Reflection

Presentation

In this presentation, I will be sharing my internship experience as a graphic designer. I will be sharing some background information about the company, and some of my responsibilities within the company. I will go through some of the processes of finding and obtaining this position. I will also share some of the projects I have worked on and also show some projects that I’m currently working on. I will then share my thoughts on the overall internship experience and what helped me get better as a designer.

My Mentor

As I mentioned I’m doing my internship with a small company which is run by my supervisor and she is also the founder and the owner of the company. Even though the internship is running remotely, the way my supervisor interacts with us feels as if we are working side by side with one another. The atmosphere of our workplace feels very much like in person. I have met two other interns, one of whom was working under the supervisor when I joined and she left the week after I joined. A couple of weeks later a new intern joined us and we are currently working together at the internship under our supervisor, 

I consider my supervisor to be my role model or mentor. The projects I made with her so far have been all a learning experience, there is always something new to the projects for me. When I started my interview to obtain this position, I loved the fact that she asked me why I was going for a graphic design position when I had an illustration-based portfolio. She said that she loved my graphic design work but was curious to know more about my illustration-centered portfolio. She asked me if I would still love doing graphic design if I was given the opportunity to work on it for a very long period of time, she wanted to know if I enjoy graphic design just as much as illustration. She said if I don’t enjoy something I shouldn’t do it, I should only do work that I love and would do for the majority of my lifetime. She wanted to work with a motivated person who enjoys what he/she does. 

Besides work our supervisor shares with us what she does every day and some of her personal life, special events, and occasion she attends to keep our work environment exciting. She lets us see the two cats she has and talks about them every now and then. We always talk about different food since we work with restaurants which sometimes leads to her sharing what she’s eating. This form of activity and environment keeps us motivated to work for long hours. She shares her professional experiences with us and shows us how she deals with so many clients at the same time. She has given me a perfect example of how to maintain a balance between personal and professional life. Therefore, She is the person I look up to in my internship.

Favorite Project

https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2017/02/5-ways-to-evaluate-business-success.html

My performance was consistent throughout the projects I worked on during the internship. I’m proud of one of the projects where I designed a couple of stamp food cards for two restaurants. First I was doing it for one restaurant and my supervisor liked what I did so she asked me to do it for the second restaurant.

Two restaurants which I designed the cards for are Jhons Panini Grill and Village Cafe and Grill. Both restaurants wanted to do a special offer of making a purchase of nine which allows customers to collect stamps every time on the card, the tenth one will be a free purchase. For the Jhons Panini Grill, I worked with my supervisor since she had prepared some design elements for me to use, and for Village Cafe and Grill I worked all on my own. We spoke with the client on the phone and noted the important instructions that needed to be followed.

For the village market, I was instructed to change the background colors and the stamp signs which were basically the most important and the most difficult part of the entire card. At first, I was not getting any new ideas for the stamp signs which needed to be different from the first card that we designed for Jhon’s Panini Grill. It took me a little time and research to come up with a new idea which was to use sandwich illustrations for the ten stamp spots. I looked around online for vector sandwich art and downloaded one which I liked, after downloading obviously I had to change the art a lot in order to make it usable for the card. I opened it on illustrator image traced it and changed the line art a little before giving it new colors. I used the same art for all ten spots to keep it simple and legible. The background color however was not received too well by my supervisor so I had t go back and change it. Overall, I was performing well and stayed on top of the deadline. I took necessary notes from the conversation my supervisor had with the client to further help me with the designs. Both I and the supervisor were happy with how the cards turned out in the end.

Through this project, I learned some of my weaknesses and strengths. One area I struggled with was filling up the card to its entirety with the available information. I tend to make things smaller since I personally believe that having some negative space helps the design look nicer overall. However, my supervisor told me that everything should always appear bigger even if it contains a lot of information in it because we want customers to be able to read it very easily. Most customers will glance at it for a second and move on so having bigger typography or other elements will make this easier. Other than that I was happy and proud with everything else which I did for this project. 

Collaboration Work

https://www.information-age.com/why-collaboration-key-business-agility-32842/

We do a lot of collaboration or teamwork during our work, in fact, it’s a regular thing for us. Including me, there’s only one other intern so we basically work together with the supervisor on projects. Sometimes we split one project and work on different parts and other times we handle multiple different projects individually.  

Currently, we are working on a big project which is a foldable menu with many different food sections. It was already designed previously but the client wants to add more sections and food items with new price changes for some of them. Adding anything to what is already there on the menu is very challenging since there’s hardly any space. We started by dividing up work among me and the other intern. Our supervisor suggested that we should copy the design of the old menu board and separately create new boards for the Breakfast and lunch sections which we can later add to the main foldable menu. I was responsible for doing the lunch while my partner was working on the breakfast when we first started. As far as communication goes we always work while being in the Zoom meeting, so we basically talk to one another whenever we need clarification or other help. My and partner however sometimes use Zoom chat for communication since our supervisor often works on other projects, using the chat doesn’t distract her and we can do it pretty comfortably. In between hours we share our screens for everyone to see the progress and make any necessary changes, even our supervisor shares her screen to show us what she is working on and asks for our feedback on it. When we are stuck and need more clarification we call the client and put the phone on speaker. At the end of the day work, we do a little session and talk about how everyone did and what is next. We also communicate via email everyone has each other’s email addresses whenever something comes up we either email or text each other. Any necessary client emails are also forwarded to us for the projects. This project is still ongoing, I was working on the final board on my own since the other intern was absent and my supervisor is on vacation. On Monday she said we will work on it together again and do the final adjustments before handing it in. 

About the Organization

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https://blog.ipleaders.in/ipo-company/

I’m doing my internship with an organization that does graphic design and printing. This is a private organization and it was established in 2001. My supervisor is both the founder and the owner of this organization which is still run by her and is still running very well to this date. 

This is a small business that works with different restaurant owners. Since everything within the organization is handled by one person, the size of it is very small with a few freelancers working under her. Even though it’s small, it gets a lot of work offers from clients since the company is pretty old and the owner has over 25 years of experience in the field with many connections. The organization does all sorts of design and printing works, restaurant menu designs and redesigns are the most common form of work. For redesigns, we mainly change up prices, logos, layout, etc. For creating new menu designs we often start from scratch according to the information provided by the client. The organization also does T-shirts, logos, banners, stamp cards, business cards, screen boards, simple animations, direct mailers, brochures, etc.

My position within the organization is basically to assist my supervisor in all the work she gets from the clients. There are always a bunch of projects going on at the same time, so we often split the projects and work on them individually and come together at the end for critiques and feedback. My supervisor wants me to give her feedback on the projects she works on, so it is not always her who is criticizing my work which often gets pretty exciting. 

More About the Company

https://callingallgraphics.com/

https://www.buzzfile.com/business/Calling-All-Graphics,-Inc.-646-732-5360

Knowledge and Experience

https://www.6sigma.us/six-sigma-articles/walk-walk-relate-experience-six-sigma/

This internship is not only expanding my knowledge of graphic design but also helping me gain the necessary industry economy and business experience. From four years of communication design study in college, I learned about graphic design but have never been able to do work for real clients since all the work I did was for the classes and requirements. I’m using what I learned from my major in my internship, which honestly allows me to see how much I actually learned and where I need to improve. Before this, I didn’t really have a way to find out if the type of work I do will help the industry and meet the client’s needs, I measured my skills based on the grades I got on projects. 

My major was significant for me to learn software such as Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. I use these every single day at work to produce designs. From my supervisor, I learned that different people use different methods when using software to make designs. For example, in college, most professors would tell me to use layers for every work I do since it allows me to be organized and navigate everything with comfort. However, my supervisor never uses layers when she is working and in fact, she told me to not use layers when I’m handing in the work to her for making changes. Instead, she works on a single layer and locks things when it gets in her way by making a selection. I was amazed at how fast she could work like that, and maybe it was also because of the experience she had working in the field for such a long time. Even though I think that using one layer is a hassle, surprisingly I got used to how she works in a few days and it really did help me produce work much faster. 

I’m also gaining business and industry experience from my internship which was not possible in college. In my major, I mostly learned about these but never really had a chance to exactly experience them. During different work days, my supervisor would talk to clients and put the phone on speaker for me to listen and take notes, and she forwards client emails to me which helps in clearing out any confusion. I get a fixed amount of hours to work on each project which sometimes can be a little difficult, but by doing these I’m learning to adapt to tight situations and meet deadlines which is extremely important to maintain professionalism. My supervisor also shows me websites that are best for doing printing, and talks about how different sites have different rates and benefits, this is beneficial because it allows us to stay within the budget. Overall both my experience and knowledge are improving in this job, I’m learning new things almost every day. 

Culture of the Workplace

https://firstup.io/blog/workplace-communication-its-now-more-important-than-ever/

I work online via Zoom and there are no specific formal or informal attire rules. We normally wear business casual clothing just to be more professional but it is not mandatory. I normally wear collared T-shirts for my workdays. As far as workspace goes, I sit at my table with my laptop for the workdays. I spend all of my work time at my table and in addition to my laptop, I always have my notebook to take notes from the supervisor and the clients. I work for about 5 to 7 hours a day and am able to take small breaks. I always get a text message a few minutes earlier from my supervisor right before work where she either states she is there on the call or she will be a little late. Most of the time the work starts around nine in the morning and sometimes during the evening. We take a break in the middle which is about thirty minutes for snacks or lunch, I think 30 minutes is perfect since the work is online, I usually have my lunch after work when it’s during the morning time. After I’m done for the day, my supervisor thanks me for the effort I put in that day and tell me a little bit about what we will do next time. Also, she gives me additional work sometimes which most of the time needs to be finished before the next meeting.

Landing the Internship

https://www.pexels.com/search/job/

The process of obtaining the internship was extremely hard especially since I wanted to do illustrations-based work. The internships which I came across were all for graphic design and other work. This is my last year of college so I wanted to land an internship as soon as possible to graduate by the end of summer. I applied to the cuny cultural corps and unfortunately, it was full at the time so they told me to stay on the waiting list until a position is available, they said that it could take months or a year. 

Since I needed to finish the class I kept looking for internships and I came across a post on the open lab internship coordination site about the internship I’m doing right now. I decided to do this graphic design internship first since it will also be beneficial to me besides illustration work. To obtain this internship I emailed the supervisor with my resume, portfolio, and a description stating why I wanted that position. Surprisingly, the supervisor got back to me the next day which I was not expecting, she said she wanted to talk to me in a one-on-one Zoom interview next week. I was very nervous at first and started doing some research on the company as well as practicing for the interview. 

During the interview day, I joined the meeting 10 minutes early but the supervisor was a little late. She didn’t ask me anything which was already stated on the email application I sent earlier, instead, she started with why I am applying for graphic design when most of my work on the portfolio is illustration. I briefly explained everything to her, I got even more nervous with that question because I thought I might get rejected for having mainly illustrations but she understood my situation very well. Other generic questions took about 30 minutes to finish answering. Towards the end, she said she really liked my branding graphic design campaign projects which I had in my portfolio and I could be beneficial for the type of work she does. She told me she needs a little time and will get back to me the week after which she did, she asked me in an email when I wanted to start working. I officially started working on May 25th of 2023. My role at the company is to assist my supervisor in completing various client projects.

Ethics in Design 2a and 2b

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/business_ethics/business_ethics_quick_guide.htm

2a.  Ethics in Graphic Design 

I started to be more cautious about using photographs or anything created by other people in my works and posts after getting into college. I knew from high school that giving credit to works done by others is important but it was only after I started studying communication design for the past couple of years in college that really made me realize that it’s not only about giving credit but also respecting the hard work the owner put into creating or producing the work which I’m using for my own needs. Reading the AIGA guides for design and the article of the Shepard Fairey “HOPE Poster” case, helps me understand the consequences of not following copyright policies and giving credit to the owner.

When I use someone’s work I always put their website URL which directs the viewer to the place where I obtained the information or the works from. When using photography I try to put the caption “image by” and the person’s name right beneath the image and if it’s in the design I put their name or the website in the description. Most of the time for commercial and assignment usage I try to use images that are copyright free and are not owned by anyone, with this I don’t have to credit or worry about the licensing. When it comes to social media, I only use Instagram currently and I only post my own illustrations there. I don’t post anything which is not produced or created by me in its entirety on social media. At one point when I was very young I used Facebook, I used to tag people whose works I posted and even if a photo is clicked by my friend or anyone I knew in person I would always say who clicked the photo. 

2b.  Ethics in Graphic Design

After reading and analyzing the “Hope Poster Case Study”, I most certainly agree that Shepard Fairey was on the wrong side and made huge mistakes and decisions. According to the article by New York Times, It was stated that Fairey used Mr. Obama’s image which belonged to The Associated Press for his own poster which resulted in a bitter copyright battle. After being accused he even tried to cover up his mistake and said that it was a different photo where he should have been apologizing. Designers and artists cant just modify and tweak works done by others and call them their own. As an artist myself, if a person uses and modifies my artwork which took me months of research collecting references, time, and effort to produce it without my permission, I will feel extremely frustrated. It’s like all the work is done by me and instead of me being credited and compensated, someone else who didn’t have any contributions gets all the glory. Fairey mentions that he never profited from the sales of the poster but that doesn’t mean that he can just say that the image is his own, he may not have profited but the audience will think that everything is created by him and will give credit and respect to him while completely being on the dark side without knowing who actually produced the photography used in the poster. Overall I think that Fairey was a talented experienced designer so he should have been more responsible and careful with what he used for his work which he didn’t. This mistake didn’t only affect him as a person, his family, and his reputation but also harmed his career as a designer. 

Citations 

KENNEDY, RANDY. “Shepard Fairey Is Fined and Sentenced to Probation in ‘Hope’ Poster Case.” New York Times, 7 Sept. 2012. 

“Guide to Copyright” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA.

“A Client’s Guide to Design: How to Get the Most Out of the Process” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA. 

Use of Illustration” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA. 

“Use of Photography” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA. 

Ethics in Design 1a and 1b

https://computing.mit.edu/news/3-questions-designing-software-for-research-ethics/

1a.  Ethics in Graphic Design 

It’s been a little over three weeks since I started my internship. I’m trying my best to meet all the AIGA ethical guidelines for all the work I’m doing so far. It’s a little difficult to get accustomed to all the copyright policies with the images especially since I have not done any real professional work like this internship which uses images for professional and commercial use. According to “AIGA: Use of Photography” working with photography for designs require proper decision-making and taking responsibility. It also states that with the growth of digital image libraries, designers have access to various stock photography. As a designer when I work on a project it is my choice to decide whether I want to use stock photography or photography of my own by hiring a professional photographer for the project period, it also heavily depends on the project and the client. Both stock photography and photography captured by professionals have different terms and policies, as a designer, it is my responsibility to follow and respect these terms.

Whenever I use images for projects I try to use copyright-free images, and some of the websites I use for free images are Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay. Also when looking for images from Google I categorize the image results by usage rights, I can do this by going onto the usage rights under the tools menu and changing it accordingly. 

The organization I work with deals with restaurant-related designs, so we mostly use images related to foods and dishes. Sometimes clients provide us with the images which they want to use and other times they want to change their old images and want us to come up with new images for the same food items. Our organization uses only stock photography for all the designs, we also use a lot of clip art and change them from their original look to meet the client’s brand and guidelines. We also get sources for photography from clients who are very specific about what they want to use and where they want to use it from. Most of our clients let us do the image sourcing, all they want is for the image to go well with their brand and be the accurate image of the dish.

An example project which was also the first project that I worked on for the internship was a menu redesign. The restaurant was redesigning its menu with new images and I was tasked by my supervisor to change all the images of the menu and come up with new images for the dishes. The color of the older images was dull and didn’t look that appetizing, I was asked to source images that looked very colorful and appetizing which would look good on a darker background. After submitting the draft client did not like one of the photos which I selected, they said that the image was incorrect and did not match the dish that they had for which I had to find a new image. After that whenever I have to find new dish images I try to do a little research because I don’t know a lot of the dishes and how they look like, especially if its from different countries and cultures. By doing some extra research it saves me from doing extra work and also makes the client happy. I and my supervisor always discuss the image sources and the type of images we are using before finalizing anything to avoid unnecessary problems with the clients and policies. 

1b.  Ethics in Graphic Design

For my internship with Calling All Graphics, I did not have to sign any agreement papers or non-disclosure agreements. After the interview, we were open to asking questions and providing answers regarding the work that was required at the internship. The only agreement I signed was the internship agreement which was required for the class, the agreement had both my and my supervisor’s contact information, details about the internship, and the location. I personally like the agreement papers because it keeps everyone safe and works as a confirmation paper for the work. Since it contains so much information we both can reach out to one another anytime if there’s any change or problems. Since I was not required to sign any agreements, it’s my and my supervisor’s responsibility to take notes while working and make sure that we are following everything as mentioned in the interview. I always have a notebook next to me which helps me write down what happens during the internship alongside the notes I take for my projects for the internship.

Citations 

“Guide to Copyright” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA.

“A Client’s Guide to Design: How to Get the Most Out of the Process” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA. 

Use of Illustration” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA. 

“Use of Photography” AIGA. (2001). PDF. New York City; Richard Grefé, AIGA.