If you’re expecting me to say “I learned German” or “I learned how to work with Jira” then you’re in the wrong place. This post is not a list of tools and software, but about experiences and lessons you don’t learn at university. Also I would like to state that these lessons are totally subjective, but I thought It was quite nice to share :)
Working in a team
During university, I had multiple group assignments. I found them very helpful and interesting although now I see that in every group, there tended to be one leading-type who towed the project forward. This was mostly me, because — you know — I love to boss people around 😂 All jokes aside, coming to Edenspiekermann and working in a team with two other designers (who are way more experienced than me) was something else than a team assignment at university. I learned that give and take is very important in every aspect. Also equality concerning the team members (whether they are a design director or a design intern) helped a lot to create a nice vibe; it really made me feel at ease.
1. Give feedback.
In a team it’s important to share opinions and give feedback on other people’s work. There were many times where I, as a design intern, asked feedback to my fellow teammates, but there were also times they asked me for feedback and I really appreciated that. It made me feel valued.
2. Give up your ego.
This has not been a problem for me, nor have I seen it being a problem for anyone else, but I think it’s a very important takeaway. You’re not the only person in the team that will come up with solutions and sometimes your solution will just not be the better one. You will have to be able to deal with these kinds of situations and not let it get to you, because it’s not targeted directly at you. Also a very important reminder: Don’t take feedback personally. It’s not that your teammates despise you or value you less as a person because you made one shitty teaser.
3. Give your all.
Says enough. You can only do so much. When you put in the most effort you can possibly give, you know it’s going to be worth it. Doing one’s best doesn’t necessarily mean ‘working 24/7’ in my opinion. For me doing your best means to have a productive day not quantity-wise, but definitely quality wise.
1. Take in feedback
A very important way to learn is to take in feedback properly. I’ve mentioned this before in this article but one way or another you will get feedback sometime and you will have to learn how to take it. Fortunately for me, I was already used on getting feedback on my designs in university.
When given feedback, my pro-tip is not to blindly change everything, but to think about it first. If you don’t understand where the feedback is coming from, ask again. Understanding is key and will make you a better designer. Also the other person might be just giving suggestions, it’s up to you to create the best outcome possible, not to do what the other person said. At Edenspiekermann there are no puppets, just puppeteers.
2. Take your time, quick and dirty does not always do it
I was very lucky to be put on a project that started when I arrived at Edenspiekermann. Within this project they really took the time to tackle everything. I thought this was interesting because they really gave me time to come up with a proper solution. I learned a lot by reading articles about UX-patterns online and implementing their suggestions into my own designs. Also, they handed me loads of time to explore different styles or make alternative components etc. which was super nice. Taking time, if possible, is a good thing to do, because you can spend attention to important details and your work is going to end up much more refined than a quick and dirty website. However, in some cases quick and dirty might just do fine ;)
3. Take time to ask questions, dare to speak up and show that you’re eager to learn.
Daring to speak up is also something I’ve learned. When you’re doing an internship you have to ask questions to learn. In general, you learn more through asking than sitting at your computer wasting hours trying to figure this tiny thing out because you’re too afraid to ask. The people there do realize that you’re an intern and your task is to learn, so they won’t judge you for dumb-ish questions :) Also I noticed that this is also the case for regular employees here.
Speaking up in the way of expressing your likes and dislikes is also a good thing to do. From what I’ve heard, if the people that you’re working with know what you’d like to do or what you’re really good at, they’ll let you do it. If you don’t express any interest, you can end up cleaning Sketch files all day or preparing Keynotes. Fortunately, I had no problems with this whatsoever.
But the final and most important takeaway is: Don’t be an asshole. I met a lot of cool people during my internship and I’m glad to call some of them my friends now.
Well that’s it. I think I covered the most important takeaways with this post, at least for me. Also, my internship hasn’t ended yet, so I’m sure I will learn a lot more things.
For the ones still looking for that particular list:
- I learned to work with a version management system like Github but for design files. Really interesting, but sometimes a pain in the ass.
- I learned a lot UX-wise, as the project I’m working on is really content heavy and meant for big target group.
- My German really improved 😝 Guten Tag!
- I learned how to make proper quiches. 👌🏻
- I learned how to implement an RSS feed into a Slack channel 👍🏻
- What the hell, I also finally got used to working with a magic mouse, external iMac screen and an external Keyboard. Am I a true designer now?
- I am a part-time ping pong professional and have a really mean backhand (part-time because it’s only when I’m playing with the good bat)