Interning at Black Design

Their ironic white namecard

I’ve just finished my 6 week long internship with Black Design, a multi-disciplinary design studio.

It was a great great experience. No, there was no tea-making; my colleagues liked coffee more haha. Really, no, I wasn’t subjected to the “usual intern treatment” where I familiarise myself more with the office pantry than the workings of a graphic design firm. I learnt so much, and I got the chance to work on actual projects with them, and sometimes, by myself- yes this was a place where they joked around but also trusted one another, even the new intern.

Here’s what I did: I worked on the publicity material for the Design Thinking Workshop (introducing design thought processes to business professionals); Shiok! A Gastronomy of Singapore Design, Singapore’s presentation at the Asia Design exhibition celebrating prominent local designers and artists (held in London from the 22-24 Sept, grahh I’m going back on the 27!) ; the typographic displays for REACH Hong Kong, (the first Herman Miller exhibition held in Asia, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Design Institute), and got to tag along for setups at MICA and the product photoshoot for our renovation-in-progress website. I’m pretty surprised I did all that too.

So, the 10 things I learnt:

1. Design is a 9-to-5 desk job, or rather 10-to-7, or sometimes 10-to-10 the night before an FA. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had this beautiful daydream notion that design is a very flexible job, you choose your own hours as long as you get the job done. That probably applies only to freelancers. And even so, choosing the hours isn’t really choosing when you’re faced with a tight deadline. i.e. Stop dreaming!

2. 1 draft is not enough, 2 or 3 maybe, but about 10 or more is right. Or maybe it’s just the wet-behind-the-ears intern speaking. But it’s good, and I intend to do this to myself for future projects, even school-based/ self-initated ones.

3. To be open to new ideas. Places from which to get new ideas: People sitting beside you (: , design blogs, design magazines and books (I really should have exploited the resources there more), coffee shops (this was for Shiok!), facebook (hehehe, hey everyone logs on).

4. The importance of typography and layout.

5. Designers don’t just want to design. They not-so-secretly want to become florists, own a bakery, or own a villa in Indonesia.

6. How to prepare work for FA, and actually come to think of it, what FA meant. The acronyms were flying around the meeting and I couldn’t stand it anymore and at the risk of sounding completely stupid, I asked Dora. By the way, it means Final Artwork.

7. Which brings this up- To not be afraid of asking. Most things I learnt I learnt from admitting I don’t know.

8. I’ve undercharged for the couple of freelance work I did.

9. Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore fishballs are different. Taiwanese fishballs are ‘meatier’, Hong Kong fishballs are smaller, Singaporean fishballs are bouncier. From the award-winning critical mind of Jackson himself.

10. Back up!!!


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