1) For my STEP Signature Project, I designed my own internship in which I learned more about web design. I used the first part of the summer to take a few online classes on HTML and CSS, and then, after about a month, I received and internship with The Center Of Design and Manufacturing Excellence and The Ohio Manufacturing Institute at The Ohio State University.
2) During the duration of my STEP project, I discovered that designs for clients are a lot different then designing for a project. In our classroom setting, all the designs that we create are based on our opinions of what we want and what we think looks the best. However, I quickly realized that once you had a client, the design became less about what I thought it should look like, and more about the client’s wishes. This was a difficult realization to have. It is tough to decide between what you know will look better, but what the client thinks they want. Finding a compromise that both the designer and the client agree on is a big hurdle in the design industry.
3) Working for two companies this summer was a big factor in expanding my design knowledge and connections. Not only did I have the opportunity to work with faculty and designers at Ohio State, but I also had the pleasure of designing for the state of Ohio and for a few start-up corporations. Each person that I worked with had different ideas, tastes, needs, and styles. By working with different groups of people, I feel that I got a wider range of tasks that have truly expanded my abilities as a designer.
For example, for The Center of Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) I worked mainly with my boss to create a website and new branding so that they can become a growing center for companies to rely on. Working for CDME allowed me to use my new web design knowledge and put it into practice. I also had to design within The Ohio State branding guidelines, so I learned how the process of approval works in larger organizations. Having never worked with branding guidelines before, this was a good intro experience that I would not have gotten had I not had this opportunity.
While working for The Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI) I was able to create logos and brochures for a few of their start up organizations! Working with Kathryn Kelley, my boss, I felt that I got to meet a wide variety of people to grow my connections in the Ohio business world. I was also exposed to a lot of different views on my design work. Most of the people I worked with were not designers, so I had to learn to present my ideas in a way that made sense to everyone and listen to suggestions in order to create the brand they were looking for.
4) Through developing the companies’ brands, I realized that this is the side of design I enjoy the most. This experience helped me realize the direction I would like to take my design career. I am truly grateful to have this experience that has immensely boosted my portfolio for future internships and jobs to come. I know that this experience will help me as I continue my career at Ohio State and as I enter the job world in the next few years. I am now entering my junior year with a better understanding of who I am as a designer and what I need to work on for the future.