My First Semester as a Graphic Design intern for the DME Internship Program
This semester, I balanced the world on my shoulder as I kept myself very busy, doing things such as working a part-time job, going to school as a full-time student, make a long-distance relationship work, and of course, joined the DME Interns as a Graphic Designer. The DME Internship that I chose to join was the Department of Veterans Affairs because I have worked with the VA before and wanted to work with them again. This internship caught my attention as I wanted a way to gain experience in the field of graphic design and add some pieces to my portfolio. However, once I got my hands dirty working on projects, I realized how rewarding it was to create content for the servicemen and women who have done so much to serve our country. If my designs made even one Veteran’s day better, it makes me feel like I picked the right career path.
Since the semester has ended, my school asked me to put together a process book, showcasing all that I’ve worked on this semester as a Graphic Design Intern. The book took me 15 hours to assemble in InDesign, after choosing how to style it and then adding all the content to the pages. It was a great experience for me, because I got to tell a story with the work that I’d done, and how I spent the semester honoring our Veterans. The Book was 50 pages long and included sections such as a dedication page, a table of contents, a biography, and of course, pages upon pages featuring the work I had a hand in creating.
I decided to divide the book up into four sections. The four sections were comprised of OPIA Calendar Holidays, Special Projects, VOD’s and Vet Resources. I chose to divide it this way rather than showcasing the work in order of the date it was created because I felt like the viewer could get a better understanding of my projects when looking at them grouped together. My Graphics for Patriot Day and V-J Day may not make any sense shuffled in between VOD and other projects. These calendar events are truly important, and I needed them to not only feel important and special, but make sense.
As for my design choices, while actually constructing the visual elements of the book in InDesign, I used some of the lessons that I had learned while in the internship. Despite this not being a project that gets posted on the VA’s Social Media, I still chose to adhere to the VA’s Standards of Graphics while designing the book. The only colors I primarily used while designing the book were colors that are approved by the VA for their use. I used a dark blue (#003F72), a light blue (#0083BE) and white (#FFFFFF). The dark blue and the white also contrasted really well, which was part of another lesson I learned about visibility during this internship. It never occurred to me as a designer before this internship that some people with vision problems may have a hard time viewing my work if the contrast is not strong enough. After I learned that, I did my best at times to be more conscious of how I used colors in my designs, and I feel that rule has made me a better Graphic Designer overall.
Being a social media Graphic Designer for the VA with this internship has been very rewarding so far, as I am always looking for challenging projects in the internship to further myself as a designer.