I’ve actually wanted to intern at Exit10 a year or two ago but the timing never worked out. I kept them at the back of my mind though because I liked their work. I knew I wanted to do at least one more internship in my last semester of college, so I decided to apply in December. Coincidentally, before sending anything off, I looked on MICAnetwork and saw Exit10’s posting for an intern position. I was really excited to see that they were actually searching and I contacted Liz. I didn’t hear back for a while, so I was pleasantly surprised when Liz called me one evening to schedule an interview.
Although they are called an “advertising agency,”” Exit10 felt more like a studio than I expected. They receive a wide variety of clients and range of projects, from print to web to video, which makes work quite fun and interesting. I noticed that have a lot of branding (and rebranding) work too, either for new businesses or campaigns for existing clients. It was very interesting for me to be able to jump into some of their ongoing projects to help with updates or edits, all while observing how files are created and organized, and simply absorbing the visual vocabulary as well. I’ve learned a lot simply by noticing things and watching the agency run itself.
What I loved most about working there is the people. Michelle (Ghiotti, MICA class of 2011), while she was still a designer there, was such a friendly and helpful ‘unofficial’ supervisor. She has such inspiring work, and she always took the time to show me things, be it something she had been working on or something like Exit10’s newly acquired typefaces. They do some amazing work, and that motivates me to learn and improve my own design. Everybody in the office is also super welcoming. I loved that it was small, that everybody knew each other and were friends.
Liz (also a MICA alum!) is my direct supervisor and she is the best. She is a senior designer, but I feel that the title doesn’t quite capture all that she does. She art directs quite a lot, and while Scott is the Creative Director who is officially responsible for approving work, I think Liz manages a lot of that too, at least finalizing work for preapproval for efficiency. Depending on the projects she’s in charge of, she’s the one who briefs and works with the junior designers and interns.
Some of the projects I worked on while at Exit10 include event logo designs, as well as bike jersey designs for their client World Team Sports. I also helped design proposals for a whiskey bottle label for a distillery. In between those projects, I basically helped out with job updates, such as flyers, slicing images for websites, designing a menu iteration, and other minor jobs that a project manager or junior designer needed help with.
I think I’m proud that I was able to be helpful to them. It’s nice to have my time and effort valued, and even nicer to hear that out loud when Liz tells me they want me to stay and work for them postgraduation. That offered me a small sense of security. Throughout the semester, I felt like I was working at Exit10 instead of interning there. Everybody treated me like I was a designer, not simply an intern.
This internship experience is the best I’ve had so far, and I think I’ve learned what kind of ideal working environment I’d like to be in. I like having a wide variety of projects in medium and in content. I also like working with other creative people in a close and supportive setting. I’ve learned that iteration is important, and that your idea of the best design may not be what the client wants, and that is fine. I’ve learned to push myself to create more, even when it seems that I have run out of all possible ideas.
I definitely realize that ‘clicking’ with the people you work with is important in your career and directly affects your life. Your colleagues are the people you face and work with on a daily basis, and I think getting along with everyone really matters. I know for certain that my ideal job is to work with a small to midsized, close group of talented, creative people, who are supportive and passionate about doing great work. (Something minor, but this internship was also the first instance I felt comfortable disclosing my orientation in a working environment, which may not be a big deal to some people, but to me, it really set me at ease knowing that the people around me were completely open and accepting, that I don’t have to hide a part of my life at work.)