4 Things Our Design Intern Actually Learned

Time really does fly when you’re enjoying yourself! It seems like yesterday we were just introducing our design intern, Ola Agunloye, to the rest of the team and the strange elevators in our lobby (trust us, it doesn’t work like a normal elevator). While we had plenty of things that we wanted Ola to take away from this internship, we wanted to get feedback on what she actually learned.

It's hard to say goodbye, but we're excited to see where Ola takes her design career!

It's hard to say goodbye, but we're excited to see where Ola takes her design career!

Here are some things our talented design intern learned on the job:

1. It’s all about the people.

When you’re in school, you hear a lot of rumors about what the “real world” is like. It’s true that most workplaces will not hold your hand or give you constant feedback like you are used to in school.  Prior to coming to ProjectEd, Ola had heard countless of internship horror stories from her peers that most workplaces are cold and to expect colleagues to be unwilling to help interns.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t workplaces who really care about their team members and want to see them thrive. At ProjectEd, Ola got to experience the latter, and it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise:

I met a lot of amazing people here...It really calmed my nerves that there are actually people out in the real world that are supportive in the workplace. It was also good to have someone push you and show you different ways to come up with new ideas. I loved how interactive it was, and I loved this as a first work experience in education.

For recent grads (and any new job seekers), this is why it’s important to seek out work cultures that fit your working style. Whether it’s a collaborative environment or a more “heads down” environment, an environment which allows you to thrive will only help the work you produce.

2.  School sets the foundation but the real learning begins at the job.

Recent graduates will often say that most of what you learn will be on the job. To students who are still in school, this may seem a bit confusing: what exactly are you learning on the job that you aren’t learning at school? While the answer may be different for everyone, Ola agreed that there are a lot of things that you can only learn in the workplace, particularly on how to work effectively as a team:

It’s kind of true that you learn on the job. School did teach me a lot of things, like how to use [design] programs and make your work visually appealing. But they never teach you how to work amongst peers. Of course, we have to do group projects, but the final product never becomes what you actually envisioned. It’s mostly for the sake of the classroom. But here, I feel like I’m actually part of the team, and in school, that’s an environment they do not prepare you for.

This is why she thinks all aspiring graphic designers should seek out internships, even if it’s not well paid or even unpaid (side note: we pay our interns!).

3. Manage your time and organize, no matter what!


We’re sure you’re tired of hearing your professors talk about time management, but it’s true. Organization and learning how to prioritize effectively are critical to any project, let alone design projects. In fact, when we asked Ola what piece of advice she would give new grads, this was at the top of her list:

Organize. Be really, really organized. I filled out three journals already. I thought that was only for school, but you realize that [organization] is important everywhere. I need a notebook for the train or when I’m not around my laptop. I discovered that it’s important to not always depend on your laptop or digital calendar. Writing it down really helped me stay organized.

4. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Of course, like all designers and artists, we want to create work that is aesthetically pleasing. But just because it looks “pretty” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually informative. During these last several months at this internship, Ola learned to strike a balance between creating beautiful visuals and constructive communication in her work.

I learned that it’s important to make things that people can actually read and understand. A lot of people who are looking at it aren’t designers, so as a designer, I need to be able to think from the audience’s point of view. During this internship, I was challenged to push my work further in this direction. Not only did I learn about hierarchy, legibility, and other design concepts, but also asking questions around human centered design: how do I feel about it? How does it make another person feel? etc.

After graduation, Ola hopes to work at a brand agency and continue to build on these new skills. We definitely wish her well and can’t wait to see her design career take off!

Interested in working with us? Take a look at our careers page, and let’s get in touch!