My name is Joar Heiberg and I'm a Graphic Design senior. During the summer of 2016, I was a design intern at Drexler in Baltimore. I had initially gone through the selection and interview process with Blue State Digital in Washington, D.C., and had been offered an internship. Unfortunately, that opportunity fell through due to conflicting schedules. In a conversation with Brockett Horne, the department chair of Graphic Design, she asked if I had reached out to Drexler. I sent Drexler an email with a cover letter and a link to my online portfolio. The following day, I received an email asking if I could come for an interview. Prior to the interview I did research on the work that Drexler does, and I found their work to be inspiring. I wanted the main focus of my internship this summer to be on digital design. The interview went well, and the Drexler team was accommodating in working around my summer class. During the duration of the summer class, I was at Drexler for two days a week, and afterwards I worked there full time.
Drexler is a full-service creative agency, but their primary focus is on digital design for web and email. They have both retainer clients who require daily work and clients who reach out with specific needs. My direct supervisor was Mike McNeive, one of the founding partners of Drexler.
As a designer at Drexler, I was involved in a variety of projects. The first project I worked on was an exploration for a website for an upscale bed and breakfast in New York. The client wanted a different aesthetic than what the first round of designs from Drexler provided so I was asked to do some exploration.
Another website I worked on was for Mt. Cuba Center, a botanic garden in Delaware. Part of the website is dedicated to allowing the public to sign up for an account and take classes at the garden. The registration process, class overview and history, and payment is all done through a third party system on the native site. I designed the style guides for the third party system to reflect the design of the other pages of the website.
I also worked on Drexler’s latest email client, Chewy, a Florida-based company which sells pet products such as food and accessories on the web. As a new client, this work included much visual exploration to push the client to define what the brand looks like and how it behaves in email marketing.
Working with clients I found to be creatively challenging and very self-directed. At times, when asking the client for feedback, it was limited to, “We don’t like this, what else do you have to show us?” My job was then to return to exploration until I could find what exactly their vision was.
I am proud to say I received an offer to stay on as a designer one day a week during the fallwhich I accepted as I wish to continue to grow and pursue my skills in digital design. I appreciate that all the hard work and positive attitude I put in represented me as someone who is valuable to the team at Drexler. The most important thing I learned at Drexler was to be even more self-guided than I have been in the past, and to know when and where to ask for feedback and direction. I was given tremendous creative freedom, and this experience taught me the importance of being specific when asking for feedback on a project. I also learned the value of not becoming too attached to my ideas, especially during client-based work. My internship at Drexler has re-emphasized the interest I have in creating digital solutions through great UI/UX.