Credited: Stylist Magazine
So, like me you’ve decided that you want to become an Interior Designer, but breaking into the industry may not always be plain sailing. Having the experience behind you shows that you have carefully considered your new career path, you’re dedicated and that you’ve seen first hand exactly what it’s like to work in a design house.
I have been lucky enough to obtain at least four great internships on my journey to becoming a designer. Although I already have these behind me I’m planning on embarking on another. Although I’m not an expert, I did want to share my experience with you, so I thought I’d share my tips on how to obtain a great internship.
1. Know Exactly What You Want:
Decide what it is that you want to achieve, what is your objective? It’s clear that getting the internship in first place is the main objective but what would you like to do during your time there? Would it be shadowing designers or getting involved in the marketing side of things or would you like to see all different aspects of the design house. This question also relates to the type of studio you would like to intern for. What is ‘your own personal style’? If you’re going to work for/intern you must know what it is you want and be sure that their style and ethos matches yours.
2. Research Research Research:
So you know what you want, you know your own style so now the next step is to research. As they say, ‘London is the Big Smoke’ and is full of wonderful talented interior design companies. This is where I found all of mine. If you live in London then you have great scope in finding a wide range of designers. That said, there are plenty of design companies outside of London too. Check of The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) for designers and you can also google for designers in your town. For example, Manchester and Brighton have some amazing design studios. Once you’ve found a design studio that you love research them, look at their portfolio and what they do. If you feel that they are the right match for you then make a note of them, get down their details and add them to your list.
Credited: Stylist Magazine
Write a Killer Letter: Design studios are extremely busy and are likely to get tones of letters from perspective creative newbies. You’re letter must be strong, clear and concise. I’m not saying that this is the perfect internship letter but it has landed me all my internships so far so I thought I’d share it with my readers. Here is the main body of the letter I wrote to Target Living (now Tara Bernerd & Partners);
Work Placement – Design Assistant
I am currently studying at the KLC School of Design towards a Diploma in Interior Design & Decoration. Alongside my course I have decided to take the opportunity to obtain some practical experience within interior design, and I am writing to ask if you would consider allowing me to spend some time with your team at your studio.
The length and the exact timing of the work placement is flexible, but I was hoping to spend approximately a few days on work placement, sometime between April and the middle of May 2011.
I am drawn to your ethos and style and I always incorporate good design with a collaboration of inspiration, organisation and timing when developing a scheme. Having learnt to take the brief competently I ensure that I integrate what the client wants to ensure that they not only adore the space but feel great within it. I always try to balance lush fabrics with texture and colour to the advantage of the scheme. I am particularly drawn to your ‘Paddington Penthouse – London Project’ which incorporates clean lines with glamour and ‘Brit-Chic’.
If I was to have the opportunity to spend some time at the Target Living studio, I believe it would be an excellent opportunity for me to learn further about both the commercial and practical elements of design. In return I believe you would be able to make good use of my skills as I would add value to your team. I would very much like an opportunity to meet you and show you my portfolio to demonstrate the work I have undertaken thus far both on my course and in my spare time.
I look forward to hearing from you.
4. Get Your Portfolio Together:
One, because you never know where your internship may lead you. During your internship a position may arise for a designer so having your portfolio ready is crucial. Second, you may be interviewed for your internship and as a result a well polished portfolio is vital to impress your future mentor. When putting a portfolio together make sure it’s work that you are passionate about and where you have been at your best. Ensure that there are know errors and that you can expand and defend your designs from the inside out.
5. Be Prepared:
One piece of advice I will give you is to be prepared for your internship. If you think you’ll be working unsupervised on large projects or given huge responsibilities with interior related tasks think again. As they say ‘you’ve gotta run in heels’ before you can gain that sort of responsibility. Although this doesn’t ring true for all internships be prepared to make tea, answer phones, source images via print and digital media and run errands. You must earn those bigger responsibilities by proving you have the passion and the ability to undertake more serious responsibilities. And it does happen. Whilst at Tara Bernerd & Partners (nee. Target Living) I sketched drawings for a live project, helped to produced specifications and assisted in the production of materials for presentations.
6. Keep Calm & Carry On:
It does take a while to get a call back but it does happen! Always aim high and keep going. Apply to those studios which you feel a strong creative connection with and keep looking. Sometimes it may not be the right time for a studio to take on an intern for example, due to a lack of projects. Either way, don’t take it personally and whatever you do, never give up.
I really hope you all find my hop tips useful. Let me know what you think and if it has prepared you for your internship. Let me know if this works for you.