Lauren Kerr: A graphic design intern’s thoughts on the industry

Lauren Kerr: A graphic design intern’s thoughts on the industry.

We recently chatted with our current graphic design intern, Lauren Kerr, about her thoughts and feelings on the design industry in 2024 from the perspective of a recent graduate.

💡 Why did you choose this industry?

I chose the creative industry as I love how you can use creative techniques to get messages out to people which are engaging and interesting.

I think it’s amazing how a simple sketch or idea can then be used as a base to build a whole brand or identity on, and the different ways this can look.

Graphic design is often overlooked, but it’s a very important part of our daily lives! We’re constantly interacting with it (without realising we are), which is something that has inspired me to become a graphic designer.

I love how open the creative industry is and how graphic design is just part of it. I have a keen interest in other parts of the industry too, particularly photography, illustration and sewing.

It’s wonderful when I can crossover these interests within the projects I do. I enjoy finding out about new brands and ideas and reading about the creative thinking behind them.

💡 What you’re finding most challenging when it comes to breaking into the industry

Standing out from the crowd and making my work seen is the biggest challenge.

There are so many applicants for each job advertised, making it difficult for your portfolio to stand out – there’s so much varied amount of talent out there, also searching for job opportunities, it can be quite overwhelming.

Alongside this, it can be difficult to find the time and motivation to keep my portfolio and website up to date.

Since I started interning, I’ve developed new skills and grown as a graphic designer and would love to be able to show this in my portfolio by doing self-ran briefs. But the reality is that there’s so little time to do it.

Also, geographically speaking, finding opportunities that are Northern based and outside of the London area can be a real challenge.

I’m originally from the North and have made the move down to London recently to help my career get started, as I’ve found that this is where the majority of opportunities are based.

I think there is a North / South divide when it comes to this industry; entry level opportunities are very rare outside of London, as well as the profile of design studios that aren’t based in London.

I think more needs to be done to promote design that isn’t London based, it would help graduates that want to stay closer to home and family.

💡 How can employers offer greater support to people in your position?

It would be great to have more design studios open to having internships, because they help graduates gain vital experience.

What’s also lacking is a variety of mentoring schemes for recent graduates who are struggling to break into the industry.

I’ve tried and applied to many of these schemes, but have been unsuccessful each time due to the large number of applicants.

I think once you start working for a while, it’s hard to remember what it was like to be a recent graduate, unsure of where to go in your career.

So, having extra support from employers on ways you can continue to learn and develop into a professional designer would be help bridge the gap between university and work life.

💡 Now you know what you know, what would you like a government – or the education system – to do for future graduates?

It’s a scary world when you first leave university and realise you are out on your own for the first time!

Of course, it can be exciting as you can go and do anything you choose, but it can also be quite daunting when it comes to knowing what is the right decision.

It would be beneficial to have more career advice about the other jobs and industries you can explore with your degree.

As well as having more partnerships between universities and studios, to help students get experience or advice from current designers.

I’d love to see more support being offered not only when it comes to finding internships and junior roles, but also in finding accommodation when interning for short lengths of time.

A lot of earnings are suddenly consumed by travel and expensive short term lets, meaning that while interning is good for experience, it can be a struggle to afford if you aren’t local to the area.


Lauren Kerr: A graphic design intern’s thoughts on the industry.

💡 What are you most optimistic about when you look to the future of this industry?

I’m excited to see where design can go in the future, with ever-developing new technologies, it’s exciting to see the change in design and how designers work.

I’m also looking forward to learning more about this industry and being able to continue to develop my skills as I grow within my design career.

I’m hoping to have the chance to continue to find out about different areas of the design industry and use this knowledge to help me to decide where I’d like to focus my design skills in the future.

I think the term ‘graphic design’ is so broad now, which makes it exciting to think of where I could end up using my skills.

💡 What’s surprised you most as you’ve started to work with agencies and on client work?

How much more to design there is!

At university, I found I was only exposed to a very small part of the industry, but since starting work I have found there’s a huge range of projects and clients you can work on, along with different sectors that need design to look and do different things.

The different lengths of each project is interesting to learn about too – how some can be in the design stage for weeks or months, while others have very tight deadlines of only a few weeks or less.

I’m enjoying being able to gain experience on each of these and learning how to adapt for different timescales. Alongside this, it’s great learning to work to guidelines already set and making sure the right colours and typography is used in the right place.

This is something I decided while working on my university projects, so it has been good to gain an understanding of how guidelines work and should be used!