This summer, pep Creative had its first ever design intern. Naja Sanders-Tate, a student at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, worked with the team on both internal and client projects. As Naja's internship was wrapping up for the summer, we sat down with her to hear about her experiences at pep.
What were your primary responsibilities and tasks during your graphic design internship?
My role as a design intern at pep consisted of assisting the pep creative team, pep social team and pep promotions branding. My day to day as an intern was to work on projects alongside the pep creative team in-office, join meetings to provide feedback, and pitch ideas to help understand what our clients need. After planning with my team, I re-read over my creative briefs to highlight what brands I’m working on, what design services are requested, and how to keep the designs on-brand but also unique and eye-catching.
How did you contribute to specific projects or design initiatives during your time as an intern?
When working with one of our clients like Unilever, I followed along the creative brief according to the client’s needs and found ways to strategically create engaging designs. Most of the design projects consisted of digital couponing and promotional FSIs for brands like Dove, Dove Men+Care, Hellmann’s, and more. In addition, I helped create design templates to expand pep’s branding on social media and engagement within the company’s community.
What were the most valuable skills or knowledge you gained throughout the internship?
I further improved my skills in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop when working with images and used Microsoft apps for better time management in a corporate setting. I also learned how to network within the design community and gained insights on budgeting and marketing strategy.
Tell us about the opportunities you had with the Huenited Collective and collaborating with/learning from other agencies.
Alongside the other interns in the Huenited program, I explored local Cincinnati design agencies like as Hyperquake, Sterling, Olberding, and GoDutch. I discovered different jobs within the agencies such as Client Services, Packing Design, Printing, Production, etc., and how they all play an important role. Another thing I learned was the importance of storytelling as a designer and how to share your experiences with your audience. Huenited has been supportive throughout the summer allowing me to learn in a diverse community of talented people and has given me opportunities to grow.
What was the most exciting or memorable project you worked on during your graphic design internship, and why did it stand out to you?
Achieving one of my goals as a designer was to work with a client like Dove, alongside the pep creative team. I learned the importance of key visuals (KVs) and how they capture a consumer’s attention. It was very challenging but rewarding in the end, because the design was approved and will soon be released for millions of consumers to see. This project also gave me a better understanding that although the process can sometimes take a bit longer and not everything will be approved, it’s the journey that matters and what keeps me moving.
Did you discover any surprising or unexpected interests related to graphic design or your future career while in your internship?
Before this internship, I was hesitant to take on bigger roles or learning anything outside my skill range, but one day I’d like to become an Art Director for at least one project that I’m passionate about. I always say, I want to be useful in some way for my team and reach out to help those in need. Taking leadership isn’t as scary as I thought it might be, especially if you’re working with people you’re comfortable with and who share the same vision. Working with wonderful leaders in this internship has inspired me to gather admirable leadership traits and always know what to do in tough situations. I also want to tap in a bit with roles where I can use my digital or hand-drawn illustrations into anything.
What do you aspire to do in your future career?
Once I’ve gathered years’ worth of educational and design agency related experience, I eventually want to start my own design business where my work consists of helping my clients start their own businesses and organizations. My design services will include Branding Identity, Illustration, Web Design, Tattoo Designs, Packaging Design and Merchandise. I aspire to be the creator behind the most unique cover art for an artist or original illustration art for a fashion brand. By being well-rounded in multiple areas in graphic design, I will work with my clients to help them reach their goals.