Price of Good Labor?

In an economy as such the last thing that you can even consider doing is working for free, correct? Yeah, it can be sort of a hard pill to swallow but it’s definitely not something that should not be reconsidered. Think of all the possibilities? I know that you may feel as though you’re being used, but at the same time, you’re using them as well. If you’re like me, you always promise yourself that as soon as your hectic day comes to a halt, that you will design. Yet there’s always something that you miscalculate in your perfect schedule, you will need to recover from that busy schedule. Or maybe that’s just me? By becoming an intern, you are agreeing to the fact that you will design daily (or however many hours that you agree to).  Have the notion that you will be the only weirdo that be working for free instead of a real job? Think again. There is a large pool of interns out there; there are also many companies that are more than willing to hire you, especially when you’re good.  Hiring Is Rising in One Area: Low-Paid Interns

What exactly can you get out of an internship?

Gaining experience. If you’re lucky enough to have a mentor on the job, take full advantage.  Learn all that you can about the day-to-day demands of being a graphic designer. See if there is any way that you can attend photo shoots with your mentor and actually pay attention to what’s going on. You’re getting front row tickets to see your senior designer in action when it comes to lighting, color coordinating and working with the photographer. Sit on budget meetings. Give your input. Companies love new and fresh ideas.  If they ask you to file old photos and from previous printings, don’t get upset and think that it’s menial work. You’re getting a chance to see the older drafts of spreads, layouts and designs. Everything that you do at this job is important, even if it doesn’t always seem like it.

Don’t fear the control. If you’re not lucky enough to have a mentor or senior graphic designer on site, don’t fear.  That just means that chances are that you will be their main designer in a financial pinch. Most companies have a freelance designer when they don’t have a designer on site.  Every company would like to save money and receive decent artwork. Take advantage. With each project thrown your way, prove to the company how invaluable that you are. Believe me, it won’t be long before your work will be piling up. Everyone in the office will be requesting your artwork for their marketing projects.

Unpaid? Oh well. Serious? Yes! Just because you’re  not receiving some type of stipend, doesn’t mean that gives you the right to take this job for granted. It’s just as important as a paying job. If you perform well while in the position, you never know what it could lead to. Possibly a new permanent paying position? Maybe future freelance projects from the company. Take advantage of every moment and make them count.  And always remember there are other prospective interns out there that the company could hire who will be just anxious as you were about the position and whose work may not be as good  as yours but are more reliable.

The Museum of Origami in Normal, IL. What’s that? So it’s a little unknown organization but that doesn’t mean that it’s something that you should pass up. Taking a position from a small company or organization will probably mean that many people may have your initial thought about the graphic design position. But this will leave more room for you to learn and your work is more likely to be published. Prospective outlet for bulking up your portfolio.

So where do you get these internships?  Glad you asked.

Creative Hotlist


Alumni or professional organizations. Searching alma mater job sites as well as professional websites like AIGA are perfect places to find internships.

AIGA screen capture

Cold searching. Sometimes just going around searching websites or perusing news articles, one can find off the beaten path internships for small business, publications and/or non profit organizations. . Just make sure when you cold communicate that you know something about the company before inquiring; for example, they only offer internships in the summer and you inquire in the middle of winter.

Any other suggestions? Any overlooked sources for internships,  please respond below.


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