Most graphic design intern job descriptions open with something like “Are you a student interested in building real-world graphic design experience with an award-winning team?” While this might automatically entice you, you fear that an internship in graphic design isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Will you actually get real-life experience? Or will you be tasked to complete the projects that the full-time staffers don’t want to be bothered with? While these are valid questions, there are actually several big reasons why graphic design internships are important for creative rookies.
Understand Where You Below
The beauty of the graphic design is that it can fit into a lot of different avenues and career paths. As an artist, your unique and individual style and artistic sense can transfer to departments that you might not have even thought about yet. A graphic design internship can provide cross-department work experience that even fully-fledged designers might not have. This exposure to various facets of a company will help you have a more holistic understanding of how your work contributes to the overall goals of the organization. As an intern, you will have to sit in on client meetings, collaborate with copywriters, managers, and developers, take direction from an art director and really see the design process from idea to final execution. These are lessons you just can’t learn in the classroom, with deadlines and requirements neatly laid out in a syllabus. A graphic design internship will give you a much better idea of how a design project comes to life, how to deal with the hiccups along the way and showcase to yourself what parts of the process you like or want to learn more about.
Build a Better Portfolio
For graphic designers, as well as other creative professionals, a portfolio of past work is incredibly important. In fact, your portfolio might be more important for securing future work than other factors combined. Graphic designers often get work because a client or employer is impressed by their previous work or likes their style. Professional samples created during an internship allow students to prove their abilities to anyone who wishes to see.
Meet the Right People
In today’s busy and cluttered online climate, sometimes the key to getting discovered is all about who you know. The experience of a graphic design internship helps you break through this barrier by giving you the chance to make a positive impression on your coworkers. This can be immensely helpful later on. Even if the place for which you interned isn’t hiring, someone you worked alongside might has connections to other potential employers. If you take advantage of this opportunity, work well with your co-workers and even make new friends, you never know where you’ll find yourself in ten years. Be sure to not burn any bridges.
Learn New Skills
Graphic design is one of those industries that just keeps evolving, with new techniques and technologies emerging every year. This means there’s a good chance you’ll have to acquire some skills that weren’t covered in your college curriculum. This could help you discover the specialization you were destined for. Or show you what program you never want to work with again. Either way, this is a huge benefit for you. But hard skills are not the only skills a graphic design intern picks up. Internships of any kind also help develop soft skills, such as communication skills, the ability to work well with clients and coworkers, leadership abilities and more. These experiences are not only useful in a student’s professional life but also help them grow as people.
Internships look great on a resume. It’s safe to say you enrolled in college in hopes of landing a job after graduating. Completing an internship is a tried-and-true way to boost your resume to catch the eye of employers. They want proof that you know your stuff and can function in their environment. More experience can also translate into higher earning potential. Having a full year of experience plus a professionally-vetted portfolio of published work at graduation gave can give you the upper hand when negotiating compensation for your first professional design position.
Validation For Your Career Choices
Pursuing a career in the arts means you are going to face some criticism. Maybe from family or friends who don’t understand the field or don’t see it as a stable career choice. You might even be unsure about it yourself. A graphic design internship can help validate that this truly is the best professional choice for you. After all, there is no better teacher than experience. An internship like this can give you exposure to the things nobody tells you about being a professional graphic designer—things you have to find out for yourself. You will only know if you made the right choice if you see it all from the inside out on your own.