My Internship: A Metamorphosis

May 10, 2022 | By Abigail Dahl, Noise 13 Intern

My first experience interning as a graphic design student was with a large firm based in New York City. There, I was able to work on client projects, but was often left in the dark when it came to client meetings, feedback and strategy. I was mostly given projects specifically curated for the intern. I came into my internship at Noise 13 with the desire to learn what working on a smaller team would be like, without knowing how much of a metamorphosis was about to happen!

In my first week, as I was introduced to my role at Noise 13, I knew this was going to be a different experience. On my very first project I was given access to the team’s shared files, and asked to select imagery and conceptualize my own ideas. My opinion was encouraged and genuinely considered and valued!

Not used to this level of trust and expectation, at first, it was a challenge to manage projects and communication at such a fast pace. This jump in responsibility gave me a big slice of imposter syndrome. I remember being in my first team critique presenting illustrations that I designed for a kombucha company rebrand, not feeling particularly proud of my contribution. I had never presented something that, to me, felt so unfinished, and definitely not to an entire team of people. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and that everyone was going to see right through me! After I was done presenting, I wasn’t treated differently by any other team member, and everyone had a lot of thoughtful input for enhancements. I knew I had a lot to learn, but also got the feeling that this was going to be a good place to do just that.

This internship was such a nurturing environment. If I ever needed help with anything I had many people I knew I could go to. If anything came up, I always felt as if I could talk through it with others. I am so grateful for the times in which a gap in my design knowledge was discovered, and the team would take the time to explain, show, and help me grow. For example, when I was working on my first moodboard, our Creative Director, André Carnavale, realized I didn’t have a structured way of developing balanced and cohesive sets of images. He scheduled a meeting with me to share his thoughts, and showed examples of what had worked for him in the past. The next time I was making a moodboard, I knew exactly what I needed to do, and felt so much more confident explaining my choices and vision.

One big goal that I had for myself in this internship was to develop a sharp design eye. For me, this means being able to look at a design, and pull from my experience and know exactly how to improve it. During my time at Noise 13, I was lucky enough to work with talented, experienced designers, who all have these qualities. I was inspired every day to keep growing my skills and building my experiences. At Noise 13, I was given the space to make mistakes, ask questions, learn, grow, and be inspired, and I have grown so much because of it. I’m so grateful for this experience. Thank you everyone!