Growing up near Seattle, and attending school in the city, I’m well-acquainted with the “Seattle Freeze,” and I’m regretfully complicit in perpetuating it most of the time. However, being part of the B.L.U.E. Program at McKinstry this summer has opened my eyes to the company’s unique people-first orientation. Everyone here smiles, waves and is almost always eager to start a conversation. McKinstry might be the friendliest company I’ve ever worked at.
This summer, I worked with the Brand Services/Communications team at McKinstry to create both internal and external communications. While I’ve been designing as a freelancer for people I know for quite a while now, this was my first taste of being a part of an in-house design process. Having an established process to request graphics and a whole team to support me ensured I stayed organized and hit all my deadlines to keep clients happy.
Starting at a new company is kind of like walking into a class that’s already in-session. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by not knowing the material and the culture of the room. However, having the resources and structure of the B.L.U.E. Program made transitioning into McKinstry feel more like walking into the classroom after just a summer away. All of the interns are in the same boat, which helped us become friends, grow as a team and build a central pool of knowledge.
One of my goals during this internship was to clean up my design work and create on the side of minimalism. I have a tendency to make my designs busy and therefore rather difficult to look at. Working on corporate design helped me strip my work back down the basics and really focus on the fundamentals. Now I can build off that foundation and create stronger, cleaner designs.
I feel my design work has improved through these last couple months. I know how to use the McKinstry style guide to create collateral according to the brand and core values of the company. Creating corporate design is much different in that respect than most freelance work, which typically starts from scratch. It was valuable to transition from overseeing a project from creation to execution to just doing design work. It allowed me to create so many more designs per project because I could just focus on the design aspect.
My time at McKinstry has been so rewarding and honestly invaluable. I will be sure to take these lessons and memories with me going forward!