Vox Media's design interns, redesigning the way you see the web
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The Vox product team has grown quite a bit over the years, and with growth comes a great opportunity for local college students to hone their skills through our internship program. Our design team in particular has taken advantage of the vibrant, talented students in the Washington, DC area. Vox Media is always on the lookout for talented college students to join our team and help us build the next generation of Vox products.
We asked five of our DC-based design interns to tell us about their experience since joining Vox Media. Three of them, Ally Palanzi, Kelsey Scherer and Katharine Molloy, have been with the company for many months and have learned a lot along the way.
Ally Palanzi, American University
Seeing as most internships sound pretty unglamorous, I wasn’t really sure what to expect before arriving at Vox Media in May. I didn’t know if I would be getting first hand design experience or if I would be stuck with mostly grunt work.
So what do I do? I actually design things! When I first arrived, I was mostly just observing what everyone on the Polygon team was doing. After a couple of days of not doing a whole lot, the lead designer on Polygon, Brent, told me to start making my own versions of what the other designers were doing. So there I was, my fourth day as a design intern creating typography boards. I figured mine wouldn’t even be shown in the meeting since well, I’m only the intern. But to my surprise they showed it with no hesitation and didn’t even address the fact it wasn’t created by a full time employee.
From that point I realized this wasn’t really going to feel like an internship, but an actual job. As I got more accustomed to the work we were doing, I was trusted with more and more, and even worked on full pages of Polygon.
Absolutely no one makes me feel as though I’m an intern - I’m part of the team. My opinion is just as valued as everyone else’s and I’m always included. It’s been a pretty awesome experience so far, and I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would.
Vox has given me the experience of being surrounded by tons of enthusiastic, creative people who are always willing to work with me and help guide me. They’ve taught me that work can be hard, exciting, and fun all at the same time. I’ve gotten to really feel what it’s like to be part of a team working on a huge project - which is probably the most valuable skill I’ll take from this internship.
Lots of design experience, awesome coworkers, and even free lunch once a week. I probably couldn’t have pictured a better way to spend my summer and I look forward to continuing to be an “intern” here at Vox Media.
Kelsey Scherer, Corcoran College of Art + Design
What do I do at Vox? DESIGN! As an intern with Vox, I’ve been a part of actual design projects. I’m on the advertising design team, dealing with RFPs for many different companies. I use the branding of a company and make the ad placements awesome on each of our verticals. I’ve helped out designing with internal documents, such as presentations given to new employees.
I’ve also been helping in designing new social media backgrounds/cover photos for all of the team blogs of SB Nation. Day to day tasks currently include watching kitten videos.
Working at Vox, I’ve definitely improved my Photoshop skills - it’s what I have open every day at the office. The most valuable skill has been learning how a company works. Vox isn’t just a design firm, so I get to be a part in a bigger company and see the end of a design project as opposed to just handing off your designs to another company.
Another cool thing is the interns are pretty well connected with everyone at the office. I attend meetings that are relevant to the team I work for, and talk to other designers as well as sales people to get a project finished.
Since starting at the beginning of the company, it’s already grown drastically. It’s interesting to have new people coming in so often. I’ve had a ton of fun interning with Vox and actually doing real design work!
Katharine Molloy, Temple University
Being an Intern at Vox means doing real work, not getting coffee or doing grunt work. Originally I made sure all the team blog logos that the amazing Fraser Davidson created for SB Nation were in the correct file format and ready to deploy when needed. Right now, I’ve also been helping to design the new social media backgrounds/cover photos for the blogs as well.
The major thing I’ve learned here is using the creative cloud services. I’m pretty proficient in Indesign, Illustrator and photoshop, which are the main programs I use, but getting to use the creative cloud is amazing. It makes file sharing between offices so much easier, and it really rocks when I’ve had to work from home, like with the recent storms. Just being apart of a larger company that does more than JUST design is really beneficial. It keeps my mind open and I’m pretty sure I’ve learned more than I realize.
No one really treats me like an intern. I go to the same meetings, and I give creative inputs in projects. This company has been growing really fast but every time I meet someone new, they’ve been really nice and welcoming. The vibe here at Vox is a chill one and it makes it really fun to work here.
Editor’s note: Katharine’s internship ended towards the end of 2012. Thanks in large part to her immense design talent, Katharine was hired as a full-time designer at Vox Media.
Two new design interns started at Vox Media last week for the spring semester.
Ashley Hopkins, Corcoran College of Art + Design
I have experienced a few other internships throughout college, and Vox Media’s passionate team and approach to design is exciting. After one full day of work I have met an amazing group of talented people who have made me feel at ease. I am already starting on design projects and I’m excited to take on whatever is thrown at me!
Ramla Mahmood, George Mason University
As an active member and officer of my schools AIGA chapter, AIGA-GMU, I spend a lot of time working to create a design community within our school and helping students get exposure to the professional world. I have been on countless studio tours from D.C to New York and have met many professionals in the field, so when it came to finding an internship I knew that I wanted to be a in place that would respect me as a designer while allowing me room to grow given that I am still a student.
Vox caught my attention because it was a company that had everything I was looking for. It has a huge digital presence with three beautifully designed websites and a team that amazes me by it’s talent. Since I’ve been here, I have had the opportunity to work on real projects and been able to observe the worklife of a designer. Everyone I met so far has been very welcoming and I look forward to seeing where this opportunity takes me.
Despite the seeming majority, not all of our design interns are located in the District of Columbia. Tracey Chan is based out of our NYC office, and she also has important Vox experiences to share.
Tracey Chan, Rhode Island School of Design
When I first started interning here back in August, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. The majority of my education had sent me down the path of becoming a print designer. And well, The Verge was everything but that. I’ve always been enthusiastic about trying something new or going somewhere different (apparently I have a case of ‘itchy feet’ according to some sources), but I still felt a sense of unease coming in that first day.
Fast forward to the present and I can honestly say that the experience I’ve had here is unmatched. There have been a lot of firsts. It was the first time that I saw projects go live relatively quickly, which in turn, trained me to work more efficiently, with more focus. I was able to work directly with the writers behind all the content, and I realized that learning html/css is not the nightmare I made it out to be, but rather a new toy to play with. The dialogue between the design team and I was always constructive, from conception to execution, to iteration after iteration.
Equally as important as my personal experience here, is the work environment I walk into everyday. Though I am much more of an observer than an engager, the amount of dedication, sense of humor, and integrity is apparent, all within the context of a laid-back atmosphere. People go the extra mile here, and people have each other’s back 100%. I can only hope that these are the types of people I continue to surround myself with in the future.
We’re building great things, and we need your talent! Check out jobs.voxmedia.com for our current job listings.