My first month as an intern on the TrackMaven design team

I have been working as a design intern at TrackMaven, a rapidly growing startup located in Washington, DC, for a little over a month.

As a way to document my internship with TrackMaven, I designed and developed a simple blog that would include 2–4 word summaries for each day. At the end of each month I planned to write a summary about how each month went, being sure to acknowledge both the highs and lows of my experience.

In short, it was really great.

For the longer version, feel free to keep reading:

Here at TrackMaven, we do weekly reviews as a team. This allows us to discuss the highs and lows of the week, plan initiatives for the upcoming week, explain the things that we are learning on our own for professional and personal development, and review any books that we are currently reading.

The rest of this post is going to follow this format because I feel like it is the best way to break down the month’s events.

Highs

Acknowledging the little wins along the way has helped me build confidence in myself as a designer and as an individual, while remembering to stay humble and keeping the ‘pats on the back’ minimal has helped me stay grounded and focused on the next task ahead.

Getting the opportunity to work and learn from some talented individuals.

The design team here has done an excellent job at making me feel comfortable and a part of the team. They have been more than willing to take time out of their day to show and explain to me what they are working on.

Admittedly, I haven’t fully taken advantage of the “learning” aspect of this opportunity yet, but I have taken some time to jot down questions for the team on paper.

The ability to work with different mediums.

One of the best things this internship has given me the chance to accomplish is working with several different mediums including print design, web design, development, exhibition graphics, and packaging.

Having the opportunity to work on some really fun projects.

One of the most notable projects I completed this month was a set of deliverables for TrackMaven’s presence at SXSW in Austin, TX for this year. Currently, I am unable to share more details about this project, but I plan to share more about the process at a later date.

Illustration for TM -Talks.

Illustration for “The Power Of Real-Time Marketing Shines At The Oscars“

I have also been given the opportunity to work on my illustration skills by creating blog illustrations for the marketing team, which are currently being used on the TrackMaven blog and on other social media channels. Two of my favorite illustrations created were for TM -Talks, TrackMaven’ weekly lecture series and the other was for an analysis of real-time content marketing at the Oscars.

Lows

When there are highs, you often find that the lows are not too far behind. With that being said, these are the observations that I have perceived as being lows. I have acknowledged these points as areas that I need to improve upon.

Learning to be vulnerable.

Knowing when to speak up.

Getting over my fear of being wrong.

Coincidentally, these are personal areas that I have been actively working on for the past year, but, through this experience, I have realized that I need to work harder at resolving them. I have accepted that these changes will not happen overnight and I know that it will take time, but I will continue to work on improving them. The steps I have taken to resolve these areas have been to put myself into more conversations and to give more feedback during discussions.

Personal Learning Plans

“Personal learning plans (PLPs)” are TrackMaven’s way of encouraging employees to learn about new techniques and styles that are related to their field and position.

Since I am looking to strengthen my skills as a visual designer, this past month I explored:

  • animating svgs
  • implementing gulp

Animating svgs did not go as well as planned and I ended up abandoning it after two weekends in favor of other learning projects. I do plan on revisiting this in the near future.

Following through with a suggestion from Wade, one of TrackMaven’s Front-end Developers, I decided to give gulp, a Javascript taskrunner, a shot. I wanted to see if I could implement it into my web design and development workflow. I was able to create an extremely basic gulp file and implement it into a small test project, but learning the ins and outs of gulp will allow me to take full advantage of its abilities. After this exploration, I have decided to continue working on this project through the coming weeks.

Books

A few weeks after I began interning, I joined a newly established book club called DistrictUX, which is “A new book club for UXers and UX enthusiasts to share, discuss, and expand our knowledge together”. It, also, happens to be hosted monthly at TrackMaven.

For the book club we are reading “Just Enough Research” by Erika Hall. At the halfway point, I’ve found the book to be incredibly handy and resourceful. It has provided a solid base for the best practices of research, something that was never fully emphasized while I was still in school. I’m excited to finish reading the book and I have a feeling I’ll be referencing it more in the near future.

Looking Forward

All in all, my first month went really well. The amount of things I have learned in this short span of time leaves me highly optimistic that the next four months will be equally as rewarding.

I am looking forward to working on the lows that I have discussed as well as exploring new techniques with mini-side projects, whether they are for design or development.


Originally published at ruffconcepts.tumblr.com.

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