This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.
Heaven Robinson is an Emerging Media Masters student working with Breaktime Media as a visual design intern. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.
I am a Visual Design Intern at Breaktime Media. This is a company that produces bite-sized digital content to help shoppers decide what to buy and where to buy it. I am mainly responsible for creating campaign graphics and advertising collateral for sponsored, interactive experiences for consumer goods companies like General Mills, Mars and Unilever. These experiences live on Breaktime’s platform, dailybreak.com, which is viewed by 36 million users per month. My other responsibilities include developing editorial content for dailybreak.com and supporting the creative and marketing teams whenever needed.
What does the structure of your internship look like?
This role is a remote, part-time internship. I was able to set my own schedule, so I work from home Monday through Friday averaging around 24 hours a week. I usually start each day in a campaign stand-up meeting where the team goes through each campaign’s progress and shares any updates. From there, I receive assignments from the Visual Design Lead and Associate which include making edits to graphics based on client feedback and creating banner ads to support campaigns. Because it’s a remote position, I participate in a lot of virtual meetings and working sessions, screen sharing designs and web layouts, and regularly connect with the team through Slack.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
I would say the biggest challenge has been figuring out how to work with their in-house CMS. Breaktime Media hosts two domains, dailybreak.com and bestdailyrecipes.com, through their custom CMS where teams go in and upload content. It was awkward using it at first as I didn’t know what certain fields and buttons did and how it would affect the front end. But in overcoming that challenge, I always made sure to ask questions and speak with people from both the creative and development teams for insight on certain issues.
What has been your favorite part about your internship so far? Tell us a story if you have one!
My favorite part so far has been working on a bunch of familiar brands and seeing the variety of campaigns that Breaktime Media is a part of. For instance, I worked on graphics and banner ads for Oreo, Skittles and Pillsbury crescent rolls during my first couple of weeks. And actually, when I was interviewing for the job, the design assignment was to create a landing page and banner ads for a mock Pillsbury campaign. Then a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to create website graphics and animated banner ads for the actual Pillsbury campaign that’s running live now! Overall, it’s fun working with the different branding materials and creating layouts for products that you see in stores or in your kitchen at home.
How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?
My classes at Grady prepared me for the internship by teaching me the importance of understanding consumers and keeping them top of mind when making decisions regarding creative messaging and design. It’s easy to only focus on achieving client objectives and implementing their feedback, but I’ve found that the most effective work is created once you truly know who the target is and what matters to them. Plus, courses like Graphic Communications and New Media Design taught me the best practices when designing for digital spaces, and introduced me to industry-standard software like Adobe Creative Cloud and Figma.
What’s your advice to other students looking for a similar opportunity?
Apply, apply, apply. You really have to put yourself out there and make yourself available for opportunities. Also, in creative roles, your portfolio is super important, so put a lot of effort into your work and how you present it. People typically see your portfolio and resume before they talk to you, so it’s crucial to make a good first impression and show off your best work. You should also be able to confidently talk through your past experiences and process as you’ll be presenting your work a lot on the job. Group project meetings, presentations in class and club meetings are great places to work on communicating your ideas and building your confidence.
How will this role guide your future career path?
I have always loved design and technology, so I was excited to take on this role that meshes them together so well. I feel that this internship gives me a good foundation and experience working with brands in a digital setting, which is what I hope to continue doing in my career. I have also been exposed to what a positive work environment with such passionate people looks like, and it gives me a reference of what type of culture I will look to be a part of in future roles.
What’s your career goal?
I am always looking to learn more about how brands use visuals and design to connect with audiences, so I hope to explore what that looks like within advertising and marketing in different industries, both agency and client-side. In the near future, I can see myself working as a designer with a variety of clients, in industries ranging from food/packaging to entertainment and media, creating deliverables like campaign graphics for traditional and digital media and presentation decks. Ultimately, I would love to work in advertising and branding, using graphic and UI/UX design to bring a company’s mission to life and contribute to how they tell their stories to the world.
What lessons will you take back with you to the classroom in the fall?
Keep up to date with design trends and implement them in my work. For instance, all the banner ads prior to my internship were static, but since animated ads are becoming more popular, we now make all the banner ads gifs. I learned to be flexible and willing to learn and change in order to create more effective designs. I also learned how to be more open to feedback and know how to ask for feedback. There are constant internal and creative reviews and approvals in this role, so it gets easier to ask, receive, and give comments all for the sake of creating a better design. I will for sure seek out feedback more often in my future work.
How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?
I discovered that I enjoy making fun designs that make for an entertaining experience by making both sponsored and editorial content and games for dailybreak.com. Light-hearted content that’s easy to scroll or click through is fun for me to make and for users to enjoy, so this type of work is a win-win. Plus, it’s been really cool creating these digital experiences for familiar brands and their vibrant concepts so I look forward to doing such work in my career.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Live in the moment and journal more. I am constantly planning for the future, and I now realize that I missed out on taking everything in and getting the true essence of those experiences. I was spending a lot of time thinking about the next week, month, and year of my life to the point that I rarely sat there and appreciated what was happening at the present. And by documenting those moments through journaling and photography, I get to relive them all over again.