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Mason Gentry is a designer & art director from Los Angeles. He runs Design by Numbers, a program created to help students learn graphic design online. For free tips on learning design, sign up to his mailing list here.
The blank Photoshop document glows in front of you. You've been trying to design a website for an hour but it's going nowhere. You feel defeated. You were in this same predicament last month when you couldn't design a website for a project at work. As a developer, you just feel out of your element pushing pixels around.
How do designers do it? Do they just mess around in Photoshop or Sketch for a while until a pretty design appears? Can developers who are used to working within the logical constructs of Boolean logic and number theory master the seemingly arbitrary rules of design?
My first experience in the design world came through an internship at a small motion graphics studio called Motion Theory. I was fresh out of school and had never worked with so many talented people before. It was intense, difficult and nerve-wracking.
And I loved it. It made me a better designer. And the lessons I learned there have served me well throughout my years as a freelancer. Because my experience was so rewarding, I’ve developed the habit of scrutinizing internship programs at every new studio I visit. I'll share my insights below, as well as insights from some of the world's best design firms so you can think about the application process from both sides.