Kiwi design grad interns in the Big Appleby Guest Contributor on 06/06/2012
Haylie Gray, a post-graduate student at Waikato University, completed her degree in Computer Graphic Design last year. Over the summer she lived in New York City while interning as a Graphic Designer at Surface, a contemporary design magazine. This photo essay is an insight into her experiences during her stay in the Big Apple.
In November 2011, after completing my three-year Bachelor in Computer Graphic Design at the University of Waikato, I headed to New York on a three month OE. After using the first month to find accommodation I began looking for work in the design industry. I checked out websites including Craigs List and Behance and also researched New York publications. I also took this time to explore and experience New York and visit art galleries, shows and photograph and record many diverse marvels.
I realised paid work in the design field was unlikely for such a short term; I applied for two unpaid intern positions. I was immediately offered both internships and accepted the position with Surface magazine as I have an interest in publication design as a future career. Surface is a high-end bi-monthly magazine focused on being the definitive American voice in the world of contemporary design, ranging from fashion to architecture and interior design.
I started in January and was able to walk to work from my apartment in Chelsea.
Daily perk: Walking past Madison Square Park each morning and then the Empire State building all lit up each night.
The Surface office was located on the 17th floor of a skyscraper on Park Avenue. The floor contained offices for multiple publications under Sandow Media.
During my internship I worked on file organisation, setting up drafts of the magazine layout, worked on other layouts for the magazine and other sundry tasks to help the art director.
A highlight was attending a fashion show due to the style director being busy with many functions during New York Fashion Week.
New York was very inspiring. I enjoyed the skyscrapers, the diversity of the people, the vernacular of advertising and the typography in the subway.
I was thrilled to be able to view so many amazing artworks in MoMA and the Guggenheim.
The amazing experience of being in Times Square for New Year’s Eve will be with me for the rest of my life.
Working at Surface magazine was challenging but also very educational. I needed to quickly adapt to the requirements generated by their aesthetic, their style and their sophisticated level of communication.
I did a couple weeks of traveling in the USA before I came back to New Zealand. I arranged a meeting with one of my design idols, Jessica Hische, in her studio in San Francisco. She was very welcoming and encouraging and I felt very privileged to have been able to talk to her.
My time in New York City was very beneficial and it expanded my horizons immensely in terms of life experience as well as enhancing my design career/knowledge. Living in one of the world’s most influential cities that is such a intense focus of activity was very exciting and the creative industry atmosphere was inspirational. I was surrounded by so much visual culture, and was exposed to such a vast melting pot of different people that every day was an adventure. It also made me appreciate New Zealand for it’s comparatively small but welcoming and skilled design community. Traveling to another country is a great way to develop and learn and I am grateful I had the opportunity to live in an iconic city and do an internship in New York. I was told before I went, “Just go to New York, you won’t regret it.” and I’m glad I listened because it was true and I’m sure it would be the same for anybody who decided to go.
If you would like to see more about my time in New York City, I created a video blog for each week.