Thoughts From Our Intern


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Hi everyone! My name is Alex. It has been such a great experience interning with Citizen Creative this spring as part of a requirement to graduate from my high school. At the beginning I didn't know what to expect from my internship. What I thought was just a burdensome requirement became an experience that will impact me forever. Everyone is nervous about his or her first day of work, myself included. What should I wear? Casual? Formal? What will my first day be like? Will she be strict? Relaxed? As I took my first steps into Citizen Creative's, I was amazed at the comfortable and friendly atmosphere that Jill Spaeth created. Before starting this internship I knew absolutely nothing about developing a wayfinding signage program or incorporating a space identity concept into a corporate interior. As I came to Jill's meetings and photographed Citizen's work, I got a true sense of what it is and how big of an impact it can make on a building and a corporate environment. Citizen Creative successfully uses space identity to share the stories that her clients desire to portray. Citizen Creative also has mastered signage design strategies, using the intricacy of designs on the signs to complete the overall theme and feel of the building. For wayfinding signage to be successful, it must lead you to your destination effortlessly, as though the signs were not there to begin with, which is exactly what Citizen Creative does! Even beyond the techniques of wayfinding signage and space identity design, I learned several lessons that I did not expect. I thought I could share with you some key things, both serious and comical. 7 Things I Have Learned at Citizen Creative:

  • Referrals and networking are crucial in receiving new clients.
  • Listen to your clients. Do everything you can to understand their goals so that you produce the best result.
  • It is not only how the design of the sign or installation looks but how they connect with both the building and employees working there.
  • The most important skill to succeed is a sense of drive and dedication to your passions.
  • When driving into DC at 6 PM, give yourself at least two hours.
  • When a cat bites you, it will becomes infected 99% of the time.
  • Cipe Pineles is one of the most well known graphic designers of our time.

There is a certain sense of pride associated with describing signage to others. Who knew that signage design was so detailed and specific? Now, as I drive through DC or just simply walk through a building, I will be able to really understand and admire every sign and design; I can begin to realize that each sign with its intricacy and purposeful simplicity makes such a difference in buildings that other people may fail to realize. Throughout the two weeks of my internship, I would speak to my other classmates and ask them about their own internship. They would respond with negativity, “All I am doing is going out and buying them coffee…”. I think about how fortunate I have been to be able to intern with such an experienced graphic designer while also obtaining experience of my own. Being a high school student and starting college, I don’t often get real world applications with one of my passions. Being able to walk in the shadow of a very prominent mentor allows me to see what my life might be in the future – and it is incredibly exciting! Thank you Citizen Creative!  

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