NYC internships from a graphic designer’s perspective

Guest post by Erika Graham

My summer internship came to a bittersweet end yesterday, and I still can’t believe that I’ll be back at school in less then a week. As an editorial intern for the Toy Book, a leading toy trade magazine based in Manhattan, I had a wonderful time running around NYC and gaining an experience that I’ll never forget.

In order to fit my summer into a 500-word blog post focused on why a NYC internship might be the best learning experience you’ll ever have, I’ve compiled my top three moments at the Toy Book. I also thought that, since I am a guest on a newspaper design blog, my list might hold a little more attention then a large block of text…

Top Three Moments of My NYC Toy Book Internship

  • Writing a bylined article for a nationally syndicated publication. I was asked to write the story for the annual ABC Kids Show a couple of weeks ago, which was definitely the highlight of my time at the Toy Book. I also got to design the layout for this section of the magazine. It always pays off to get to know your editors and let them know what you’re interested in. As soon as my editor knew I had experience with layout design, she started sending me more projects that involved both writing and design.
  • Meeting Dan Marino. I was able to meet him and other NFL legends at the media party for the fall release of NFL Madden 2012, one of the many events that I attended with the Toy Book. Writing that article might have been my top moment, but getting to participate in private demonstrations of new products and the upcoming holiday showcases was a very close second. Sitting down and playing the new FORZA Motorsport video game while the game developer sat next to me and explained it at Xbox’s Holiday Showcase in Milk Studios is an experience that can’t be duplicated at a local internship.
  • The contacts that I’ve made (and the sweet resume addition)! There is nothing like knowing you’ve made a few friends and really succeeded in your work as the internship comes to a close. I’ve added contacts that I can reach out to at any time for help when I’m looking for future internships, that evasive first job, or where to find the best slice of NYC pizza. Looking ahead to the fall semester, I’ve already had several responses to different intern positions due to my great summer experience.

 It’s not any grand discovery that interning while in college is (or should be) a huge priority. But definitely don’t wait until you’re a junior or a senior to start applying! I’ll be a sophomore in the fall, and while the job search is not right around the corner for me, I know that I’m opening doors for myself by taking advantage of the opportunities now.

As for next summer, I’ll most certainly be back in Manhattan, working for a different publication and chalking up some more “only in New York” experiences.

Erika, Riah and Leah in Times Square Spring 2011


College 2011 mailer from Target includes more than coupons

Target Mailer to 2011 College Students

Target hits the mark in three areas

I don’t typically write about advertisements. But this one deserves the spotlight. The design, the content and the practicality of this mailer is perfectly geared toward my age group – something that I don’t find very often even in newspapers. The heavy weighted paper is also a sign that Target didn’t skimp out when they created this project. It’s a nice bright white, giving the colors a rich and pleasing tone.

1. Content is engaging and pertinent

One of my favorite aspects of this ad has to be the content. SEO (search engine optimization) specialists have already got this one figured out: good content attracts good customers (and gives better ranking to websites). I don’t see many print ads use quality content very often attract customers. This ad does.

Target mailer 2011

The content I’m referring to includes a series of six short blog-style articles peppered throughout the mailer. Written by college students, for college students, the articles offer advice on how to manage your time at college, organize your space and keep in touch with family. It’s great to see content written by peers, especially since the topics are both practical and fun to read.

2. Checklists and coupons are useful

Flip open to the front page and top of page 2 has six brightly colored columns dedicated to the college 2011 checklist – all items sold by Target, of course. But what do you expect? It’s an ad, after all. And if you want to build your own checklist, Target has an easy online layout that lets you shop and build your own personal checklist.

Target 2011 College Mailer

Scattered throughout the mailer, Target included other lists of advice and short words of wisdom from college students who have survived this particular stage of life. I’ve no doubt parents will eat this up just as much (if not more) than their children.

So sure all this is fine for freshmen who still don’t have a clue about college. Target didn’t forget the large population of students returning to college, though. Flip to page 13 and you’ll find 20 coupons, many of which I plan to utilize. Parents and students have reason to appreciate this mailer from Target.

3. Targets audience with appropriate design

Okay, love the design. The colors are bright and perfectly reflect the current trends in college dorm decoration. Page spreads utilize the space well without overcrowding, so it is far from the typical Sunday ad.

Target 2011 College Mailer

And while the prices are easy to locate for all items, they aren’t emphasized. The products stand forefront and are arranged topically. So the page on how to organize your space includes products such as shelves, over-the-door hangers and bed stands to make the most of space under the bed.

Target 2011 College Mailer

Well, that’s all for now! I’m just very grateful to see an ad target my age so well. It was fun to read through and gave me some great coupons.

I hope to cover this a little more in the future, but we’ll see.

Later! Riah