Are you interested in the daily work of a design intern?
Are you going to apply for design internships soon?
Are you overwhelmed by all possibilities you have?
This is my internship experience, maybe it will help you.
Hello, I am Louisa.
I am in my third year of studying communication design in Würzburg, Germany. For my internship I decided to come to Berlin to work for Edenspiekermann for 5 months.
Finding the right place
I spent around 5 months researching agencies I REALLY love. One thing became very important to me: What exactly does the agency do, what does it stand for?
This may sound easier than it is. There are so many amazing designed websites, filled with fancy pictures of really cool-looking offices with gorgeous coffee machines, cute dogs and comfortable couches. But what’s behind all this? It really helped me to ask myself these questions:
After many conversations with friends and professors, web researches, visits of agencies and design fairs I created a personal list of my 22 current favorite design agencies. Once again I reassured myself that these offices really matched what I am looking for, and not only on the facade.
For me, it was super helpful spending much time with all those applications and interviews, because I could dive deeper into the design world. Additionally, if you have a big amount of outgoing applications, a rejection does not feel so bad anymore. And maybe in the end, not only the agency but also you can choose if you want to work there or not.
Before I start an internship, there are tons of questions in my mind. Most of them got answered on my first day or at least, I stopped being afraid of them. Why? Because I felt very welcome from the first moment on and I knew, that I can feel free to ask anybody at anytime about anything.
This is why I started to ask the people around me following question: What is your expectation of a good intern? The main message they gave me was: Good interns are not scared of asking questions and of doing mistakes. They don’t hesitate to ask for feedback without taking it personally. Also, they shouldn’t be afraid of personal contact with clients.
Not only did I get an answer to all of the questions I had, I also made further learnings about what really is important to be a good designer. Here are my very personal notes and learnings I made during the internship that I want to share with you. Why did I do this? You’ll see the reason in my first point:
01 Share your knowledge
I should document my work, summarize the progress I made, present and finalize it in an understandable way and archive the entire process for future reference. I shouldn’t be afraid of publishing my work and sharing my learnings.
I’ve realized this at my very first project here. Our clients were building up a new team at the same time we started to work for them, which made the start very tough. They didn’t documented what they’ve worked on and additionally, it felt like they had some issues about responsibilities. Due to that it was super hard to make progress, instead of sticking to a decision we found ourselves back discussing about the same problems again and again. The situation changed when we all started to write down on what we’ve agreed on and shared the decisions in front of everybody.
02 Only work with nice people
One of the reasons for enjoying my time here so much is: Everybody is very kind. It creates a pleasant working environment. This could result into following life goal: Only work with and for nice people.
Once we had a discussion with a client about the structure of an app. I tried to get involved into it since my team encouraged me to do so. It ended up with the client telling me that I am wrong and that I should start to read more literature. This moment definitely taught me that I am very lucky to learn and develop in a super comfortable atmosphere at Edenspiekermann. I’ve never experienced the feeling of being unrespected or downgraded from anybody who works here. Amazing.
3 Ask for and give feedback
One person alone can’t see everything. Usually there are numerous of talented people around me. This is what I tell myself: Stop being shy, lazy or afraid. Just ask! Feedback is the key to learn what I can improve on.
04 Think global
Even though I work in the country where I can speak in my mother tongue, there are many people around me that don’t speak german. This leads to a benefit: Switching to English makes me think more globally. And good design usually results from an international mindset.
05 Have an attitude
Edenspiekermann's Manifesto is a constant reminder of our vision and position. I consider this as being crucial, now and then I underestimate the importance of a strong opinion. It is always easier to agree then to disagree. But to make the world a better place, I need to have a strong attitude and speak out my mind.
During my internship I could see that it is very important to have such people. One very experienced designer at Espi is known for his skill to say no. It was fascinating watching him handling issues with clients or internal very calm but also very determining. He is amazing in leading teams, and I am pretty sure his personal attitude is causal this.
06 Never stop learning
Learning is what keeps us alive. This might sounds overdramatic, but to be who I want to be I need to stay curious. Read, talk, explore, fail, question, improve, share and most importantly: I shouldn’t be passive, don’t just consume, create!
07 Be transparent
The easiest way to avoid problems is to communicate clearly. Talk about your issues, wishes and expectations and never hesitate to get in contact with your colleagues. Don’t forget that we are all people, we all struggle sometimes and we can profit from one another by sharing our experiences.
08 A day only has 24 hours
And I need 8 hours of sleep. This already reduces my time to 16 hours a day: A realistic time management helps a lot, especially in the creative field. And in order to stay happy and creative, I have to make sure to have enough time for family, friends, hobbies and last but not least: For myself. Don’t forget yourself.
As a student it was surprising to see that our work days here are divided precisely into 4h in the morning and 4h in the afternoon. My student life was always a bit messy and chaotic. There was no need to estimate how long I would need for my tasks. But in the end I struggled with working many hours without a break or doing night shifts. Getting focused on time and setting a time limit works way better!
My time at Edenspiekermann has been a very valuable experience. There is so much more I would like to share with you, but in the end, everybody has to make their own experience. So go for it! Inform yourself well and don’t get yourself down when getting a rejection. Always make sure that your values match the work you do. I am absolutely sure that you will have a unique and valuable worthwhile experience if you really put some effort into it. This is probably the most important thing I have learned in the entire process: If I am not failing, I am not trying.