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How to Land a Graphic Design Internship

Graphic design is a wonderful career option for creative high school students with a passion for technology, and sometimes the best way to jump-start a career is through an internship. These professional experiences can allow students to network with other professionals and build relationships with mentors that will potentially last a lifetime.

If you’re interested in a graphic design internship, there are several concepts you’ll want to be familiar with to show recruiters that you’re the person they want.

Focus on Adobe Skills

The Adobe Creative Cloud is an industry staple in any designer’s toolkit. While there are other software options available, they hardly compare to the range of tools and capabilities that are offered through Adobe. If a career in graphic design is your aim, you’ll want to focus particularly on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. These are the most commonly required skills when it comes to current graphic design jobs, and you can use a combination of these programs to make your designs pop with unique fonts, filters, and other effects. 

You can take some free Adobe courses if you’re wanting to boost your skills in a budget-friendly way. There are also several books available on the subject, which are especially useful for when you want to quickly refer back to an idea. With any book that relates to a software product, make sure to read material that relates to the most current updates whenever you can. The Graphic Designer’s Digital Toolkit is a book that contains projects for students to work on that show them how to integrate the individual programs within the Adobe Creative Cloud to create one seamless design. 

Learn and Display Current Trends

One of the reasons why graphic design is an exciting career path is because there is always something new to learn. The best graphic designers are those who take the time to study current trends and apply them to their work while remaining flexible and open to new ideas as they come along. There are a few core graphic design concepts that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with before applying for internships. Keeping all of your work in a portfolio or a web page you’ve designed yourself is an easy way to showcase your designs while also being able to demonstrate how you’ve adapted to new ideas over time.

Most hiring managers for graphic design positions won’t necessarily expect you to know how to design an entire webpage from start to finish, but it is becoming more common that graphic design job postings also require knowing at least the basics. Businesses need to have an online presence to attract customers, so there’s a good chance that your designs will need to be specifically formatted for display on the web. Therefore, the ability to be able to make even simple fixes can go a long way toward impressing a potential employer when compared to other candidates for a job. Luckily, there are plenty of resources and tutorials online to help you practice if this is a skill you’re still unfamiliar with.

Did you know that something as simple as the font you use in your work makes a huge difference in how the final product is perceived? The study of typography explains just why this is the case, and it’s something you’ll want to be aware of since a good amount of your work will likely display text in some way. If you want to incorporate color theory into how you select the font for your work, The Art of Color by Johannes Itten is a good resource to start with. This book pulls from various works of art and well-known advertisements to demonstrate how color impacts design.

Soft Skills for Graphic Design

Soft skills are qualities that are harder to teach and difficult to measure, as they are more subjective. They usually include traits such as creativity, communication, and patience. Many soft skills are important to develop as you prepare for a career in graphic design. Even though these kinds of skills are hard to teach, that doesn’t mean you can’t build upon and improve them before you enter the workforce.

Communication skills are important for any profession, and graphic design is no different. But as people are getting more comfortable with remote working, this is a skill that can be harder to work on. Graphic designers need superior communication skills because they often work within a larger team. You’ll have to be able to actively listen to feedback from clients and other designers while simultaneously processing this information to understand what changes they are asking of you. Graphic designers also frequently explain their design choices to people without a creative background. Communication is also vital when discussing deadlines and timelines.

Problem-solving is another area that you need to be comfortable with before you’re ready for professional graphic design work. These skills will come in handy as you navigate the many different expectations of your clients and troubleshoot problems with the technology you use for design projects. You’ll also need to tap into these skills when you’re called upon to quickly revise your work after an initial presentation to a client. Regularly using your problem-solving abilities allows you to think quickly and effectively edit your work in a short amount of time. 

Graphic Design Classes for High Schoolers

If you’re a high school student interested in learning more about graphic design, check out NextGen Bootcamp’s graphic design courses for high schoolers. The school offers in-person graphic design classes at its New York City location as well as virtual graphic design courses, which can be taken remotely from anywhere in the world. 

Regardless of how you engage with the material, you will have access to expert instructors. Classes at NextGen are kept small to ensure that students get the attention they need to be successful in the course. Completion of these courses is another way to boost your resume and get more attention from recruiters as well.

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