Design School: The Benefit of a Real Design Environment

June 28, 2010
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Design School: The Benefit of a Real Design Environment

A question posed to me about my internship was, "What's it like to be working in an actual design environment?”

The environment at DOXA is great. There are glossy Mac screens everywhere. There are shelves full of design books and various paper samples. There appears to be a never-ending supply of double stick tape. There are sharp X-ACTO knives that actually cut things...a foreign concept to many of my fellow students and I. There's coffee. There are inky pens. You know, the nerdy sort of stuff that makes designers fill with joy. But that's not even the best part.

The best part of working in a design environment is the people. They're more useful than all the double stick tape in the world. The amount of collective knowledge is amazing. The way I think of it is that every designer is a living archive. Their head is filled with images, colors, typefaces, logos, design solutions, layouts, things they've read, seen, experienced, etc. Two heads are better than one, three are better than two, and so on. That's how the environment here is. It's a collective creative archive where everyone taps into each other's archive to help come up with solutions.

I find it to be a lot better than what I'm used to. As a student I do the bulk of my work on projects at home where I can't get the kind of instant feedback and opinion that I get here. Also the designers here just know more. They're more experienced and have dealt with a lot more design problems and successes. Their archive is bigger, whereas when I'm working with other students, our knowledge is similar and our experience is lacking. I guess that goes back to my last blog post on why you need to intern, but the more time you can spend with people who know more than you the better.

All in all, it's just a really nice and helpful environment. If I get stuck then I show someone what I'm working on and they say "Oh, have you tried this way?” Of course I haven't tried that way, because that way wasn't in my archive...but it is now. That's really the best part of a design setting. The more time you spend collaborating with creative people the more your own archive grows. You file away all these solutions and ideas that make your work better and easier in the future. If you get the chance to spend some time in an environment like this then do it, you'll be amazed at how much faster your own design knowledge will grow.

Done interning and looking for the latest in design jobs? Stop by our new Design.org job board to find a position where your creativity can shine.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs

Hi, I'm Anna. I'm a student at the University of Arkansas, majoring in graphic design. I'm currently interning this summer at DOXA, a brand and communication design firm here in Fayetteville, Arkansas. You can check out some of my work on my Behance profile here.

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