How I Used My Opportunity to Develop a Graphic Design Career in Mobile Tech

Two and a half years ago I was a college student majoring in Graphic Design, living in a blissful state of sketchbooks and papers full of superfluous references to symbolism and metaphors. After completing a couple of internships at advertising agencies during my studies, I felt sufficiently prepared to go forth into the world after receiving my degree and make a living designing posters, print ads and billboards. Wanting to get a head start, I started applying for positions the January before my May graduation.

At first, I felt the little butterflies of excitement when I hit that send button. I loved my work, and those applications contained the best looking creative resume, and a portfolio that was God’s gift to the design world. But 30 emails and online applications later, I was starting to rethink how awesome I was and how easy getting a job would be. Graphic designers have one thing in common: We are very prideful in our work. We think we are the best, and we’re always right, and if we design a line, we will defend it to the death! So after having received only a handful of simple acknowledgment emails, I decided it would take a little more shaking the bushes and thinking outside the box to get a job somewhere after graduation.

I decided to look into internships, even though I thought it was “beneath my skill level” and I had already paid my dues completing three internships. So against my creative pride, I applied for a couple of internships through the Intern to Earn site hosted by the local Greater Louisville Inc.  I had an immediate email response from a startup tech company called Interapt, and later that week I was called by the CEO, Ankur Gopal.  After covering the basics of what Interapt needed, he asked if I had ever wanted to redesign the skins of mobile apps. The owner of a flip phone at the time, having limited exposure and experience in digital, I answered “of course,” because I was ready to take on anything.

When beginning my part-time summer internship with Interapt after graduation, I was the only graphic designer, and I had a lot to prove and accomplish.  This was new and exciting, but it also scared the hell of me.  After my first project assignment, I went to my sketch book and the page stayed blank.  I thought to myself: How in the hell to do I design a button on a screen?  Print ads don’t have buttons. I’ve never designed a button before.  But my creative mind kicked in, I figured out how to design a button, and I never looked back.  And then I taught myself how to design specifically for iPhone, Android, tablets and more.  I worked my butt off teaching myself how to design for the exact position and role I was given. During one of GLI’s Intern to Earn events, my boss mentioned on a panel that the best advice for interns is to make their boss’s life easier. So that’s what I did, setting out to add value and high-quality design work to the company.

Here I am, two and a half years later, now the Creative and UX Director at Interapt.  I’m proud to say that I’ve mastered how to design a button, but I’m also still learning and adapting every day.  My current challenges include designing a Google Glass app and arguing about the flat design of Apple’s iOS 7.  I challenged myself to be better, and took a chance with an opportunity at Interapt. If you’re ready to challenge yourself and keep up with cutting-edge design for the mobile tech world, come join us! Apply today for one of Interapt’s graphic design internship positions. Send your resume and portfolio link or sample to areeves@interapthq.com.

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