Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Venables Bell & Partners



During the spring semester I had been searching for internships for a while. One day, Brockett, the graphic design department chair and a previous teacher of mine, emailed me asking if I was looking for an internship this summer in San Francisco, because her old friend was looking for interns (I had asked Brockett before if she knew about opportunities in the SF Bay Area, where I’m from). She got me in contact with her friend, David, the recruiter at Venables Bell & Partners. I sent him my portfolio and we emailed back and forth for a little trying to arrange a skype interview. Our schedules kept conflicting, so eventually he just suggested we “interview” over email, and then informally told me that I had gotten the internship. I’m sure this all was possible without an interview only because he knew Brockett and got some sort of recommendation from her.

Venables Bell & Partners is an advertising agency in Downtown San Francisco. They do a wide range of advertisements, from commercials to print ads. They even have an in-house video production studio, as well as a sub-company that focuses on branding and customer experience.

Their design team is surprisingly small, consisting of only three people. My direct supervisor was Cris Logan. He is a design director. I actually didn’t end up working directly with the design team too much, especially during the second half of the internship, when I was getting assignments directly.

As far as responsibilities, I had a variety of things to work on, and thankfully most of it consisted of design-related work. It ranged from doing fluffy design work for the company, searching for stock images, comping advertisements into environments, editing photo-documentation of books, and eventually, taking on small design projects on my own for actual clients. In addition, there were five interns other than me, and throughout our internships we worked on an intern project, which involved coming up with a payment plan for Conoco Phillips that is targeted at Millennials.

I am probably most proud of my work for Health Builders, a non-profit that builds sustainable medical centers in Rwanda. My role was to apply the existing branding to a various business assets. I got to take ownership of this project, and it was more design- focused compared to some of the other projects I had worked on.


My biggest takeaway from this experience was that it’s important to do things that make you uncomfortable. Throughout the internship, I was pushed to do a lot of things that I didn’t know how to do, and work on a lot of designs that were a completely different style from what I would create on my own. As a result, I have learned a lot of skills and have opened up my design sensibilities. I have also learned through this internship that I am not that interested in advertising, mainly because design doesn’t take a big enough role in it. I would rather work in a design agency, where design is the focus. 

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