The Year of the Intern
A living journal for my year of design internships.
     Sitting in my senior level industrial design class at the University of Washington, I received an email with an offer for a spring internship at Smart Design in New York City. This opportunity fell directly in the middle of my senior thesis, and meant taking this leap would force me to forgo my degree some four short months before graduation. To leave felt unconventional, daunting and lonely. To go felt monumental, career shifting, empowering.
     I faced this pivotal question; should I take a year off from my degree with just twelve weeks left to graduate? Would an offer like this present itself in the future? And if I go, will I ever come back?
     Some short weeks later, I dragged my bags up a four story walk up in Harlem. This was the beginning of hacking my otherwise traditional design education, towards creating something I could truly call my own. I turned a controversial opportunity into something I’ll cherish forever - the year of the intern.
 
     Following my three-month stint in New York at Smart Design, I crafted a design tour of internships across vastly different disciplines and locations. I spent a lakeside summer in the Midwest understanding furniture at Herman Miller as the first design intern in its 96-year history, followed by a rainy fall in Seattle designing airplane interiors at global design consultancy TEAGUE. Take a look at some of my take-away's and projects overviews!
Smart Design
Spring in NYC
ABOUT
SMART
Smart Design is a strategic design company that helps people live better and work smarter. Powered by passion and purpose, launching category-defining products and experiences is their specialty. Smart is known for pioneering human-centered design philosophy, which is implemented in the OXO product line, however their range of products is far and wide. 
PROJECT
TYPES + ROLE
Project 01.
OXO Products
Form Development 
Foam Exploration
CAD
CMF Document
Project 02. 
Visual Brand Language
Market Research
User Interview Notation
Synthesis
Inspiration Board
Form Ideation 
PERSONAL
PURSUITS
While working full time at Smart, I pursued an intern project before and after hours. Upon meeting NYC IDSA President, Peter Schon, I was recruited to be the designer for a
Waste Management Receptacle for a 2019 New York City proposal. It is currently being evaluated for its implementation onto the streets - check it out! 
3 DISCOVERIES
AT SMART DESIGN
1. Learn to sprint. 
In the consultancy world, project turn around time can be speedy. Learn to ideate and capture your thoughts in a sprint. Best to be brief and articulate.
2. Word smith it. 
I was shocked by the level of fine tuning that went into specific word choices! When weeks of research is synthesized into design criteria, every word counts.
3. Capture your thoughts.
Taking on multiple projects, with many moving parts, can be tough to keep track of. Jot down all thoughts, questions, etc! A work journal is your tool for success.
Herman Miller
Summer in Michigan
ABOUT
HERMAN MILLER
Herman Miller is a 100-plus-year-old company, founded in Zeeland, Michigan. By the middle of the 20th century, the name Herman Miller had become synonymous with “modern” furniture. Working with legendary designers George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, the company produced pieces that would become classics of industrial design. In 2018, the company decided to form its first internal design team (shifting from solely contract work). In 2019, I became their first design intern, the third designer and only female on this team. 
PROJECT
TYPES + ROLE
Project 01.
Lounge Series
Market Research
Sketching Ideation
CAD + Rendering
Cushion Exploration
Project 02. 
Desk + Storage Series
IxD Exploration
Ideation
Visual Assets
PERSONAL
PROJECT
During the last month of my time at Herman Miller, my teammates Joe Van Faasen and Jesse Hill mentored me through a personal project. I spent a great deal of time researching a gap in the HM portfolio to frame my project direction. From research, ideation, to building a (robust) full scale mock-up. On my last day, I presented my concept to several CFO's and Design Directors, where its implementation is still being considered today. Due to strict NDA's, reach out to me personally for more info on this project.
3 DISCOVERIES
AT HERMAN MILLER
1. Understand your          history. 
There is such rich design history within the walls of Herman Miller. Design does not operate in a vacuum, often we refer back to previous trends and innovative work. I deeply understood this importance during my time here.
2. Talk with passion. 
A good idea isn't actionable until you can share it. I learned the importance of speaking clearly, confidently and passionately when sharing my ideas and comments. 
3. Seek critique.
Seeking critique is the best way to improve your offering. I found myself unsure how to progress with an idea, and summoning to courage to ask for feedback - and I was always thankful I had. 
TEAGUE
Fall in Seattle
ABOUT
TEAGUE
PROJECT
TYPES + ROLE
PERSONAL
PROJECT
TEAGUE is a design company that creates new products, services, and experiences from emerging technologies and human aspirations for a better world. 
Project 01.
Assist Handle
Sketching Ideation
Human Factors 
CAD + Rendering
Full Scale Mock-Up
User Testing 
Project 02. 
Hyperloop Client Proposal
Brainstorming + Synthesis
Inspiration Curation
Client Facing Sketches
CAD for VR Walk Through
I pursued a personal project in addition to my studio work. Focusing on the intersection of accessibility and communication within the travel experience, I tackled the pain points of accessibility design. Individuals with a hidden disability are often at a disadvantage when navigating their travel experience as they lack access to extra assistance. SunBeacon is the next evolution of the Sunflower Lanyard Program. By providing clear yet discrete identification, personalized communication and reduced stigma in this unobtrusive wearable, passengers may seek the level of care they need. 
3 DISCOVERIES
AT TEAGUE
1. Human Factors. 
Whether designing for the intricacies of an assist handle or entire cabin architecture, human interaction is intimately tied to human factors.
2. Synthesize.
After collecting valuable research assets, the synthesis and connection of points is critical to set the path towards the meat of the design solution. Grab your caffeinated co-workers, stickie notes and prepare to sleep in your project room!
3. Learn the language.
Learn your stakeholders! The best way to build empathy for the equal stakeholders is understanding their stance. Break down their language and speak in these terms. 
Journal style inspired by Audrey Levy.

©2019 by Caroline Slick.