Interns and internships have had a bit of a bad reputation over recent years and I’m still not quite sure why this is. A lot of my fellow design graduates have gone straight into full on design careers with the first company that offered them a job. Yes that may be good news in itself, as many people are finding it increasingly hard to find work, especially in the creative industry. But I honestly think that the majority of new graduates don’t have a clue what they are good at, let alone really understand what they enjoy.
Young people seem to be too keen to get onto the career ladder and many simply aspire to have the title of middleweight or senior design as soon as possible. To me the charm of being a junior design is in itself disappearing, and taking an intern position is now considered a complete compromise. Or as a lot of people ask me ‘Are you just interning whilst looking for a real job?’.
In short, no. No I am not. I have purposefully chosen to look for short internships (sub 6 months) or working alongside start-ups and I want to continue to do so for at least a year. As a recent graduate I have had 4 years of education and have learnt a fair amount about design through this. However there are still vast holes in my understanding and internships fill these voids perfectly. During my 3 month internship at Seymourpowell in London the majority of my time was spent in the structural packaging design department and I now have a solid foundation into what packaging design actually is and have become fairly capable at doing it. In the future I am sure this will be a very useful skill to have under the belt as so few designers consider what a products packaging should be, let alone have the ability to execute an innovative solution.
So I am now moving forward and looking for my next internship in a completely different area within design. Maybe this will be industrial design, maybe in footwear design, maybe UI/UX design, maybe in design research, maybe in product development. All I know is that expanding your knowledge in all areas of design can only make you into a well rounded capable designer.