INTERNSHIP STORIES

Submitted by students, these are internship experiences told first-hand.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Polygraph Creative




Polygraph Creative is an award winning design studio based in Washington,D.C. that specializes in branding, product, editorial and environmental design. They have a reputation for finding truth and authenticity in their work by fusing creativity, passion and craft into their creative decisions.


Due to the lengthy and competitive nature of finding a summer internship position, I sought advice from my department chair. She recommended several local design studios and agencies, one of which was Polygraph Creative. Their website did not list any open positions, so I did not expect to receive a response to my cold email. However, one of the principal designers happened to stumble upon my recent packaging project on MICA's Instagram account and recognized my name upon reviewing my email. He replied a day later, and I went in for my interview soon after with my physical portfolio in hand. The next afternoon, I received the official offer and was welcomed to become part of the team. While working with these talented designers, I discovered that Polygraph’s love for the poetic stems from their appreciation for design that starts its journey outside of the computer. 

Each day varied as I worked on many different projects for several companies. My responsibilities ranged from designing graphics for product and environmental spaces, to creating artwork that would be used to create identity systems. In addition, I was introduced to branding for the food and hospitality industries. I experimented with pattern making and fine tuned my skills in typography. I learned how to integrate my love for analog art and design with functional logos and identity systems. Aside from acquiring skills in conceptual design and overall career skills, I also learned new technical skills in photoshop and indesign. I became more confident with laying out large areas of text, using Pantone colors, making my own mockups, overall communication, photography, and word play.


One of the highlights during this internship was my opportunity to create abstract artwork for the Washington DC National Portrait Gallery. To my delight, my work was approved for their 2019 gala brochure cover and inner panel design. I was also proud to be able to create patterns and original artwork that would be used for the identity system of a hotel. It was so encouraging to have real clients be excited about something I created.
This summer, my taste in design was elevated to new heights because of the time spent with top caliber designers and artists. The line between good and bad design has started to become clearer. My experience as an intern at Polygraph Creative was an incredible opportunity that helped open my eyes to the design world. This exposure has enabled me to feel more prepared to tackle the beginning of my career, as well as help highlight areas to work on during my final year at MICA. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Cinema Chef Productions


I first met Cinema Chef Productions at the MICA Internship and Career Fair, where the creative director first interviewed me. There, I presented a portfolio of my work and gave out my business card. After that, I received many follow up emails and a phone interview before I secured my position as an environmental concept artist and illustrator.





Cinema Chef Productions is a small production company looking to make a name for themselves through their new animated show, Cypher Drive. My responsibilities were to create environmental concepts and then illustrate backgrounds for an animated short. I was also occasionally given the task of illustrating key frame concepts or splash art for characters.


I’m most proud of the environments I’ve textured and colored throughout the internship, I feel as if my concept of color theory and texturing has grown a great deal. Throughout my internship I learned
 the 3D program Sketch Up, how to texture and paint over 3D models, and how to work on a production team. Taking an unpaid internship can benefit you in the long run. Cinema Chef introduced me to a partnering company and secured me a freelance illustration job over the summer. 

Overall, I am very grateful for my time spent at Cinema Chef Productions and I hope that my future endeavors prove to be just as fruitful. I feel very blessed to have been given this internship opportunity and the doors it has opened up for me as well.

Monday, April 6, 2020

National Museum of Women in the Arts



I found out about this internship as I was scrolling through the website for my school work. The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) holds a strong place in my heart, but I never thought about interning there as it doesn’t have a connection to my major. It was a stroke of luck that I manage to secure it as I found it three days from the application deadline date. My amazing professors were extremely kind and helped me write a letter of recommendation (I found out later it was my letters of recommendation that pushed me ahead of everyone else). Otherwise, using the 3 days, I asked as many people as I could to read through all my materials, including Career Development and my Academic Advisor. 

NMWA in Washington, DC champions and supports women artists. It is the only museum in the world solely dedicated to women artists. They feature a variety of art forms, mostly focusing on contemporary art. The department I worked in was Digital Engagement, this applied to all social media platforms, website, photography, all online activity. My direct supervisor was the director of Digital Engagement. As NMWA is quite small, her role encompasses almost everything related to the department other than website coding. 

My list of responsibilities varied during my internship, depending on what the department needed help with. I drafted Instagram posts highlighting women artists/art pieces, wrote tweets for Fresh Talks and calendar events, researched and wrote about exhibitions for the website, edited and sorted old photographs to upload to a digital server, photographed weekly gallery talks and events, researched and read case studies for previous museum’s social media initiatives during closure, and made guides for future interns. 

I am most proud of the connections I made through exhibition openings and talking to curators about their work. I never thought I would experience a job like this, so I made sure to learn as much as I could doing many different things. 

My biggest take-away and clarification of my career goal is that I would rather not work a 9am-5pm job when I’m older. This experience was amazing, but only because I worked with a museum that championed women artists. It’s hard to imagine putting in this type of time for an organization/company that doesn’t have a good ethos. With working Monday to Friday and commuting from Baltimore, the time to make art was extremely condensed. I learned that social media is currently one of the largest factors of business success. The Digital Engagement department is linked to every single other department and social media brings in more people than any other platforms (e.g. advertisements, email, print) for the museum. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

FILMARTIST Creative Agency


I found this internship when they did a pop-up show at Stackt market in Toronto. Stackt has taken unused land and transformed it into an experience of curated discovery. It’s designed entirely out of shipping containers. I really loved this space and the concept but was very interested in the interactive work FILMARTIST had done.

FILMARTIST is a creative agency dedicated to crafting innovative and artistic contents for brands and businesses. By harnessing the talent of commercial artists, brand specialists and digital content creators, they produce memorable visual experiences and design.

My direct supervisor was the co-founder of the agency. I was involved in the design process of many of their projects, including design the 3D/4D graphics of an augmented reality business card. I also designed a lot of things for proposals like an interactive, immersive experience gallery space for two artists in China. I designed web layouts and logos for clients as well. I was given a lot of creative freedom in making interesting gifs for their social media using C4D.

I am most proud of getting out of my comfort zone and trying things I’ve never done before. I was encouraged to experiment, which lead to many new learning experiences and developing new skills. Some new skills I have acquired from this internship is understanding how AR works a little better and how to create virtual spaces.My biggest take away was how important communication is in design. Convincing a client to take chances and try untraditional and unconventional solutions is a challenge. It’s important to make them feel confident in investing in these projects. 

This internship really helped solidify my goal to work in the intersection of graphic design and interactive arts. I was unsure of how I would like it, but it excited me and I loved learning new things about technology and its endless possibilities.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Creative Capital Shanghai


I learned about this Creative Capital Shanghai (CC) from a MICA alum. CC is a brand advertising company and now it is collaborating with Altavia, a French advertising firm. My direct supervisor was the creative department manager.

I participated in design idea generating, presentation designing and even designed a project independently. I learned how to present my work more professionally. When I was in school, I only needed to think about my own feelings about the design, but when I work, I have to think about how everyone feels about the design, not just from the designer's point of view.

I am most proud of my time management and multi-stream working schedule. I learned about managing my time with various projects going on, and I think designing culturally is the most important thing I have learned. I am also more familiar with Adobe Suites.

This internship experience has given me a better understanding of what people at a branding company do, and showed me the right attitude to have at work. I'm also more responsible with my work, because the design is no longer just your own responsibility, it’s about the whole team.


Monday, March 30, 2020

WIX Design Playground


I had my first internship in the US this summer, and it turned out to be one of the best experiences in my design learning. Instead of being like an internship, Wix Design Playground is more like an academy of website design and project management. It is affiliated to Wix.com, who attribute their expertise and powers to help and educate the young designers. 

I learned the information about this program through the MICA Career Fair. Vuong, the head of Wix Design Playground, visited MICA and had a brief interview with me. Afterward, I had one more online interview with another program leader before I was accepted. This 7-hour a day, 5-day a week for 3 months program is actually a little bit
heavy for the summer, however, I enjoy the intensity and am very satisfied with what I

acquired.

During the 3-month program, we are given diverse resources to develop our own interests and careers such as lectures, workshops, and one-on-one instruction. In the meantime, we have gained a lot of professional knowledge and experiences through real-world projects, for example, making a marketing landing page for One World Book, and designing the front-to-end website for non-profit organizations. In the end, we are also re-building our own portfolio in an online space under the mentorship of the Wix team.

I learned by practicing every aspect of a high-end website design project including
UI/UX, production, styling, content writing, code & content management, and
client & project management. More importantly, the people I met in the program are the most valuable takeaway for me. Both my fellow group members and mentors are passionate about what we do, which creates a positive and supportive environment to learn and to improve. It further facilitates us to explore our potential and more possibilities for creative performances.

I feel more confident in my abilities as a designer as well as getting clearer ideas about my future career path. It reminds me of what I stepped into the design industry for and provides me a very good reference for my career development.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

SONY Music


I got this internship through a family friend who used to work at Sony. She put me in contact with Sony Music Canada director of the office I worked at then he linked me to my supervisor. 

I am very proud of the new skills I learned such as improving my Photoshop skills and learning how to make GIFs. I have also learned how to network and create professional relationships. 

I was responsible for designing GIFs for artists, create playlist album covers, helped with some artists websites. I was also asked to help film for GIFs, videos, and for photography artists. 

This internship helped clarify my career goal and helped me realize that I want to work
more in the music and entertainment industry, but still as a graphic designer.



Thursday, March 26, 2020

Google UX Design


I applied to Google’s UX design internship online through their application portal. My New York office offer was finalized in early April. Although the hiring process is quite opaque, I assume that I stood out in the candidate pool because of the diverse design projects I worked on outside of class and my in-depth progress for my design challenge. During my interviews, I also spoke confidently and engagingly about my designs.







I lead the development of two UX projects for Google Docs and proposed new solutions that make it easier for users to work in Docs. Being the first to work on a new problem space at Google, I wasn’t given specific design instructions. Instead, I took it into my own hands to research the problem area and discover useful data to identify previously unthoughtful design directions. I also actively prepared and set up user studies to test my ideas and learn more about user behavior. Throughout the process, I kept my design on track through collaborative meetings with PMs, UX managers, and other designers. I’m proud of striking the balance between working independently and collaboratively and taking active steps to solve an intricate design challenge.


I have grown so much as a designer and person from this internship. My biggest take-aways are:

1. Don’t be afraid to talk with designers and other professionals about life, work, and everything else in between. At Google, I arranged countless coffee chats, lunches, and 1-on-1s with Googlers that I had never met before. Everyone I met had diverse expertise and plenty of inspiration, ideas, guidance to offer.

2. Learn to see and craft stories around your designs. The work you make never lives in a vacuum. I often thought of design as artifacts: type on a page, image, colors in an illustration, webpage on a screen. At Google, I learned to acutely examine UX design not just as interfaces but as products that people use in their daily life. By evaluating user journeys, I recognized how these digital touch points aren’t just static screens but react and depend on settings, actions, and conditions beyond the product itself.

I solidified my interest in designing for tech. I connected with designers of various seniority,
experience, and specialty. I plan to work in Tech for at least a couple of years before moving onto other fields.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Pentagram


Working at Pentagram Design has been a dream internship and a dream summer. Not only was it an amazing experience to be working at Pentagram, but I couldn’t have asked for a better, more fun team to work in!

Team Oberman does a lot of work in the entertainment industry. I was lucky to be a part of the team that was working on the identity of Space Jam staring LeBron James. My logo made it to the top two and it was an intense ride perfecting it for the final presentation. I was lucky that the director and the producer saw the logo. It is a great learning experience I will always remember. I learnt so much in those three weeks, collaborated with the team and kept on pushing myself. My mentors were incredibly helpful too.

Other than this major project, I worked on the identity for Words of Art, a card game for art lovers made by Scholastic for Agnes Gund’s art collection. That was a completely different experience and a lovely one too. I also worked on the extended identity for Fisher Price which involved advertisements, videos, and bumpers. 

Other brands I worked on were Lovevery, a kid’s brand that does different products. I worked on Jopwell strategy, it is an upcoming brand for job hunting and making connections aimed towards people of color. I also worked on Dock 72 Ferry schedule, an icon for League of Legends, storyboarding for Film Independent Spirit Awards, etc. All in all it was an incredible experience.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Media


This summer, I interned for the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Media (PCA&M) an organization dedicated to the promotion of the arts. This non-profit hosts an exhibition space that showcases anywhere from one to three exhibitions at a time, in addition to a school that offers a wide array of classes to both children and adults. The school offers a variety of classes, including ceramics, metalworking, screen printing, photography, and more.


While researching internship opportunities in Pittsburgh, I came upon a posting for an Exhibitions Intern. I was unaware that the posting was from 2016, however, I was able to get in contact with the Gallery Programs Manager who was enthusiastic about my interest. After some correspondence and a phone interview, I was offered a position as an Exhibitions Intern. I was supervised by the Creative Director.


The focus of my internship was on preparing and assisting with the upcoming exhibition, which featured seven solo shows from regional artists. My responsibilities were broad, as my work overlapped three departments: Exhibitions, Marketing, and Education. 

visited each artist’s studio where I assisted the Marketing Manager in shooting promotional materials. We photographed and interviewed each artist, and I helped set up and take down of filming equipment. I coordinated with the artists to schedule an artists’ talk and a workshop. Leading up to the show's opening, I assisted in the de-install of the prior show. I then assisted the artists during the installation of their shows. The opening reception concluded my time at the PCA&M, and it was a fitting end to see the seven weeks of hard work come together into a full exhibition.

The greatest takeaway from this experience were the connections I made with the staff at the PCA&M as well as the exhibiting artists. Through conversations about their work, I was offered an overwhelming amount of advice and some realities about working in the arts.

The best piece of advice I was given from multiple sources was to simply be open to opportunities, even the ones that I never previously envisioned. For many of the people I met with worked a variety of jobs in different fields which proved to be extremely rewarding. In regards to technical and professional skills, I left with a strong foundation in exhibition prep from patching walls to hanging art to lighting. I was also able to experience working in a professional environment, learning how to carry myself not only around my coworkers but also the exhibiting artists.

Overall, this internship has been a rewarding experience that allowed me to explore the various roles that are necessary to organizing and promoting exhibitions. My time at the PCA&M clarified for me that I am more interested in gallery operations, like promotion and exhibition preparation, rather than in curation. 
I much prefer the hands on nature of this work as opposed to more administrative duties.