Internship Spotlight with Daniela Gonzalez
Daniela Gonzalez, BFA ’23, recently completed an internship at Her Campus Media. We caught up with Daniela to hear all about her experience doing graphic design work for a 100% woman-owned and operated marketing business.
Can you start by telling me a little bit about your interests at SMFA and beyond?
At SMFA, I have been granted the freedom to explore my concepts and ideas through a wide variety of mediums--the main ones being photography, video, and graphic design. In my artwork, I have always focused a lot on themes of connection and communication, specifically when related to long-distance relationships and the use of technology-mediated conversations and interactions. Combining these three mediums has led me to be able to deeply investigate and analyze these experiences, with design elevating the way in which I get my messages across. Additionally, our growing dependency and desensitization on social media platforms is something that I am highly interested in, and it is something that I am investigating through my art practice at SMFA.
What attracted you to your internship?
The thing that mainly attracted me to the graphic design intern position at Her Campus Media was its strong emphasis on education and learning on the job. This felt like the perfect opportunity for me to delve into an area that I was unfamiliar with, but very intrigued by! I was also very inspired by the fact that Her Campus Media is 100% women-owned and operated and their mission statement seemed like something that would align with my wants and needs within a work environment.
How did you obtain your internship?
I originally found my internship through Handshake and then applied externally on the company's website. I was called for an interview where I talked about my interest in the position and my previous experiences in design. I then received a follow-up interview in which I was able to speak about my design style and process. It was so refreshing to see recruiters take interest in seeing and hearing about the work instead of asking the standard go-to interview questions.
What was a day-in-the-life of your internship?
My internship was mainly remote, but I did have the privilege to work with the team in-person at the Boston office! On those office days, I would usually arrive at 9:30 am and work collaboratively alongside the design team. At around 11:00 am, I would have a coffee date with a staff member from a department of my liking and I would get to network and ask them about their career and experience within the industry. I would then work on my assignment for the week, eat lunch with everybody, and attend my meetings for the day.
Tell me about a project you worked on during your internship that was your favorite, the most challenging, or the most exciting.
I truly enjoyed all of the assignments I got to work on throughout my internship because they all in one way or another pushed me out of my comfort zone and motivated me to create things I didn’t know I was capable of. My work consisted mainly of designing content for Instagram and for the Her Campus Media’s various brands and websites that appealed to Gen Z. My favorite design brief was being assigned the role of designing the hero images and templates for a new hub on the Her Campus website alongside another design intern. It was so rewarding to see the work you produce for someone actually go live and be used in the company! With this assignment, I was able to get more comfortable with digital drawing, which I had never truly done before. It was challenging but very rewarding once I worked on the final revision and it was a success!
What was the best new skill you learned?
Learning how to create digital illustrations and animated GIFs were definitely highlights in the internship and are skills that I am very excited to have under my belt now! I also gained a lot of insight into how a design department within a marketing company functions. My time management skills were strengthened by having to work on multiple assignments at the same time. I learned how to adjust my design style and work process to that of a company with an already established look and feel. I was able to create work that fit their brand's needs which is what a lot of professions look for!
How did your studio art skills help you at your internship?
My studio art skills always help in bringing deeper intentionality and artistic sensibility to more corporate and commercial assignments. I am always thinking about the concept when it comes to art and I think it is a crucial part of making an art piece that people feel connected to. I was able to bring this to my assignments, really thinking and justifying my selections of color and composition in relation to the assignment and its intent.
How will you translate your work experience to your studies?
I will be able to bring back the technical skills that I gained throughout the internship to enhance my conceptual ideas and create visually stronger pieces. The internship definitely gave me more range and I can now use that to diversify my techniques and make my work stand out.
What was surprising or delightful about your internship?
I was very delighted by how attentive and responsive my supervisors were. They really worked hard to provide me with an open and comforting environment in which I never felt nervous or ashamed to ask questions or ask for guidance. They were always very quick to respond to my requests whenever I wanted to connect with someone else in the company or when I needed a tutorial for a certain feature in the Adobe suite. All in all, the best part of the internship was its organized curriculum with a big emphasis on learning!
How do you see the next steps in your professional career unfolding?
I can see myself working as a graphic designer professionally, and like many of us graduating soon it's a little hard to say exactly what field I will be in, but after working for Her Campus Media I can envision myself working within a marketing or social media driven company. Alongside working a full-time job, I want to take time to work on my own personal projects and apply for artist residencies and grants to fund my work.
Image credit: Naail Ali