This summer, Racheal Coyle - a third year Graphic Design - BA (Hons) student at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) - spent the holidays working as the College’s Graphic Design Assistant. In this short article, she tells us what she got out of the experience and we showcase some of the great work she’s done in her time with us. Thanks, Rachael, for all your hard work!

What were you expecting before you started your internship?

I knew a lot of the work was ‘in-house’, which was appealing to me as that is quite a rare thing in the graphic design industry. I could see a lot of opportunity in this role from the beginning as a lot of the projects involved print; so many of the jobs in my industry are digitally based now, so it was really exciting to be able to put what I love most into practice. It’s always hard to know what to expect from a job before starting, but I was excited to see how everything worked! 

How did it match your expectations, and how was it different from what you expected?

I was taught far more than I expected. One of the biggest benefits to this position was learning how to apply my knowledge within the limitations of real briefs. I found that the boundaries of these briefs force you to refine your ideas and think more about the practical applications of what is required, something I rarely considered before working at this position. As a student, a lot of your work can become quite self-indulgent, so this has been a great lesson in honing my ideas for the professional realm.

What kind of work have you done?

I have worked on several projects since starting this position, although there are definitely a few that stand out. One of those was collaborating with the Illustration department in order to create a calendar, a project which I have been involved with from start to finish.

As well as being a lesson in visualization and technical applications, it has taught me the importance of structure and communication within the design process.

Everyone involved has had some kind of input and it has been really rewarding to see the end product come together so well - I believe this exemplifies the importance of organisation within a design role. This has provided me with first-hand experience of its value and I plan on applying this knowledge to my future projects and collaborations.

Are there any particular skills or areas where you feel you’ve improved because of this internship?

Technically, I have improved so much. For example, I was taught how to use style-sheets and typography properly, which has been an invaluable part of this experience, and something that I believe that will benefit me greatly after leaving. My boss, Nicky Regan, has been fantastic, her enthusiasm and knowledge of graphic design has inspired me to learn more and continue to improve.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of applying for a graphic design internship at ECA?

My advice to anyone who’s thinking of applying would be to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and just be passionate about improving. Enthusiasm is contagious - so is a lack of it. Like anything, I think the more you are willing to put in, the more you can draw from the experience.

What plans do you have to do next?

I plan on developing my style and building a bigger portfolio of design.