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Weinberg Center for the Arts

June - August 2020

In the summer of 2020, I worked as a Graphic Design Intern at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, creating promotional graphics for virtual events. I played a vital role in engaging the Weinberg with their community while they were unable to open during the height of the pandemic, including designing graphics and templates for their 2020 virtual season.


I had the pleasure of interning at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Maryland. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it converted to a remote internship. This was disappointing, but even as a remote internship, I was able to build on my design skills, as well as gain a lot of valuable experience as to what it is like designing in collaboration with other people and outside of a classroom setting.

Throughout the internship, I used a “drag-and-drop” editor called Canva in combination with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. I would utilize the ease of mobility, quickness, and cleanliness of the online editor to make rapid turnaround times, and when I needed to make more complex graphics, I would use the more sophisticated editors.

Something interesting that I was able to do because of COVID-19 closing down theater performances was spending more time on each design. Often in the design world, designers have to wear multiple hats, as well as quickly churn out designs. Working from home with fewer projects to do meant I really got to spend time on each design, carefully crafting it, and honing my design skills at the same time. In a normal setting, I would have a lot more responsibilities related to the fast-paced marketing and design world, as well as preparing the theater for the upcoming season. Without an upcoming season, my job changed to helping the theater stay engaged with the community through social media and digital platforms. While different than I had originally planned for, it was still a valuable experience to learn how to engage with the online community while practicing and growing my design skills.

Besides the designs themselves, I gained a lot of valuable experience designing in the real world, especially when it comes to collaborating with other designers. With remote working, I found that I really had to set my own boundaries for deadlines and turnaround times. When I was making graphics celebrating the Frederick County Public School’s graduations, I was using illustrations made by the other intern. We were posting a new graphic each day, and sometimes the other intern wouldn’t send me the illustration I needed for the next day’s post until very late in the day. I ended up working late at night, which threw off my work-life balance. I realized I needed to stand up for myself, so we met over zoom and set deadlines for her that would leave me more time to complete the graphic and send it to our boss.

I also learned designing for other people could sometimes be frustrating and might limit how much creativity I could put into a design. Sometimes I would make an interesting design with a lot of cool graphics, and my supervisor would want something a lot simpler. I learned I needed to be more persistent about asking what a manager or client wants when designing for them. Even as I started to do that more, I also learned that clients don’t always really know what they want or need! One week I ended up spending over ten hours working on and tweaking a design, only for my supervisor to say, “That’s exactly what I said I was looking for, but I don’t want it anymore.”

I learned there is a lot more to designing than just making a good design. When designing for an organization, the design must follow a certain aesthetic, while also trying to be creative and intuitive. I found some of the constraints led me to make more interesting designs than I would have otherwise, and others to simply be frustrating, but educational. Overall, even working remotely, this internship was a valuable experience for me. I loved working with the Weinberg and learned a lot that is and will continue to be helpful in navigating my design career.

Weekly Journal

Week of 5/17:

I had a zoom call with my supervisor about what the internship might look like now that it is remote. We discussed some ideas for social media posts to keep the Weinberg active and relevant, even though they won’t be having any performances until January.

I designed a graphic template for a “Trivia Tuesdays!” graphic on Canva, including making graphics in adobe illustrator. I found it nice to combine the complexity of illustrator to do more specific things like making my own type or making the lights look like they were glowing, then using the ease of template and drag and drop building of Canva to layout and finish the design.

Week of 5/24:

This week I designed graphics to spread the word for a Class of 2020 photo op at the marqee. I made separate graphics for twitter instagram and facebook posts on Canva. I used Illutstrator to make Weinberg font for the congratulations! And some other initial design work, then I moved to create the final product.

I had a zoom call with Barbara, and she told me she wanted me and the intern to take this idea and make it a bigger project, making graphics specific to each school, which would match up with a day that the school’s name would be displayed on the Weinberg’s Marquee in downtown Frederick. She told me to call Gabbie next week to figure out how we want to approach this idea. I learned although sometimes it is helpful to do more earlier, sometimes it is better to wait and make sure what you are spending a lot of time on will actually be used. I hadn’t heard from Barbara for a bit on my initial designs, so I started updated them and spending a lot of time refurbishing them, only to find out we were going to take the campaign in a different direction.

Week of 5/31:

I had 2 zoom calls with the other intern, Gabbie, about what we wanted to do for our 2020 graduation social media campaign. We first focused on getting the word out about it, then worked within that style to create graphic templates to use for announcements about which school would be displayed on the marquee that day! I used parts of the templates I created last week and revamped them for our new purpose.

I finalized our initial template and checked with my supervisor before creating all the rest. She had a few suggestions, so I implemented those changes and then created templates for all the schools in the proper colors, using graphical patterns Gabbie designed.

It was actually really helpful that I already had the basic templates completed last week! We were able to much more easily integrate Gabbie’s illustrations into the graphics using the templates I had already spent a lot of time on. Guess it worked out this time!

Week of 6/7:

I attended a Zoom call with Gabbie (the other intern) and Barbara. We talked about specifics for our completing our upcoming graduation posts. We also discussed finding ways of engaging youth with the Weinberg’s emerging artist series, since we have captured their attention with the congratulatory graduation graphics and signage.

This week I worked on integrating Gabbie’s illustrations into my graphics for each school, finalizing graphics for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, each which require slightly different accommodations. I learned I need to set worktime boundaries, especially when it comes to remote working. The other intern was sending me the illustrations I needed very late in the day, and I was finding it stressful to finish my graphics on time as I rushed to do them late in the evening. I asked her to try and send them to me earlier in the day so I wouldn’t be working at 9 pm at night! She was super receptive, I learned how to stand up for myself when someone else needs to finish their part of the project before I finish mine.

Week of 6/14

I kept trucking along creating the graduation graphics using the templates I created, adding in my coworker’s illustrations and perfecting the graphics before sending them off to be posted on social media. We got into a rhythm of completing them about two days before they needed to be posted, which was much less stressful than completing them the night before. On Saturday, I got a last minute request for a graphic, and since I had some time a took a couple hours and prepared it for them. They made me completely aware they did not expect that short a turn around time in the future, but they appreciated me being able to and willing to when I had some extra time. It only took about an hour. During this strange time of working from home, I’m definitely finding those boundaries between my work and home life, which I know many self-employed designers need to learn and do when they are running their own design business.

Week of 6/21

I’ve been learning ways that graphic design can be used to keep a theater’s presence during these times when in person performances cannot go on. The Weinberg has been finding new ways to reach out to members, including sending them a virtual Happy Birthday Puzzle to give them something to do during their birthday month during quarantine. I spent some time designing a nice puzzle with a birthday message for our members, updating it with recommendations from my supervisor as to what sorts of things people like in a puzzle, such as many textures and lighter colors. This made it harder to have text easily read over the image, so I had to find other ways of making the text readable than darkening the image, but dark text wasn’t reading over the image. I added shadows under the text to make it pop out, which made the message more readable and more interesting! When working

Week of 7/5

Worked on a social media graphic and email header for a new member benefit, a discount to a different company. I had a lot of time to work on the graphic, so I spent it carefully planning and thinking out the specifics of the design. The logo they gave me to work with was absolutely horribly designed, so I had to get creative in using it to make an overall strong and impressionable design that communicated the new benefit. Often designers have quick turn around times, but when the week is slow, I find it nice to be able to take the time to truly think about and develop my design work for it’s specific purpose, as opposed to using tried and true cookie cutter templates, layouts, and color combinations.

Week of 7/12

My supervisor reached out to me in a panic that her boss created a graphic that was low resolution and unattractive to go next to an upcoming event page. I was able to use his general idea to make a much cleaner, more attractive, and communicative piece. It was rather simplistic, but I spent a lot of time trying out different ideas for the curtains in adobe photoshop and Canva, looking at differences in textures, colors, and styles to make the more simplistic layout have a smooth, professional look and feel.

Week of 7/19

I spent a bit of time touching up a graphic that would be released later this week, as well as making a new one that would announce that the discount will be open to the general public in a month or so. We are first using the members only to entice people to become a member of our organization, giving them an example of the perks of supporting our arts center. Usually I don’t like “tricking” people into doing something they don’t need to do, such as advertisements telling people they need to buy Coca-Cola or the newest laptop, but here both the receiver and a valuable organization benefit from this advertising. The arts are enriching in ways that material goods just can never match, so I feel much better about it. I am learning a lot about myself and my values as a marketer and designer through this internship.

Week of 7/26

We had to make some adjustments to the original Broadway HD design to emphasize different parts of the design. I had put too much information in the design as well, so I slimmed it down to make it cleaner and more readable. I had forgotten that a lot of the information could go in the comment of the social media post. I reworked the design into a slightly different format, as well as created a new file size, as the original one didn’t work for the email header. I am learning how to go with the flow, and that often a design is never quite finished as situation evolves.

Week of 8/2

Originally we had made very similar designs for our “offer now open to the public!” post, but my supervisor thought it would be nice to have some fresh designs so we don’t keep posting the same thing. I adjusted the design significantly, though to keep them looking like a series I still used similar fonts and colors, even though the layout and content was drastically different. This was a fun exercise of thinking outside the box to keep designs new and interesting while still following a theme enough that it is obvious that they go together. It also helped me remember that design in marketing isn’t just about making good, readable designs but also different, exciting, and eye catching so people want to read what you have to say.

Week of 8/9

This week the staff came up with a new idea for a virtual season, and my boss needed some sleek looking buttons as well as a header graphic for the virtual season’s website page. I went and chose and edited some nice looking stock photos for each category. I have noticed that it’s in style right now for designers to use a lot of transparencies when working with designs, which is tricky getting the exact right balance. I wanted to use this idea when designing for the virtual season, which they pretty much gave me the reigns on.

I also wanted to combine graphics with photography, which I’ve recently noticed in a lot of designs in the arts/music world. For the header photo, I created graphics in adobe illustrator and combined them with the photos from the buttons to make a really interesting and eye catching header graphic for the virtual season.

Week of 8/16

This week was full of trial and error. We needed to end up changing the size and location of the header graphic, and it just didn’t work anymore. Since I had spent so much time on the graphic, I spent hours trying to get it to work for me and my boss, but with no avail. I even got the graphic to the point of exactly what my boss asked for, and she decided she didn’t want that anymore. I found that in very last-minute projects, it is sometimes better to not take as many risks design wise because there isn’t enough time to fix it if it flops. The timeline for this project was very short, and I ended up spending too much time on it, only to have the design not even be used. This was disheartening, as we ended up using a rather simple, kind of boring design instead of all my hard work, but this is the reality of the design world. This is teaching me a lot about how to budget my time, and how to deal with disappointments in my field, and also how to make the best of very strict constraints in my design.

Week of 8/23

For my last week of my internship, they crammed in a couple projects for me before they were going to lose me. They even asked me to continue the internship in the fall! Unfortunately with my current credit load, I did not feel comfortable committing to a continued internship, as I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with work. I know during national crisis it becomes more difficult for me to focus on my mental health. Nonetheless, it felt really good to know they valued my help and my design work, even as I am still learning my craft. I made a couple graphics for their member reception as well as a Facebook cover photo for an upcoming livestream event. It was nice to keep my designer gears turning even as I am packing a getting ready to go back to school.

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