Summer 2019 has truly been brilliant — thanks to my graphic design internship at Brllnt.
While taking a much needed three-month break from my graduate courses at MICA, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with an awesome team, grow my design process, and gain insight on the business of design.
Here are 4 lessons I learned about deadlines, skill sets, business, and culture from my time at Brllnt.
The Truth About Deadlines
One of my biggest learning curves was working faster and more efficiently. I became accustomed to grad school pace, working on projects with only myself as the client. If deadlines have flexibility, don’t be afraid to communicate with the team if your falling behind or need help.
Lesson #1: In a studio or agency environment, turnaround times are fast.
Your Skill Set is an Asset
Everyone has something to bring to the team. I brought my branding and motion graphics skills with hopes of strengthening them. Since I was given creative flexibility, I decided to incorporate motion into Brllnt’s newsletter and social media design. I pushed my illustration skills to the next level with the design of a magazine cover for a fintech company. (I’ve since added mortgage lending, compliance, and CFPB guru to my resume.)
Our studio’s design and marketing teams work very closely, which is a huge plus. Sharing our skill sets through project collaboration makes for an overall smoother project.
Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid to try out that new technique or software to add to your skill set.
The Business of Design
As part of a small but rapidly growing studio, I’ve learned about the business of maintaining a creative studio. Brllnt went from a coworking space in Navy Yard to their own office in NoMa. The patience, planning, and trust in the process it takes to expand is a true testament to the awesome future that lies ahead.
In 2014, I finished undergrad with a creative brief, invoice, and contract terms as the tools of business management. The creative industry has evolved to SOWs (scope of work), proposals, pitch decks, and other processes that provide clarity and trust between the client and studio. While involved in Brllnt’s business development processes, I’ve been able to ask questions and apply what I’ve learned to my freelance business.
Lesson #3: Business development is an ongoing process. It’s important to treat your own business like a client, not as an afterthought.
I love Brllnt’s desire for continuous growth. Last month we met for Brllnt’s 2020 Vision Session. We reflected on where the company is, where we want to be, and each team member’s goals for the company, emphasizing that the team’s growth is just as valuable as the clients Brllnt works with.
Here’s a peek at my notes from the Brllnt 2020 meeting:
- How to shed the best light on who you authentically are?
- What is our next potential and how do we meet it?
- Are we allowing things to take time to grow?
- Graphic design and marketing are often perceived in different ways. How do we reshape marketing?
- What is design? What is marketing? How can we make others understand that they are one in the same.
- Genuine humaneness
- People empower to create connections between people
- Set expectations
Lesson #4: Understanding each team member’s values along with the company’s direction helps everyone stay aligned with the same purpose.
The Brllnt team brings so many cool personalities together to make great work happen. We aren’t forced to conform to the Brllnt brand, instead we are the Brllnt brand as our true selves. Although my internship position is temporary, my input was encouraged and valued. Everyone has the opportunity to be part of the conversation.
All in all, my summer was full of Brllnt ideas, people, and growth. But the biggest lesson learned: office pets bring out your best side — even on your roughest day! (Special shoutout to Hugo, Kona, Cinna, and a guest appearance from Dusty.)