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When Student Becomes Designer: Reflections from the IP x Google Internship

The Let’s Hoop Collective needed a new logo. And new social media templates. Did we mention they needed a new website, too? 

As a nonprofit organization launched in May 2021, Let’s Hoop had a mission worth promoting—mutual aid and self-empowerment within marginalized communities. They just needed designers to shape the organization’s visual presence. For this, they turned to Inneract Project students!

Navy blue background with "Client Internship Reflections" in yellow at the top. There is a picture of a smiling Black student on the right side. On the left, in light blue text, it says, “I won't forget how it felt working with a real client on my own because it felt like I was in a big business with all the meetings, communication and deadlines. I also won't forget the tutors because they'll be a big help in the future…they are genuine people.” - Malik, IP student
“I won’t forget how it felt working with a real client on my own because it felt like I was in a big business with all the meetings, communication and deadlines. I also won’t forget the tutors because they’ll be a big help in the future…they are genuine people.” – Malik, IP student

You might be wondering, why would a company turn to students for a professional project? And our answer is, why not? From their first program with us, IP students gain insights into the world of design, learning about principles of the field and how to think like a designer. By the time they’ve reached the advanced level of our programs, students have a portfolio of work and are ready to participate in client internships like this.

An important part of design is collaboration. Even the world’s best designers work on teams, sharing and receiving feedback, support, and ideas from others. For this internship program, seven of our students worked with volunteers from Google, a long-time partner of Inneract Project. These volunteers served as tutors and advisors for the students, helping them think through ideas and strategies, as well as leading on project management—the whole internship was only three weeks long, so sticking to deadlines was crucial!

Navy blue background with "Client Internship Reflections" in yellow at the top. There is a picture of a smiling Latinx student on the left. To the right, it says, "The experience [of] having to email people and get on calls made me feel like I had a real life job…it was very fun.” - Cielo, IP student
“The experience [of] having to email people and get on calls made me feel like I had a real life job…it was very fun.” – Cielo, IP student

By the end of the three weeks, Akeyla, Cielo, Khyrah, Malik, Nathan, Noah, and Sierra had designed the brand identity, social media templates, and website for Let’s Hoop. They were able to practice their existing skills, and gained others that will help them in their future careers—in design, or any other field they choose! 

We asked them, What is the one thing you won’t forget from this program? Some of their answers are below!

Light blue background with a few red and yellow triangles and circles on it. In navy blue text: "By the end of the three weeks, Akeyla, Cielo, Khyrah, Malik, Nathan, Noah, and Sierra had designed the brand identiy, social media templates, and website for Let's Hoop." At the bottom is a yellow and blue IP logo.

Takeaways from the client internship

“I was able to experience how organization is more important, especially in a design field….The pressure and the timing that the project held was not overwhelming, but it taught me how to control my emotions allowing me to get my work done.” – Nathan (Website)

“The experience [of] having to email people and get on calls made me feel like I had a real life job…it was very fun.” – Cielo (Social Media)

“I learned how to take a broader concept and narrow it down. I also learned how to not impose personal bias, and what I’d feel like would be the coolest looking solution, and instead work as part of a team and try to make cohesive deliverables.  I feel like I grew in the aspect of receiving help and feedback, as well as taking inspiration from things without making it feel like plagiarism. – Noah (Brand Identity)

“I won’t forget how it felt working with a real client on my own because it felt like I was in a big business with all the meetings, communication and deadlines. I also won’t forget the tutors because they’ll be a big help in the future…they are genuine people.” – Malik (Website)

How you can get involved!

Are you interested in exploring design? Know a young person who might be? Designers shape everything in our lives, from apps to appliances, and it’s a great and growing field for creative people! 

Inneract Project’s mission is empowering the next generation of Black, Latinx, and underrepresented designers of color. Founded in 2004, we offer free design classes for students of all levels in partnership with tech companies based in the Bay Area and beyond. 

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