in making you’re internship a successful one and doing great work. I also learned that timing is essential, especially in my field and learning as many shortcuts and being an efficient worker makes doing assignments go by even quicker. What you do with your time at the office is up to you and that’s why you should be making the most of it. Lastly, I learned that articulating your ideas and decisions is critical especially in the workplace. Since it’s unlikely that you will only be speaking to the person you are working with or directly working for, it is vital that you know how to answer any questions that come your way.

These are just a few designs I did while at Captiv8:

Download (PDF, 149KB)




Wall Decal

The last project that I worked on at Captiv8 was the typographic wall decal to be placed in the design department. I worked on this project on and off for about two weeks. The owner of Captiv8, Larry, decided that he wanted something to spruce up the office and give clients something beautiful to look at when they first walk in. I was given an example of a typographic wall decal that Larry found online and told to mimic it and just change a few words. However, after I received more instructions, details, and advice on how to make this wall decal better, I realized that by the time I was finished with it, I had made it my own. Larry was also surprised and did not expect to see nearly that many changes. My last day at Captiv8, I finished the wall decal. Since I left before the order for the wall decal was put in, I never got to see the final product. Juan assured me that once the wall decal was put up, he would take pictures and send it to me. He said he would also do the same for me with the other projects I worked on throughout my time there.

The template I was told to follow:          This is my final version:



T-Shirt Designs

Before my internship here at Captiv8, I had never really designed t-shirts. However, I got a lot of practice. I designed t-shirts for Virginia Tech, Mary Helen Guest, Berkman and Shapiro Orthodontics, Chatsworth Avenue School, and for a bachelorette party. While designing these t-shirts, I noticed that I continued to make the same mistake over and over again – I kept making my designs too large! Juan explained to me that the printing area for t-shirts is usually ten inches wide by twelve inches long and that it was best for me to do my designs in an Illustrator document that size and paste it as a smart object in Photoshop on our mockup templates (using layer comps of course). Using smart objects is best because it eliminates having to save the illustrator file. Once you double click on the Vector Smart Object layer in your Photoshop file, it will open anywhere at anytime. I had dabbled with smart objects in my previous internship but I really got into it here at Captiv8. Not all t-shirt designs had to be taken into Photoshop to be mocked up on templates. This would only happen if the client provided us with specific shirts that they wanted and if the design was simple and straight-forward like the shirts for Chatsworth Avenue School.

I would say that my favorite t-shirt designs were the ones that I created for Mary Helen Guest. This was not the first time that they came to Captiv8 for shirt designs. In fact, as far as I know, every client that I did work for were all returning clients. I enjoyed doing Mary Helen Guest’s t-shirts because they wanted something fun, athletic, and that stood for school pride. After I finished my designs I sent them to Mary Helen Guest. I didn’t even realize but my job with them was not over. They approved my designs and since they only wanted to print in two colors, I had to change the colors I used according to their instructions. After that I made sure to outline all of strokes and create outlines for my typography. This way they will always have the fonts to work with and can scale the image to any size without losing the proportions.

Below are the final t-shirt Designs for Mary Helen Guest:

mary-helen-guest-tshirts-mk_0003_layer-comp-4   mary-helen-guest-tshirts-mk_0005_layer-comp-6

mary-helen-guest-tshirts-mk_0002_layer-comp-3   mary-helen-guest-tshirts-mk_0004_layer-comp-5

The Importance of Mockups

As I’ve said before, one of the most important things that I’ve done at my internship at Captiv8 is mockups. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t do them. On some days, I would do mockups for one company or many different ones. Other times I would do a variety of a lot of mockups for one or two companies. In fact, this was the first thing that Juan taught me to do when I began there.

Now doing mockups isn’t something complicated and we’ve all done them before. However, I was taught to do them the Captiv8 way. I learned more efficient ways to edit photos in Photoshop, which came in handy because not all of the mockups that I was provided with were free of watermarks and unwanted labeling. Another very important thing I learned about was layer comps. Before this, I had never even heard of layer comps. If you aren’t familiar with layer comps, they can be described as multiple versions of a layout in one Photoshop file. You can create, manage, and view these layouts once you’ve saved each layer comp individually. Layer comps record a few different types of layer options. They are the layer visibility, position, and appearance.

One other very useful thing I got out of doing mockups is the various mockup sources. You see, clients want their logos and company branding mocked up on all sorts of objects and apparel. Every time, I received an email assigned to do a mockup, I would make a note of it for future reference. This is a list of the websites that you can also use for mockups:

Using the images from these websites as mockups is beneficial because there are high resolution images for you to download, artwork guidelines, size and templates for you to download, and color instructions for printing.


On my most recent day at work, Juan and I had a chat in the conference room. He asked me how I felt I was doing and if I felt I was lacking in anything. I told him that I felt fine and there wasn’t a thing I was lacking in. He told me that he and Michael felt that I could be working faster and I do agree.

I think that the reason I do not work as fast as I possibly could is because maybe I’m nervous of messing up. I feel like I could be doing a lot better and yet I’m not. What makes the situation worse for me is that Juan is extremely patient  and a great teacher, unlike I’ve ever had before. I’m taking away a lot of skills from by interning at Captiv8 but I’m afraid that I’m not doing enough for them.

My First Collab

While I have creative freedom on projects, I work alone on them. Juan goes over most assignments with me to make sure I fully understand what is being asked and what the client expects from us. I usually don’t ever work with anyone else. However, one day I came into work and Michael had a new assignment for me. It was actually the first time that Michael had assigned something to me.

My job was to take product shots and clean them up so they’d be ready to upload for our Portfolio on the website. I shot pictures of about forty hats using the DSLR in the little studio set up we have. Michael showed me what sort of shots to take depending on the style and design of hat. After I finished taking all of the necessary photos, I uploaded them to my computer. Before I began the retouching phase, Juan showed me how he goes about doing this sort of thing. After I finished at the end of the day, I waited for Michael to approve them.

The following day, Michael pointed out to me that some of the hats needed to be redone because they didn’t match the ones already on the website and everything needed to be consistent. He then showed me his techniques and how he goes about editing in Photoshop. Once I began following his ways, I realized I liked it so much better than the way I had originally gone about doing it. Not only did I finish faster, it produced cleaner and more accurate results. Michael approved these almost right away. Now all we’re waiting on is Larry’s approval so they can be put online along with the other products that Captiv8 has proudly designed. Once Larry has given the okay on these hats, we can get started on other products.

Here is the link to Captiv8Promotions Portfolio. Check it out:

Here are a few of hats I worked on:



hat_0000_layer-comp-1       hat_0013_layer-comp-14 hat5

First Day on the Job

Although I was told not to show up until 10 a.m. for work, I was about a half hour early my first three days when I began working at Captiv8 Promotions. Juan showed me around the office, introduced me to everyone, and showed me where everything is. As I was told when interviewing with Juan and Michael for this position, I would not be doing any clerical or secretarial duties.

Since I do not have my own laptop to bring to work, Juan had an extra computer stationed right next to him for me to use. While he finished cleaning the computer out and installing programs in it for me, Juan allowed me to watch him work for the first few hours. He showed me the ropes and gave the whole run around on how he and Michael do things. Although he did not say it directly, Juan was teaching me how to be as efficient as possible and how to be a power worker. Working quickly, trying out different things, using keyboard shortcuts, answering assignments right away were just a few of the different things I was learning to do. I learned a lot of techniques that I didn’t know before. These things would later help me with my everyday work. Everything new that I was learning, I wrote it down in my notebook (that I bring with me everyday) so I could reference whenever I needed to.

My first day I spent doing mockups in Photoshop for various clients on the Captiv8 templates the way that Juan showed. An essential part to doing each project, is the after process. I have to save my work in all of the correct formats, with the appropriate and very specific file names, and in the right folders. This way both Juan and Michael can access everything I do from their computers, in the Arts Backup hard drive. Saving my files this way is such a relief for me – I love the order and organization of things. At my previous internship, I didn’t have any of this – the owner had no idea where anything was to give to me and there was almost no form of organization.

Life at Captiv8 (So Far)

Captiv8 is composed of three different departments – sales, accounting, and design. The design department is the smallest, made up of only Juan and Mike, and for a short period – me. There are no cubicles, everything is open and bright. Every person has their own PC at their own desk. Some desks are joined but they are separated so everyone has their own privacy.

The business hours for Captiv8 are typical – Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. However, I’ve noticed that I am the only person that leaves there at 5 p.m. Sometimes one or two people leave before 5′, but it doesn’t happen on a daily basis. I get the feeling that everyone leaves around 6 or maybe even later finishing up their work. I think that when business hours end at 5′ that means that clients can’t contact Captiv8 for their needs.

Captiv8 is very casual and laid back you can wear whatever you want – which was no surprise to me when I found this out the day of my interview. After all, the dress code in our field is business casual. During lunchtime, I used to never leave the office. However, now I always do. An upside to this job, is that I work two blocks away from my mom. I usually visit her in the morning before I begin to work since I get to the city over half an hour and then again during lunch.

The Interview Process

The person I work closest with is Juan Felix. He is one of the two graphic designers at Captiv8. Juan is a great mentor and he came highly recommended to me by my Internship Professor. In fact, I found about this internship opportunity through my Internship professor. Before that, I had never even heard of Captiv8 Promotions.

Once I received the information for Captiv8, I contacted Juan as soon as I got home. I received a response the very next day. Juan and I emailed each other back and forth. He asked me several questions such as why I like doing what I do, how did I get started in it, what programs do I use most and what is something I really enjoy about designing. After answering all of his questions in detail. Juan invited me to Captiv8 for an interview with him and Mike, the other designer there, on Thursday, September 8 at 2:00 P.M.

I was super early for my interview. Aside from the fact that it’s proper etiquette to show up for an interview a little early, and that I had a good feeling about this place, I am always annoyingly early … to everywhere. Thankfully Captiv8 is located in midtown next to the garment district. I went in and out of stores to kill a little time. I arrived for my interview at 1:40 p.m. (early, but not annoyingly early). After asking for Juan, some of the sales girls sent me into the large, glass conference room. I barely waited for two minutes before Juan came in and warmly introduced himself.

The interview process was not long at all; I was out of there by 2 o’ clock which was the time I was supposed to be there for!

Juan explained how things worked, what they do there at Captiv8, the environment, and most importantly, my duties. I only had one question for him – would I be working with anyone and if so, how closely? I asked this because at my previous internship during the summer, I did not work with anyone and was left to everything on my own. Juan assured me that I would not be working alone, I’d be answering to him, working closely with him and Michael and that if I ever didn’t know how to do anything or had any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Michael didn’t end up showing up for the interview until it was almost over but like Juan, he assured me that I’d be in good hands.

I was offered the job on the spot. I told both Juan and Mike that I would love to, I just had to get the approval from my professor. Once I received the okay, I emailed Juan and told him that I officially accept. I started my internship at Captiv8 Promotions four days later.

Getting to Know Captiv8

I am currently interning at Captiv8 Promotions. Captiv8 Promotions is a public company located in Midtown Manhattan. We occupy the entire fifth floor of building. It’s an open, spacious loft with hard wood floors, a kitchen and bathrooms in the back, and a large glass conference room. The conference room is filled with all of the final products that Captiv8 has produced. Captiv8 Prmotions’ clients span from beauty, fashion, corporate, food and beverage, hats media, schools, sports, and travel.


“Captiv8 has grown to become an industry leader in the field of logo merchandise and promotional products. We also have leadership experience in creating events. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, marketing agencies, media organizations, and sports and entertainment properties. We work with clients from a wide range of industries including automotive, media, financial services, telecommunications, CPG, beverage, and fashion. We also design and source products for the retail and resort industry. The strategy for all of our clients remains the same – provide a quality product that is relevant and meaningful for the end customer.”

You see as I’ve learned from the two current graphic designers there (and later on from experience), it is vital to not only give the clients what they are asking for, but to do it in the best way possible. Give them more – give them something different. Juan and Michael aren’t the only ones with this attitude. In fact, it all began with Larry Shapiro, the founder of Captiv8. “In 1993, Captiv8 Promotions owner Larry Shapiro began knocking on the doors of bars and restaurants in New York City. His goal was to sell them custom baseball caps with their name and logo … His goal was, and still is, to provide creative and quality products at a fair price, while maintaining the best possible customer service.”

Below is the link to Captiv8 Promotions where the above quotes can be found: