AU design majors gain from internships (part 3)

Tue, 2014-02-18 12:12 -- univcomm
February 18, 2014

The internship is a rite of passage for every visual communication design major at Anderson University. Preparation starts in the sophomore year, as student designers develop their own visual identities. As juniors, they prepare portfolios and begin a frenzied hunt for opportunities. Because most internships take place over the summer, students hope to have their internship secured by the end of their junior year.

For this three-part series, three design majors share what they have gained from their internship experiences last summer. Previously, Derek Cox described his internship with Vision 3 Creative. In the final chapter of this series, Kaylyn Means describes her internship with Eric Kass, an independent designer who operates his own “fine commercial art practice” called Funnel.

Means met Kass at an AIGA portfolio day, where student designers from all over the state come together to present their portfolios to design professionals. When he offered her the opportunity to work with him, she was elated — and also anxious. Kass operates from his home studio in Broad Ripple, near Indianapolis. As a Pennsylvania-native, Means knew that commuting from home was not going to be an option — and she didn’t have a car, anyway.

In just a few short weeks, Means would have to find a place to stay, a way to get around, a computer and software — and figure out how to pay for all of it. With few funds available, Means knew it was going to take a miracle. But that’s exactly what happened.

With encouragement from faculty and the help of Patty Rogers, AU’s Manager of Stewardship Services, Means was awarded a substantial scholarship from a local family seeking to help a student from their own home-state of Pennsylvania.

“Everything just fell into place,” Means recalls.

Just a few weeks into the summer, she was able to start her internship.

Means quickly discovered that her internship with Kass was not going to be a typical internship experience. In addition to assisting Kass with some of his client projects, Means was presented with special assignments, each with a specific design problem to solve. Once it was a problem with a packaging design; she had to find a way to fix it. While working on the menu design for a bakery, he challenged her to come up with unique, unexpected solutions for the text.

Kass also took her on several “field trips” — outside, to find inspiration from nature; to the mall, to critique store brands; and once, to an antique shop. He also showed her his own design work from college and asked her to critique it.

In Kass, Means found a helpful teacher and mentor. His feedback was always very blunt and direct — and she appreciated it.

“He helped me know my own strengths and weaknesses,” she says.

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.