Learning And Growing As A Graphic Designer

Turning an Internship Into Valuable Real World Experience

Aug 24, 2021 | Kristina Post Content Development Manager, Sagentic Web Design

Erica Haferkamp, Creative Director and Katelyn Geyer, Graphic Design Intern pose together with banner that Katelyn designed for the Cañon City High School Band.When Cañon City High School, Class of 2022 - Senior, Katelyn Geyer stepped into the offices at FEDC TechStart, she assumed she would be their newest intern. “I walked in thinking I was applying there,” Katelyn said. But, after a tour of the offices and a conversation about her interests and skills, it was clear her skill set would be a perfect fit for a graphic design internship with DARE Print and Sign Co. 

Throughout her 5 week internship as a Junior Graphic Designer, Katelyn was introduced to the basics of creating marketing materials. She had her hand in creating business cards, banners, stickers and various other print marketing collateral for clients. She was even given a crash course in Adobe Illustrator to assist in creating the products. 

Diving Head First Into Graphic Design

Although Katelyn had never used Adobe Illustrator before, in her time with DARE she picked it up quickly and now has a leg up in her Graphic Design II Course at Cañon City High School this semester. But a crash course in graphic design software isn’t the only thing Katelyn came away with. “I learned so much from Erica, especially about time management,” Katelyn said. “I had no idea how much time management went into designing really cool logos.”

For Katelyn, the graphic design learning process was a skill that opened many doors throughout her entire internship. With her newfound interest and knowledge in Adobe Illustrator and the design process, she was able to design stickers that were sold at the 2021 Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival. “It’s so cool to see actual products that I’ve made and put effort into out there in the world.”

Putting New Skills To The Test

Kate was even able to help a client at DARE come up with a new slogan, which is now being used in her company's marketing materials. When Dawn Lincoln, owner and photographer at Dawn Lincoln Photography, was having a meeting with Erica regarding her new logo and slogan, Katelyn was invited to listen in and contribute. During the meeting, after listening to the conversation about Dawn’s passion for photography and capturing beautiful moments, Katelyn had a lightbulb moment. “Real Genuine Moments. I said it and Dawn got so happy and said it was perfect. It was my first meeting with an actual company, so it felt really good.”

Despite the learning curve, Katelyn’s hard work always shone through. “Working with Katelyn was extremely motivating as a teacher of designers,” said Erica, lead designer and owner at DARE Print & Sign Co. “She is very self-motivated. She was able to take the lessons that I prepared for her after a brief introduction and create beautiful, original design work independently. She is very responsible and organized and would make an ideal employee for anyone looking for a Junior Graphic Designer.” 

During her time at DARE, Katelyn was even able to find a way to tie her internship in with her other passion - marching band. With help from lead designer Erica Haferkamp, Katelyn designed a banner for the Cañon City High School Marching Band. “I showed the banner to the band director and his reaction got me so excited. That was the best. That was the best project I did.”

Katelyn is starting her senior year with tools that she didn’t expect to have after her internship. She also has advice for her peers: “Internships are fun and you learn so many life skills. I think it’s incredibly important for all teenagers to do some type of internship or work study.” She’s also wrapping up her time at DARE with an impressive portfolio of work, which will continue to grow as she fine tunes her graphic design skills. 

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