I'm asked a lot why a summer internship from 2005 is still in my portfolio. And in reality, I'm not sure I have a good answer. But my goodness, just look at that fabulous headshot for my ID badge. Take a look at a few of my favorite projects from the kookiest gig of my life (so far).
"Starting next week, you're employees of IBM. You're not interns. You're valued members of the team." I doubt I'll ever forget how that made me feel — because even though the next four months of my life would be spent building zany design trinkets for a very specific division of IBM — those words were all the confidence I needed to get started.
In any managerial, director, or team leader position I've ever had, I've tried to remember the way my internship instructor made me feel at orientation. For me, those words made the difference between a laid back summer and learning something.
In the image here, you can see me hard at work (pre-beard, no less). Oh, and my mom showed up on my birthday with cake for the entire department. Nothing says "I'm a serious member of the team" like your mom showing up unannounced with birthday cake and balloons. Still not sure how she got past security.
My creativity was tested early — as in, within the first 20 minutes of being at my desk. My first project for the summer was to design and help assemble a backlit wall sign. The design didn't go to fabrication until after my internship was over, and my IBM Mentor never sent me any photos, but this was the mock up I set forth for the design.
As the internship progressed, my Mentor and our team copywriter really started to get goofy with the projects they sent me. I was tasked with creating two more wall signs, both would eventually be backlit.
The backstory: In March 2005, a random woman (having nothing to do with IBM) said she found a finger in a bowl of Chili at Wendy's. She lied. But somehow that was the copy I ended up with for one of the two signs. The other sign was a spoof on a popular Motel 6 commercial. You might remember hearing "I'm Tom Bodett and we'll leave the light on for you."
Arrows held together with a single dowel and a weighted bottom spun around each cube any time the air conditioning kicked on. Messages like: "I don't sleep. I code.", "Ask me about my prototypes!", "This guy loves a good danish", "Do not disturb. Ever.", "My face isn't business appropriate.", "Where can I get a good margarita?", and "There's a dress code" donned the arrows as they picked their victims.
This may have been one of the more creative things I had my hands in during my time at IBM, mainly because it required me to think about my art three dimensionally. My minor in Interactive Art Philosophy helped me out though! Who says college minor's are useless?
The big challenge was getting the arrows to spin. I not only had to build the artwork and come up with a way to hang it, but then I had to make it swivel and turn. Looking back, this was so fun to create — but in the moment, trying to figure out the logistics was quite the challenge!