Kailey Nguyen-Dong

Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI
Major and class standing: Graphic Design, Senior
Instagram: @kaileynguyenn
Where you interned at: Ideas Marketing LLC, Southwest Detroit, Detroit, MI

What was your internship title and role/responsibilities?
As a Junior Graphic Designer and Apparel Management, I assisted my employer, Maria Hayes, by designing marketing items for clients such as posters, banners, t-shirts, business cards, menus, etc. I also was in charge of iron-press printing and vinyl peeling for apparel orders.

How did you obtain your internship? What resources did you utilize to secure your internship?
I reached out to Maria through a friend I met on campus. This opportunity highlighted the importance of having connections and being well-versed in communication skills. I emailed my resume and online portfolio to help solidify my employer’s inspection of my work.

What did your daily routine include?
I would arrive to the office at 11 in the morning to have Maria assign me a client and what they would like to be designed. The work fluctuated every day I came in. Some days I would spend the whole time on one client, while other days would consist of two to three designs produced by the time I would clock out. If there was a shortage on immediate customer designs, I would help to peel vinyls and print apparel for clothing orders.

Your favorite experience from the internship (2-3 sentences)
My favorite experience was working closely with Maria Hayes and the community that she has built around her business. Working out of Southwest Detroit, which has a predominately Latinx population, it was really interesting seeing how friendly and approachable everyone would be while also getting down to business about professional endeavors. I definitely felt like I was part of the team, even if it was only for a short while.

What was your least favorite part of the internship?
My least favorite part was the commute. It was a forty minute drive there and back, so leaving Southwest Detroit near rush hour twice a week was strenuous.

What skills did you learn and/or build upon during your internship?
I think I really improved in my proficiency in the Adobe cloud, especially in Illustrator and Photoshop. I often doubt my abilities to operate these programs, so this internship has definitely made me more confident in my skills as a designer. On top of that, I can create designs in a fast, efficient manner to help meet immediate deadlines that would be placed at the end of my work day. I have become more receptive to feedback and constructive criticism so that my work can be the best it can be!

What did you learn about the industry or your career path as a result of the internship? What are your future plans?
Something that became prevalent to me is that communication and responding in a timely manner is crucial. Having communication skills is key to work as closely with the customers as we did, meaning that the customer is just as part of the designing process as the designer is. Creative visions are bound to conflict at one point or another, so it is our job as designers to reach a consensus.
I am unsure of where the future will take me. I will continue my job search for design jobs and firms when I graduate college, but I could potentially pursue other creative endeavors such as photography or illustration. I hope that graphic design will provide me a sturdy foundation to find work that I am passionate to create!

What advice do you have for other students seeking out internship opportunities?
Some advice is to have confidence in your work (something that young artists often struggle with). If you can’t convince yourself that your work is worth looking at, than that will make it ten times harder to make an employer consider you. And as I mentioned earlier, meeting people and making connections is vital. You never know when the perfect opportunity can arise. I also implore students to keep trying and keep their heads high.