10 Great Internships for Graphic Designers

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Becoming a professional graphic designer takes education, practice and experience, and it can be very difficult for people right out of school to land their first jobs without the right kind of resume. Internships are one method of helping to prepare successful graphic designers by giving them practice and experience. Some internships are paid in money, while others are not, but all internships provide opportunities in the professional graphic design realm that students are not able to experience simply by taking classes and completing school projects.

Graphic design internships cover a wide range of projects, options and experiences. These are 10 companies that frequently offer great internships to potential graphic designers:

1. Apple

As one of the most well-known tech and digital brands on the planet, Apple and graphic design go hand-in-hand. While the brand continually invents new products, apps and updates, designers are in charge of a wide range of interactive graphics and interfaces for critical projects. This fast-paced company is one of the largest and most rapidly evolving, so internships here are competitive and demanding. Interns work on everything from the newest Mac operating system to designing new iPhones to the all-important marketing of the freshest products.

2. Intel

With more at stake than the aesthetics of the graphics, interns with Intel are often knowledgeable about computer science or engineering in addition to graphic design. To reward its highly qualified and carefully selected interns, Intel gives these short-term employees a lot of responsibility to brainstorm solutions to problems with current products and to give presentations to high-ranking officials and potential business partners. Intel is still one of the most widely used computer processors, and the company expects its interns to be the best available.

3. Walt Disney

When people think of the Walt Disney company, they often think of classic movies and cartoons, as well as the iconic theme parks. However, the company has really expanded its digital reach in the past couple of decades, taking on its own television stations and line of mobile apps and games specifically aimed at children. Interns with the Walt Disney Company have opportunities to work with animation projects, creating digital content and developing a wide range of graphics and apps that will be used by children and adults around the world. Disney looks for a high level of creativity combined with an eye for design in its interns.

4. DirecTV

As the top entertainment provider in the United States, DirecTV offers internships in a variety of areas. Graphic design interns in particular are offered opportunities to continue their classroom training while working with professionals and experts who can provide networking options and invaluable feedback. Open to both graduate and undergraduate students, the internships at this television giant provide the time and ability of students to explore many different areas of the company. DirecTV values the opinions of all its interns, offering them the chance to help design working user interfaces, apps and marketing campaigns, all while receiving competitive intern compensation.

5. Nike

While Nike does hire graphic design interns to work on its company website, the footwear giant also looks for talented individuals who can help with product design. Graphic design interns are tasked with turning two-dimensional footwear and clothing designs into three-dimensional renderings for review by executives and the marketing team before the actual products are created. With creative input from the inception of a product until its production, interns at Nike typically spend a full six months learning about the company and gaining experience in their craft.

6. Xerox

Known more as a piece of office equipment than for its other areas of business, Xerox also provides document management and business process products and services. Graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to apply, and those who are accepted participate in round table discussions, product presentations and social networking events that not only provide valuable professional experiences, but also offer personal and social development. Xerox interns help create animation and graphics that are often interactive and carefully integrated into the company’s website and products.

7. CBS Corporation

Graphic design students who also have an interest in sports and newscasts will find an internship with the CBS Corporation fast-paced and exciting. By combining a creative mind with an artistic ability, CBS interns learn how to provide attention-getting graphics and multimedia products that will appeal to the television and online audience. Interns are tasked with working quickly and efficiently to produce new content with the changing news, and these types of projects have the ability to reach millions of viewers each week. For this reason, CBS looks for competitive interns who work well under pressure.

8. Barnes and Noble

While Barnes and Noble is most often associated with its print collection of books, the company more frequently hires interns for its Nook division. These individuals have the opportunity to work on the design and web technologies needed to provide an easy-to-use and attractive user interface to its highly popular reading option. This summer internship for graphic designers assigns each participant to a season-long project that the intern is expected to follow from start to finish, giving presentations and updates about its progress throughout the project.

9. Hershey

Hershey interns are not just working with chocolate; instead, most are employed by the Hershey theme park and resort division, concentrating on marketing and hospitality issues in graphic design. Tasks for graphics interns often involve designing marketing materials for advertisements, billboards and online postings. These projects could also include working at photo shoots, commercial meetings and seasonal events. Hershey interns are expected to produce attractive and enticing graphics that will draw attention to the fine line of products and activities available at the Hershey theme park.

10. Washington Post

While most people think of the Washington Post as being all about writing and investigative journalism, there are actually a number of interesting and challenging graphic design positions at this prestigious newspaper. Whether a potential candidate is interested in news, finance, sports or entertainment, there are many different areas that members of this newspaper team must tackle. From the layout and design of the print newspaper to the appearance and usability of the company’s website, graphic designers have their work cut out for them to keep the Washington Post eye-catching and relevant.

No matter what graphic design internship is attempted and completed, a successful intern provides a thank you note and stays in touch with the employer. Once all his or her schooling is complete and he or she is ready to become a graphic designer, it is often helpful to build these types of professional relationships.

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