An Interview: Design Intern vs. Design Veteran

It’s an exciting time at Orange Element! We recently hired our Fall Design Intern, Andrew, and one of our design veterans, Jessica, is celebrating her 2-year anniversary at OE. To celebrate their accomplishments, we interviewed them to see how their design lives compared during these two milestones. Although they work in the same profession, they are very different — just look at the masthead image for this post! Jessica’s style is on the left and Andrew’s is on the right.

Learn more about how our 2-week design intern and 2-year design vet stack up below.

Jessica: I moved around Maryland a lot before middle school. After that, my family settled in Mt. Airy, MD. It’s between Frederick and Columbia.
Andrew: I was born in Chicago but my family moved three days later. I was raised in Huntsville, Alabama.

Design Intern, Andrew.

J: Towson University!
A: MICA (!)

Position at OE:
J: Designer
A: Design Intern

How long have you worked at OE?
J: 2 years (it feels much longer!)
A: Two full (and exciting) weeks!

Why did you choose to apply (and accept) your position here?
J: I had been interning for 4 months and felt like this place made sense for me. I thought I could grow here, and I already had through the internship. So when Aaron offered me the position, I was ready to make the move from my current job and become a “real” designer.

A: I have been a fan of the design that comes out of Orange Element ever since the first time I combed through some of OE’s work online, and that’s what inspired my initial application. It was the collaborative atmosphere that cemented my desire to intern here.

Designer Jessica and her dog, Rye.
Designer Jessica and her dog, Rye.

Tell us a little about your design background and expertise.

J: When I first got to Towson, I wanted to be a journalist and then realized that I didn’t want to tell the facts. I wanted to show them, illustrate them, and make them fun to read. Fast forward through a lot of fine art, design, and photography classes. My professor told me I had an eye for it, and that gave me the confidence to pursue a graphic design major. I got a job as a Store Artist at Whole Foods Market, where I gained experience with hand lettering, design, and marketing. I was beyond excited to receive the internship at OE, where I feel I’ve learned the most about design. I think my expertise would be in designs that require a lot of attention and organization, such as publications and identity collateral. And, as always, I really love hand lettering and am practicing more and more often to become better at it.

A: I took my first graphic design class my sophomore year in high school and I had a teacher that would let me into the computer lab before school started and stay as late after school as I wanted just playing around with the design programs. He also encouraged me to apply to MICA’s pre-college program before my senior year of high school which resulted in me going to MICA to continue my education. Since I’ve been at MICA I have learned such an incredible amount, not only about how to design something but also about the history behind graphic design. I had a professor my junior year at MICA that really focused on editorial design, which started a passion for that.

What inspires you?
J: So many things. I’m a big Pinterest fan, but I’m also that person who stops and takes a photo of a cool poster and uses that for inspiration. From my brief photography internships and classes, I learned to love lighting and understand the way it plays with the subject. I take a lot of pictures of my dog, and she inspires me too (Haha). Being outside and taking long hikes is another source of inspiration and way to clear my mind. Mostly what’s been on my radar these past few weeks is sign painting. There is a ton around Baltimore! It’s interesting it’s been here the whole time, and I’m just now really taking notice. My love of hand lettering has transitioned me into looking at old typography, like sign painting and vintage labels, and using more texture in my work to get that feel. Finding inspiration is honestly my favorite part of the design process.

A: I have always been very inspired by Swiss Typography. On a non-design related note: this summer I worked three jobs, as a barista, a bartender and a cook and I got a lot of ideas by talking to my coworkers or by talking to customers and attempting to re-contextualize those conversations into something that I designed. For instance, one coworker and I spent an entire shift coming up with movie plots that would have only been successful in the 90s, which resulted in me making a zine out of those ideas.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
J: Who knows what the future holds. Ideally I’d like to be married (to my awesome boyfriend), own a house with a lot of land, have adopted another dog (or two, or three), and continue to grow my design and hand lettering skills.

A: I have absolutely no idea. Designing things somewhere, I hope. I’ll probably have a dog, too.

Andrew, what do you hope to learn during your time here?
As a senior in college, I think it’s important that I start to learn a little bit more about how design functions in the real world rather than just being an assignment that’s graded by a professor. I suppose my goal would be to learn as much as possible from everyone at OE, even if they are not directly involved with the actual design process.

Jessica, what’s one piece of advice you’d like to tell Andrew to get the most from his OE experience?
Great question. Believe in yourself and your designs, and others will do the same. The hardest things I’ve had to learn are to not take criticism to heart and to not self-doubt.