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Blog Post

Inside the Internship

by Mason Ham
May 27, 2021

Towards the end of my final semester in college, I was accepted into Mediacurrent as a creative design intern who would work at the company for 2 months. For this internship, I would have the opportunity to work on numerous projects and attend two networking events that would help grow my skills as a UX designer. Additionally, I would be assigned a list of objectives, a handful of which are listed below:

  1. Complete a set of wireframes using our template in Sketch, then publish using InVision and Abstract.
  2. Complete a set of design mockups in Sketch, then publish using InVision and Abstract.
  3. Complete 5 design assets using our branded templates.
  4. Complete a checklist to learn how to onboard agency processes and procedures.
  5. Post weekly updates.
  6. Complete a publication to our website through Drupal.

In this article, I will address each of these aspects to give you an idea of what to expect during an internship.

Creating Visual Design Assets

One of my responsibilities as a creative design intern is to design visual assets for both Mediacurrent and our clients. This can include things such as brand lockups, logos, or even video backgrounds, 

Icon Grid

To complete my internship objective for designing assets using brand templates, I was given a chance to organize and design icons within our company’s Creative Cloud library. These were often given in the form of Adobe Illustrator files containing grids of icons for purposes such as slide decks, documentation, website design, etc. Although tasks such as these seem small, they are often foundational and help with our team's production velocity. Additionally, a more in-depth project was just around the corner. 

Next, I would design our Spring 2021 newsletter, which contained employee bios, upcoming events, and product showcases. Fostering culture through internal channels such as the newsletter is one of the core values here at Mediacurrent, and having the opportunity to contribute to that was both an exciting and rewarding experience. Additionally, creating something from scratch as opposed to organizing preexisting designs allowed me to familiarize myself with the workflow within an agency as well as grow my UX design skills. 

Spring 2021 Newsletter Cover

Internal projects such as the Spring 2021 newsletter can help interns prepare for the harder, external projects in the future. Unlike the other assignments mentioned so far, external projects pertain to companies outside Mediacurrent, which means team members should strive to work harder than usual to represent the agency well. My first assignment in this category involved designing Zoom backgrounds and Twitter images for Digital Services Georgia (DSGa). Luckily, working on internal projects to sharpen my skills and familiarize myself with workplace culture allowed me to create designs that DSGa were greatly satisfied with. 

In short, although interns will start off with small tasks, everything assigned is important to the organization, and much larger tasks will be just around the corner.

 

Designing Wireframes

One of the objectives for my internship is to complete wireframes and publish them for review. This could even include mock-ups, which offer a more high-fidelity look at what an interface may look like. These two objectives help improve existing products for future iterations. 

The first of these tasks was designing the wireframe for Rain University, a software by my agency based on Rain that is tailored specifically for designing university or school-related websites. During this assignment, I worked with marketing and UI/UX specialists who all shared helpful design principles and documentation which allowed me to grow my skill set.

Wireframe example

This would help me in my next assignment, where I would redesign wireframes for Mediacurrent’s own website for an initiative we dubbed “Riptide.” Here, I worked with developers and digital strategists to optimize the look of our website. This allowed me to further my talents as a UI/UX designer and to re-familiarize myself with software such as Sketch, InVision, and Craft. 

These wireframing projects would prove to be my favorite assignments during my internship, because helping users save time by optimizing interfaces is a very rewarding experience that pushes me to create innovative and effective designs.

 

Networking Events

One of the most exciting, and surprising, parts of my internship was the opportunity to attend networking events that were normally expensive or exclusive to a select few.

The first of these was DrupalCon, an event I attended where various people gathered to share their knowledge on Drupal. Here, I was able to attend lectures on subjects such as accessibility, workflow management, atomic design, and Drupal 10, the last of which was presented by Dries himself, the founder and lead developer of Drupal.

Drupalcon brand lockup

My next event, GOVTalks, was a conference hosted by DSGa, an organization that advises many public sector organizations within Georgia on how they can optimize their digital strategies. Currently, there is a large gap between the private and public sector’s digital products regarding customer satisfaction rates. As of 2021, the United States has the largest customer satisfaction gap between top-performing and government industries amongst various other technologically advanced countries. At GOVTalks, I had the chance to see many people address this issue while offering solutions on how to close this gap. These solutions included advocating for more agile workflows, utilizing goal-directed design, performing effective user research, and properly prioritizing requirements for future iterations of products. 

GOVTalks brand lockup

As an interaction designer, presenting and explaining my work is a key skill to success, so having the chance to see skilled professionals do this at both of these events while also receiving the opportunity to talk to them individually was very beneficial to my growth as a designer.

Future Opportunities

I still have plenty of projects and experiences left at Mediacurrent before my time as an intern will come to an end. 

Firstly, I now have been given the opportunity to design my own section of Mediacurrent’s icon library. Similar to iterative design, as an intern masters new tasks, more opportunities present themselves, paving the way for growth in more areas. In this case, organizing icons earlier paved the way for me to start designing my own. Redesigning wireframes, providing visual assets, and evaluating existing designs are all tasks I am looking forward to as we evolve the design of Mediacurrent.com. 

Working at a digital agency often means varied work with many different types of clients, but due to the experience I’ve been exposed to beforehand, I feel prepared to face the challenges ahead.

Conclusion

One of the best parts about working at Mediacurrent is the company’s ability to assign tasks that fit the talents of their team members, while still giving everyone opportunities to grow. Working on the many visual design assets I’ve been assigned has been a rewarding experience that has helped me improve my art skills. Additionally, wireframing websites while working with many different departments has helped grow my UX design skills as well. Lastly, of course, there are the networking events I was able to attend, which have been exciting and have helped me better understand my field. 

Although my internship will soon end, there are many experiences I’ve gained that will help me throughout the entirety of my design career, and I look forward to working on the assignments I will encounter during my last remaining weeks. No matter what kind of specialties an intern may have as a designer, developer, marketer, etc, Mediacurrent will find ways for you to use your talents to the fullest, while still giving you opportunities to grow.

Mason Ham Headshot

Meet team member, Mason Ham

Mason enjoys wireframing and prototyping products in order to create memorable digital experiences and places the needs of clients first in order to ensure their success for the future. He is new to Drupal but excited to begin contributing to the community.

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