My name is Christina Hyrkas and I am a junior Graphic Design major at MICA. This past summer I interned as a graphic designer at iStrategyLabs (ISL) in Shaw, Washington, D.C. ISL invents digital & physical experiences for the world’s biggest brands. The designers, developers, marketers, and makers build everything from apps to connected devices to wildly creative campaigns that reach audiences globally.
The design team interprets creative direction from clients and builds brands to display over social media. I heard about the company through a MICA Post-Bac student and further researched it looking for an internship. I reached out to the Graphic Design department chair, Brockett Horne, who happened to know someone working there. Later, I followed up with her friend at the company and scheduled an informational interview and tour of the office. After that I was offered a summer internship position during which I worked under many different people. The head director of the design department is Zach Goodwin. He is an “obsessive designer, inventive writer, and a two-time ADDY winner.” I worked mostly with the Kroger Grocery Store branding with An Ly, a three year Art director at ISL, as my boss for those projects. My favorite project was creating a campaign for Kroger Grocery Store that involved building a set, storyboarding, videotaping frames, creating multiple GIF’s, and documenting the process. It was exciting to see the end products of working twelve straight days on the same project. Also, it was thrilling getting to see it live on the companies Facebook and Instagram. Some other projects I worked on were creating smaller posts for different brands on their Facebook accounts. Because many of the advertisements I created in the studio were with photography, I used tools I had never touched before such as a strobe lights, documenting equipment, and became much more proficient in Photoshop.
The most useful skill I learned was problem solving. Often, things would not go according to plan on shoots whether it was not having the correct material, running out of material, or another project pushing into another deadline. We constantly had to think on our feet for resolutions. All projects have occurrences that can’t be accounted for and the faster one can resolve them, the smoother the project goes.
Overall, this internship gave me a better understanding of working on a computer in a traditional graphic design setting. I gained new skills that will allow me to work more efficiently in my senior year at MICA. The experience gave me a better idea of where I want to take my thesis and what I will be doing after graduation.