http://internship.dreamture.net is the new blog of this summer's design intern at the UX department here in telerik, where Dimitar Raykov will regularly upload his ongoing work on the weekly internship assignments. Following a successful attempt to accommodate an intern a couple of years ago, this summer we wanted to expand the effort with a program that gives not just a preview of an actual work environment, but also has a more academic side to it with a chance to experiment within the design practice. Before I laid out the program I did some research on existing programs elsewhere but failed to find usefully structured information, so I though I would share our experience online to help jumpstart other professionals' efforts.

We separated the program in two parts - a part of the week the intern is involved with hands-on, real-life projects at Telerik, attending specification meetings, design critiques, and planning routines. This gives a chance to preview corporate culture, have a taste of team spirit work, and train responsible, accountable work ethics. The other part of the program gets more creative - each week Dimitar was given a brief to complete, targeting different design skills. This is the full program plan:

 

Objectives:
Introduce student to creative thinking and basic visual design concepts within the context of digital media. Offer a chance to experiment within all digital media genres and begin to formulate a personal artistic statement/direction.

Internship modules:
I. Creativity/Conceptual Thinking - 5 weeks
Challenges student to think outside the box. Evaluation of original ideas and creative concepts, not quality of design.

II. Visual Design Skills - 4 weeks
Introduction to basic visual design concepts and practical training.

 

I. Creativity/Conceptual Thinking
Weeks:
Day 1 - Design Map
Brief: list your top 5 design inspirations and/or influences. Find an object that represents the kind of design you want to be doing. Create a map that shows how your influences/inspirations link/lead to your goal.

Week 1 - Breaking the rules
Brief: Design a web-site/blog without the use of a computer
Outcomes: break with the computer as a medium, appreciate projects as messages that can be applied to other media equally well.

Week 2 - The empty photograph
Brief: Take a picture of an event that didn't happen
Outcomes: train creative thinking/observation. Introduce photography as a medium.

Week 3 - Designers as stars
Brief: publish a video online and get at least 2000 views by the end of next week
Outcomes: train creative thinking/ethnography research. Introduce video as a medium.

Week 4 - Interactive Architecture
Brief: think of ways to change the telerik office building so that it helps all employees understand better what User Experience is.
Outcomes: train creative thinking. Introduce interactivity as a medium.

Week 5 - Social Responsibility
Brief: choose an issue you want to support and find a way to raise awareness about it.
Outcomes:  train creative thinking. Introduce importance of social responsibility within work.

 

II. Visual Design Skills
Week 6 - layout

Brief: Design a personal web-site using layout to express happiness.
Outcomes: grasp the basics of layout theory/grids.

Week 7 - color theory
Brief: Design a personal web-site using color to express happiness.
Outcomes: grasp the basics of color theory.

Week 8 - typography
Brief: Design a personal web-site using type to express happiness.
Outcomes: grasp the basics of typography.

Week 9 - motion
Brief: Design a personal web-site using motion to express happiness.
Outcomes: grasp the basics of motion theory.

Follow-up Project
Brief: Design a personal web-site combining all design aspects to express happiness.

 

So far we're in the middle of the process, so it is a bit early to evaluate the success of the plan, but I hope this would be a useful starting point for anyone looking to set up a design internship program at their company focusing on digital media.

Please, do have check back what's new at http://internship.dreamture.net, any comments or feedback you might contribute to Dimitar's work will help make this a more successful program.


About the Author

Iana Tsolova

is Product Manager at Telerik’s DevTools division. She joined the company back in the beginning of 2008 as a Support Officer and has since occupied various positions at Telerik, including Senior Support Officer, Team Lead at one of the ASP.NET AJAX teams and Technical Support Director. Iana’s main interests are web development, reading articles related to geography, wild nature and latest renewable energy technologies.

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