This post was written by Amber Collins, graphic design intern during Summer 2016.
Hi, my name is Amber. I am an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago studying Visual Art. I am most interested in analog processes of image making as well as museology, particularly the curatorial design of Marcel Duchamp and El Lissitzky. I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the summer working at the Smithsonian. I interned for the Smithsonian Libraries’ Advancement Office as a Graphic Design intern. With my supervisors’ (Allie Swislocki, Anna Ogg, and Liz O’Brien) vision and guidance, I created design materials for a number of Smithsonian Libraries’ events.
My main task concerned the Libraries’ annual Adopt-a-Book event. In short, the Adopt-a-Book program provides funding to support the conservation, acquisition, and digitization of books and manuscripts in the Smithsonian collection. It was my goal to create a preliminary signature look (see image at left) for this year’s event, which occurred on November 16th. After doing so, I designed all necessary invitation and ad materials. I also contributed to a new, fresh design for an Adopt-a-Book brochure, which will hopefully be used for years to come. To complete these projects, I used Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. Alongside my Adopt-a-Book projects, I worked on all signage materials for Dean Howarth’s Fantastic Worlds Family Program as well as David Bruce Smith’s Art of the Book lecture series.
I am incredibly grateful for my ten weeks with the Smithsonian. Graphic design for an established brand identity, like the Smithsonian, was a new challenge for me. This internship was extremely valuable because I learned to create signage that effectively contributed to a corporate brand, interest, and audience. Working from the underbelly of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History museum, I gained close insight on how an Advancement office functions and how donor gift-giving works. Moreover, my internship experience has strengthened my visual communication skills in a professional setting. This is precisely what I was seeking for the summer, and hope I will have another opportunity as valuable as this in the future. Thank you Smithsonian Libraries!