The Value of Experience

Starting this year, and running for the first four months of 2019, Hambly & Woolley initiated an internship program. 

We have never had a structured program to integrate work placements into the studio and felt it was time to open our doors to students from design programs in the GTA. We focused on schools that offer a work placement as part of their accreditation. Treating the process just like a job interview, we met with candidates and then collectively chose individuals whom we felt would make a good addition to the studio. As we close our first season, we thought it was a perfect opportunity to interview one of the interns. Theresa Carbonaro is a student, graduating from the 3 year Graphic Design program at Oshawa’s Durham College. I sat down with Theresa and had a chat about her time with us.

Dom: Why were you interested in Hambly & Woolley for your placement?

Theresa: I browsed the Toronto Design Directory for many days to find a place that felt right for me. When I came across H&W, I was blown away by the work. It was clear from the website that the studio has impeccable taste and a great eye for detail. I appreciated the fact that H&W didn’t seem to focus on one particular avenue of design, but instead explored many different disciplines. I have always had an interest in editorial design, so to see editorial work represented on the site was very exciting. 
Dom: What perceptions did you have before you started?

Theresa: I was very intimated. I was familiar with the work and aware of the glowing reputation the studio has. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. 
Dom: How did those perceptions change over the course of the internship?

Theresa: The feeling of intimidation and nervousness went away almost immediately as everyone is very warm and inviting. Looking back, I feel a little silly for feeling so intimidated.
Dom: What did you learn while you were with us?

Theresa: My favourite part about interning at H&W was the opportunity to work on a variety of design projects. Some of that work initially took me out of my comfort zone but inevitably built up my confidence as a designer. I learned a lot about process, deadlines and trial and error. Being able to talk directly to the designers about my work and have them discuss it with me gave me amazing insights. To be part of a project from start to finish taught me what I couldn’t possibly learn in school.
Dom: Any funny or memorable moment from your time with H&W?

Theresa: It is hard to pinpoint one memorable moment, but if I had to choose one, I would say it would be the annual H&W Easter egg hunt. Walking in Tuesday morning after Easter weekend to find eggs hidden around the office evoked a childlike wonder that I had forgotten. The whimsical hiding places of the chocolate eggs found throughout the studio was enough to make any morning bright. Once it was time, the whole team embraced the hunt with a very competitive, but hilarious stride. It was great to see a professional team have so much fun together. 
Dom: What do you think is the value of an internship?

Theresa: I think having an internship as part of a school program is invaluable because it is a vital learning experience. I knew it would give me insights, but I wasn’t expecting how much practical hands-on experience I would get. With the placement being part of my education, it gives me a stronger sense of what I hope for from a career in graphic design. It is a shame that not all students are asked to fulfill a placement, as there are some things you just can’t learn in the confines of a classroom. 
Dom: What advice do you have for future interns?

Theresa: Find a studio that you would feel proud to be a part of. Always be punctual, always be helpful, and always be kind. Speak up when opinions are needed, make your presence known. Take any project opportunities that arise. Learn from everyone around you.