My name is Lydia Bickal and I am a Junior graphic design major at MICA. This summer I interned at Illume Candles in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I found out about this opportunity through a friend of the family that happens to be the president of Illume. She gave my name to the creative manager, April Mueller and after speaking with her and showing her a sampling of my work, I was hired as a paid intern for the summer. I was the first intern they’ve ever had, but after me they plan to have many more. Illume Candles creates fragranced candles and beauty products for their own brand as well as many outside clients. They create packaging for companies like Target, Anthropologie, Kohl’s, Sephora, Bed Bath & Beyond and many more. Not only does Illume create the beautiful outside of the candle, but they fill and fragrance the candles in-house as well. You can follow the product from ideation to execution all at Illume’s headquarters. My supervisor, April Mueller, was the creative manager for a team of four designers. She critiqued their work before it got sent out to the clients or produced. She was in charge of delegating and dividing tasks within the creative team. Addie, Cheryl, Taisha and Heidi made up the in-house creative team that I worked directly with. Whoever needed the most help with an upcoming project got my attention and April gave me more long term projects that I completed throughout my internship.
My responsibilities included the execution of mock-ups for clients to view and approve, the
creation of collection layouts, bottom labels and product photography, and working with Taisha to
create all of the marketing pieces for the summer. Clients gave us specific deadlines for when they
wanted to view the products we were proposing, so I helped the creative team create full plan-ograms,printed mocked up spreads as well as 3-D displays of each product and fragrance we wereproposing. Another large part of my job was working with the Marketing Director Jenny Peters to create catalogs, press kits, email blasts and Google advertisements. Taisha supervised my projects
as a part of the creative team and helped give me feedback on what I should fix or change.
The thing that I am most proud of from my internship is the catalog a created for our Eternal
Nomad collection of beauty products. The idea was to create a digital catalog for potential buyers
so they would want to start selling our line in their stores that is only currently being sold at
Sephora. I was given all the content but was told to make it clean, bright and fun. What I ended
up creating got a lot of praise within the company and I am very proud to say that I was a big
The most important thing I learned at Illume is how to work within a team and that you can’t
design for yourself because it’s always about the client. This was definitely an adjustment coming
from art school where I could create what I wanted, but after my internship I realize that as a
working graphic designer I will have to adapt my design perspective to fit what sells. Also, working within a large team of people including product developers, buyers and managers, it is extremely important to communicate effectively. Illume was great about the transferring of ideas, so it was a great skill for me to acquire.
After my internship, my career goals have become more clear. I now know that I want to work
within the print realm of graphic design rather than digital or web media. I’m not 100% sure if I’d
want to do packaging specifically, but I did enjoy my time working with print and pattern design
so I would consider it. Illume gave me an insight into graphic design from the perspective of a
small in-house design team and I feel like someday I could see myself there or somewhere similar. I
greatly appreciate all that I learned at Illume this summer!