inside job – my internship experience at Equus

Transitioning from school to internship, it was definitely a scary prospect. Stories of horrific internship experiences were rife and passed down from seniors to juniors in school, so yes, I was definitely very nervous in the lead-up to the internship stint at Equus. But that being said, I was extremely excited as well, for this was a golden opportunity for me to learn the ropes of the industry.

In retrospect, my experience was actually not as scary as I thought. I was pleasantly surprised to find that interning at Equus is quite similar to school, in terms of the step-by-step, hierarchical approval process. You present your work to the Design Director or Creative Director, then he or she gives you relevant comments and suggestions, then it is time to make further improvements.

Well, come to think of it, one key difference is that I get paid for doing all these as well! Just kidding, monetary gain is, of course, secondary. What matters most to me, are the relationships I have forged with all of the members of the Equus family, as well as the branding-relevant lessons which I have learnt from all of my mentors over here.

Real-life scenario

The internship stint got off to a great start, as the very first week of work saw me participating in a major branding project for a client. What left an impression here on me was the exposure to how the brand strategist comes up with the brand blueprint and naming. As the project moved on to the design phase, I was definitely raring to go and pumped up to do logo sketches and apply skills I have learnt from my Corporate Identity module in school.

However, what I found jaw-dropping about the whole experience is the very fact that the entire design team had only about one week to come out with the logo! One week, as compared to what we are used to in school, is simply way too short! This made me realise that in the real world, time literally waits for no man – clients need the work they have commissioned to be completed not just well, but fast too. I was also impressed by how strict and meticulous the Design and Creative Directors are able to evaluate and analyse logos – literally with just one glance! At the end of the day, although my logo wasn’t chosen, it was still a good experience.

internship at equus

Photo: Rachel Khor
Internship Tip: Versatility

Another point to note is that I have come to learn about the importance of versatility. Although discipline-wise I am considered as a graphic designer, it is important to be able to apply design in the context of apparel and interiors, for example. It is simply not enough to be able to just handle the typical, run-of-the-mill collateral types such as brochures, websites, and posters. For a client project, I was actually tasked with creating a set of hospital uniform designs, and while challenging, it was indeed a great learning opportunity.

Oh yes, there is one other thing which I have achieved, which made me feel rather proud of myself. At Equus, most of the time we have to use Keynote for slide presentations, and not InDesign. The problem was that I had no prior experience with using Keynote, which was a program that I found to be incredibly user-unfriendly and really just frustrating to use in general. As such, I set out to conquer Keynote, by tinkering around with it and doing my own research. Finally, I managed to learn its fundamental functions, and even got to figure out how to do animation. That definitely gave me a huge sense of achievement, and again taught me the importance of being versatile.

With one more month or so left in my internship stint, everything definitely looks good. Also, I am really excited about a hospital rebranding project that I’m a part of, for that means there is a chance of me witnessing my work out there. Looking ahead, I hope I can learn more in Equus and use my newly- acquired skills to prepare myself for the upcoming (and crazy!) Final Year Project.

Find out what it means to Be Equus or take a peek at our work!

Note: As of publication, Hong An survived his Final Year Project and has graduated from Temasek Polytechnic.