Internship 9

Internship

4x3 News

It may seem like a myth, but many employers in Philadelphia offer paid internships to young professionals and students. In fact, 4x3 is a signatory to the AIGA Philadelphia Paid Internship Pledge, an initiative encouraging local employers to offer fair compensation to design students.

In an effort to achieve equitable practices, 4x3 complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Within these standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor, students who accept an internship at a private sector business must receive a fair wage that meets the states’ minimum requirements.

The Tough Reality

I have friends that made coffee and assembled IKEA desks all in the name of internships. I once even saw a posting on Craigslist for an “icing intern” - the bakery literally wanted someone to put icing on cakes for no pay.

While I never had to suffer through menial or non-sensical tasks, I did have my fair share of "paid-in-experience" internships. During my senior year at college I turned down many great internships in the Philadelphia area - where I could have learned valueable industry experience and it would have looked amazing on my résumé - because the job was unpaid. (And, in many cases, I would've ended up losing money from travel or rent expenses.)

In this day and age, many employers exploit young students and recent graduates through unpaid internship programs by dangling future jobs, work experience, and résumé boosters in front of their faces. And like a horse following a carrot on a stick, many students fall into this trap because they don't know any better or because they simply cannot find a paid job within their field. 

Legal Unpaid Internships

For a position to be legally unpaid, the U.S. Department of Labor states that a for-profit or private sector business must meet ALL of the following qualifications:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship;
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship. [source]

In many cases, internships do not fall anywhere near these categories. Interns are not glorified secretaries or coffee makers; if so, they would have applied for a job at a bank or a café.

How to Fight This Injustice

Businesses - big, small, private or public - can take a pledge to support the Fair Labor Standards Act.

But I would go farther than this, pledging not simply to meet the Labor Department's unpaid internship exemption criteria but to pay all working interns unless the job falls under volunteeer/non-profit work. Because outside of structured job-training programs or apprenticeships, there's no real argument for unpaid labor. Once businesses begin to pledge other companies will fall in line; until unpaid internships are the outliers within the world of business.

We at 4x3 are proud of our internship program, which pays a stipend to talented college students and recent design school graduates while giving them valuable real-world experience. Our interns have gone on to successful careers in design, landing jobs in Philaldelphia, New York, Washington D.C. and other locales.

Don't believe us? Read about our past intern: Shuchang.

Current 4x3 Internships

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December 2, 2016

4x3 Ideas

We at 4x3 are proud of our internship program, which pays a stipend to talented college students and recent design school graduates at the same time it gives them valuable real-world experience. 

4x3 is a signatory to the AIGA Philadelphia Paid Internship Pledge, an initiative encouraging local employers to offer fair compensation to design students. 

Our interns have gone on to successful careers in design, landing jobs locally as well as in New York, Washington D.C. and other locales. 

This spring 4x3 welcomed Shuchang Jin, a rising senior at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Shuchang jumped in with both feet and proved equal to the task of taking on meaningful design work from the get-go, including redesigning an informational packet on behalf of one of our clients, Friends for Friends.

We asked Shuchang how she feels about 4x3 and her experience so far.  

What first got you interested in graphic design?

I became interested in design after visiting Tyler School of Art, Temple University. I was interested in art but didn’t know what I wanted to do yet. I only knew that I wanted to do something computer related since I prefer the digital platform. 

But after seeing all the work displayed from different majors in Tyler, the graphic design work simply blew me away. I definitely could see myself doing that. 

What is your favorite aspect of design work? What element/s of design do you hope to pursue as a career?

I think that my favorite aspect of design work is definitely design thinking. It also really makes me think of the way visual elements tell stories. I love both print and interactive designs, so in my future career I hope I can find a balance between the two. 

Why did you decide to work at 4x3?

I really wanted to learn about UI design in a place where I can actually participate. I didn’t want to be stuck in a huge place where the intern just does nothing except for coffee runs... also never being able to actually meet with the Creative Director since the intern is just always neglected. I wanted to participate in a design firm where I can get projects and know what is actually going on. 4x3 definitely seems to be the perfect fit.

4x3 also does paid internships, which is really important because it puts value in design.

How has working at 4x3 helped you understand the Web design and graphic design business better?

Working at 4x3 really helped me understand Web design better since I am able to update and monitor websites by using Drupal. I also learn by watching the designer working with Drupal and CSS. 

I also learned about the business of design since listening to client conversations helps me understand what clients are looking for, as well as pricing. 

Has anything surprised you about the internship? 

I was surprised that I didn’t have to make any coffee or go on coffee runs. Since those seemed to be the most important job of the typical intern. I was able to do actual design work all the time. 

What’s your favorite part of the internship so far?

My favorite part of the internship is definitely working on the Friends for Friends welcoming set. I like having a whole project to myself. I also like having a glance into the real world of design by coming in almost every day of the week, which is helping me learn a lot about how different design is from school. 

Why is it important to have a paid internship? What does it tell you about how 4x3 values your talents?

I think a paid internship puts value in design. Since most people really undervalue design and think that you should just design logos or posters for free (or $5), and art is something that you do for fun. I think most unpaid internships just result in the intern not doing anything but just “shadowing” over the workers, which doesn’t help learning at all.

June 21, 2016
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4x3 Ideas

There’s a new college intern at 4x3. Last week we welcomed Katie Larsen, a rising senior at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, to our Ardmore office. Larsen, a graphic and interactive design student, hopes to land a job after college applying her design skills across print and digital platforms.

Larsen was looking for an internship in or near Philadelphia that offered the opportunity to explore interactive (digital and print) design, as well as work on responsive, rich media websites. At 4x3, Katie will get to do everything from working in a state-of-the-art Drupal CMS to designing t-shirts. Plus, she gets to participate in the process of finding solutions to a wide range of client needs.

“It’s been useful to be exposed to that already, even just hearing the conversations the office is having in dealing with clients and how to think about approaching Web design [in a real-world environment],” she says.

Paid Internships Matter

Another big factor in Larsen’s decision to work with us this summer is that she will be paid for her efforts. 4x3 is a signatory to the AIGA Philadelphia Paid Internship Pledge, an initiative encouraging local employers to offer fair compensation to design students, “in an effort to uphold the value of design, support better business practices and encourage meaningful experiences for interns.”

4x3 is proud to participate in this effort and support students like Katie.   

“The ultimate goal is to be paid to be creative, and college is a stepping stone on that path,” Larsen notes. “I feel if I only had the option of an unpaid internship I would probably rethink what I was doing in college. I view it as an investment and, working for free, I feel like that’s indicative of not really learning valuable skills or skills that can translate into something in the real world.”

May 20, 2015
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4x3 Ideas

So! Part two (Here's part one if you haven't read it yet)!

My internship started a week after school ended and I planned to stay until the week before school started. Four days a week, from 9 to 4. I didn't have any super big plans for summer so my goal was to focus on my personal creative work and learning as much as I can in the "real" design field. The night before my internship I was really excited. It was like the feeling you get before the first day of school...but it wasn't school. 

I'd say the biggest thing I learned was working at a faster pace because of tighter turnaround times. The work pace caught me by surprise a little bit at first, but I adjusted quickly and the faster work pace has helped me become more confident in my design decisions. At school, we have a good month, or sometimes the whole semester, to develop and execute our projects. But at 4x3 I'd be given things due in a couple days or within the week. Time becomes precious, of course this is also true with school, but for me there's more of an expectation when designing for actual clients and not audiences in theory. 

I'd say another big thing I've learned during this internship is accuracy. At school I make up fake addresses on my projects' business cards or make fake dates and times for invitation assignments. But in the real world, that doesn't happen. Sometimes I'd be asked to update schedules for sports practices and I'd triple check to make sure everything is correct. Don't want someone to turn up at a practice only to hear crickets all because the intern wrote the time wrong! 

I would say the slight sacrifice to interning was not having as much time as I wanted to work on my personal art/design work. I'd come home from my internship, nap, eat dinner, hangout, do some freelance work, and before I go to bed I always think, "Man! I could've done some art today!" Personally as an artist I find that doing work for yourself is a breathe of fresh air and I wish I had more time during the summer to do that. But! The very very very nice thing about working for a certain time each day is that when I come home I don't have to worry about homework like at school. I like how my "work life" is separated from my "home life" while at school it feels like my work life is practically my home life haha. 

I got so many cool projects out of the work I did at 4x3 from rally towels, pint glasses, trophies, website design, brochures, business cards, letterheads, t-shirts - the list goes on and on. And I've defenitely noticed an improvement in my type skills from interning here (I look at my type in the work I did last spring and I'm already like I need to change this, this, and this). I have never designed on such a variety of material which was very new and very fun for me! And to see my work on actual things makes me a bit giddy inside. I've heard that internships tell you whether you're in the right field or not and I'd have to say my internship with 4x3 has made me even more excited for my future as a graphic designer :) 

September 22, 2014
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4x3 Ideas

This is a question that I've been getting alot lately from family, friends and curious underclassmen. So! Here's my little blog post about my internship with 4x3 :) I have a lot I wanna talk about, so I'll be splitting this post into two parts. This part will be about how I found it, and next will be about the internship and what I've learned from it. 

Flashback to December 2013. I think the question in most, if not all, the junior design majors' minds was: "Where the heck am I going to get an internship???"

At that time I had started my search for a summer internship. (I know, December—that's really early, Kristina!) I had just finished my first real Web design course. I was pretty stoked about CSS and building sites and I was already registered for an interactive class for next semester. I was open to any design internship, but with my new love for Web, I felt like a Web design internship would be a great way to grow. 

Anywho, around that time one of my professors posted an internship opening for 4x3 on LinkedIn. I had heard of 4x3 before, just wasn't sure where (later I realized my very awesome-talented-lovely-cool friend Carol Ly had interned there before and I remembered she had mentioned 4x3 a couple times). What first caught my attention was the location and the fact that it was a web design firm. I am also from the Main Line so it's pretty close (takes less than 10 min. for me to get here!). I did some research on 4x3, and what really got me was the amount and the variety of work they've done in web. So many different clients! So, I sent a pdf of some of my work to Amy hoping for a possible reply...and I got a reply the next day!

I think I interviewed two weeks later at the firm with Amy, Rachel, and Stephen. I was a bit nervous. I've never presented my design work for a job before. But as soon as I walked in I already liked the work atmosphere. Everyone was so chill and by the end we were talking about the most recent episode of Sherlock. What surprised me was the amount of print projects they've also done along with their web work. And as a design student I thought it would be a great oppurtunity to practice and use my web and print skills. After the interview, I felt like I was a good fit for 4x3 and I was really excited to start working for them in May :) 

Stay tuned for Part II: Design Internship, Part II »

 

September 15, 2014
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4x3 is looking for Graphic Design majors with web design skills and Marketing or Journalism majors looking to learn more about social media and content development to fill part time internship positions in our Ardmore, PA office.

Qualifications & Expectations for Design Interns

  • Great Communication & Interpersonal Skills
  • Significant Self-Motivation
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Ability to Multitask, Prioritize & Organize
  • Excellent Writing Skills (Pertaining to Social Media, Blog, etc.)
  • Experience & Interest in Graphic Design & Website Conceptualization
  • Experience with Website Design and design for Content Management Systems preferred
  • Pending Bachelors Degree or Degree in Graphic Design, Marketing, or Computer Science Preferred

Come work with our talented team in a creative environment. This is a paid internship – minimum of 20 hours a week. Please forward your resume and work samples (if relevant) to amysiano@4x3.net. No phone calls please.

January 7, 2013
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4x3 Ideas

The chart shows just a few of the many things I learned in the office. In the past few months I have also learned how to work as part of a design team and how to prepare for and take part in a meeting. Along with all of the things I have mentioned, I have also grown as a designer and as an individual. I had a wonderful experience and couldn’t have asked for a better first internship.

The bar has been set for future employers, after working for Amy and Stephen I will be expecting a lot and am truly grateful that they gave me the opportunity to be a part of their team.

How to Work with an Art Director

Some of the things I learned from working with Amy as my art director include, how to work from a creative brief, that it is important to do multiple rounds of edits, helpful InDesign shortcuts, what to expect at a press check and that it is important to stand up and walk around the office (it will make you smart!).

How to Work with a Developer

When working with Stephen I learned: how important trial and error is, how to update different Drupal and CMS websites, to refresh pages constantly, and how to work with what feels like thousands of windows open.

Drupal Websites

I learned how to update, create and sort content on the websites for many of 4x3’s clients (ie - EPRU, National Arts Program, Morris Rugby, Ivy Rugby, My Favorite Plumber, Norris Sales and Norris Party Rentals).

Print & Digital Newsletters

I learned to design newsletters for both print (the National Arts Program Newsletter) and for digital use (the EPRU Rugby Report). I learned that designing a newsletter is basically designing a template, it must be easily updated and changed for every issue.

Email Etiquette

Not only did I learn how to have professional email correspondence with current and prospective clients, I also learned how long it can take to check and return emails in the morning.

Rugby

From the moment I walked into the office I realized it’s a rugby world, all we do is live in it, but I still don’t think I could explain the difference between a scrum and a line out.

Excel

Who knew that I eould learn how to use Excel Spreadsheets better in a design and development office? (Thanks Stephen)

Christina Minopoli, 4x3 Summer Intern Philadelphia University '13

August 1, 2012
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4x3 News

We are looking for graphic design majors with web design skills, marketing or journalism majors looking to learn more abut social media and content development to fill part time internship positions in our Ardmore, PA office.

Qualifications & Expectations for Interns:

  • Great Communication & Interpersonal Skills
  • Significant Self-Motivation
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Ability to Multitask, Prioritize & Organize
  • Excellent Writing Skills (Pertaining to Social Media, Blog, etc.)
  • Experience & Interest in Graphic Design & Website Conceptualization
  • Experience with Website Design and design for Content Management Systems preferred
  • Pending Bachelors Degree or Degree in Graphic Design, Marketing, or Computer Science Preferred

Work with our talented team in a creative environment. This is a paid internship – minimum of 20 hours a week. Forward your resume and work samples (if relevant) to amysiano@4x3.net. No phone calls please.

April 5, 2012
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4x3 Ideas

AIGA Philadelphia is making a concerted effort to support the ethical treatment of professional designers and students in the workplace. In an effort to achieve equitable practices, we are ceasing to post unpaid internships to our job site and urging our members to pledge compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

AIGA Philadelphia: Fair Labor Standards Act

4x3 supports this initialtive and has pledged to honor the law and fairly compensate the design students they may employ in the future.

October 3, 2010
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