DDB LaunchPad SF Winter Internship

We’re looking for folks for our winter internship program. Writers, art directors, designers, digital makers, ux/ui experts, strategists, planners, makers, doers, learners, artists, stay in touch through our Facebook page, or apply by sending a link to your work to intern@sf.ddb.com. 
The internship will run January 7-March 15. It is paid. It is in San Francisco. 

DDB San Francisco Summer Internship

DDB San Francisco is accepting applications for our summer creative internship program which, like other DDB offices, we’re calling LaunchPad. We’re looking for writers, art directors, designers, digital wizards, tinkerers, thinkers, jugglers and pyrotechnic experts. Last year’s program was a big success for us (and our interns–we ended up hiring five out of six of them, and that’s only because one of them had to go back to school), and we’re hoping to keep the streak alive. If you would like to apply, send your name, special powers and a link to your work to intern@sf.ddb.com. Please spread the word.

Two Ways to Spend Your Summer Internship

A lot of you are about to spend your summers interning around the country. When I was a student, I was lucky enough to spend my summer between semesters at GSD&M in Austin. I had some friends whose internships I was jealous of, while others went to places I’d never send my book to. Yet we all had similar experiences, and none of us made or broke our careers on our three-month stints.

But over the years, on the agency side I’ve seen several interns come and go, and I’ve decided that there are really only two ways to spend your summer internship:

1. Work hard. These interns come in, figure out who the best team in the agency is and work as late as they do no matter what. They ask the CDs for advice. They meet as many people as possible and ask other groups for any spare assignments. They reschedule their lives around the agency.

2. Play hard. These interns need a slight brake from portfolio school. They work hard at the agency, but they leave around five or six and enjoy the city. They probably go to more concerts, see more museums, and go on more dates.

I’m not saying one is better than the other. They’re just different. I’m not suggesting that you can’t blend them and do both. But of all the interns I’ve seen over the last few years, I could easily put them in one of these two camps.

So before you create your Adventures of a Summer Intern blog, I’d recommend you figure out which camp you’ll be in, and stick to it. Decide you’re a Hard Worker, and keep yourself from burning out. Or decide to be a Hard Player, and keep yourself from regretting not having done more to impress your CDs.

(We’ve put a poll on the makinads.com main page to see how you’d rather spend your summer internship. Cast your vote, and keep in mind “working hard” is not a guarantee of leaving a lasting impression and landing a job after graduation.)

Strategy as a Starting Point

The summer between my first and second years of portfolio school, I interned at GSD&M. (I don’t think GSD&M has hosted interns from my school since. Make of that what you will.)

We knew the agency was involved in a high-profile pitch, so we asked if we could help out. We were given the same brief as the other four or five teams, and went to work.

At the initial internal presentation, we went first. (Whether we were over eager or being picked on, I don’t recall.) About halfway through our stack of paper the group creative director asked us to stop. He’d seen enough. We were a little off strategy.

That was more than a little crushing. But the real insult was when he went next and presented an ad that was simply the strategy statement as a headline with a relevant photo. Not everyone oohed and aahed. But a few did.

We brought in a ream of envelope-pushing ideas, and you just art direct the brief?! Geez, I’ll be a GCD if that’s all you have to do.

I learned two things from this experience:

  1. Anything art directed is going to have more impact than something drawn with a Sharpie. In group presentations, quality is going to beat quantity. (That said, don’t waste your time laying out concepts when you should be thinking.)
  2. The strategy as a headline is actually a great place to start. And in retrospect, I think that was what the GCD was trying to do. It keeps you from veering off course. And when you’re able to root the execution in strategic thinking, it becomes substantially more sellable internally, to the client, and to the public. (That said, don’t use the strategy statement as a headline as anything but a jumping off point.)

Summer Internships

For those of you doing summer internships, I present the Seven Rules* For Creative Interns:

  1. Find out who the hardest working person in the agency is and try to match them.
  2. Ask for additional projects from as many creative directors as you can.
  3. Show your student book to every creative director, art director, copywriter and recruiter in the agency. No matter how rough it is. Get as many opinions as you can.
  4. Talk to people. Don’t slink off into your cubicle to concept. You’re not Gollum.
  5. Explore. Particularly if you’re in a new city.
  6. Find out what you can expense. Don’t burn any bridges. But you can always ask.
  7. Find out who would be the best person to truthfully answer the question, “What do I need to do to eventually get a full-time job here?” Then go ask.

Good luck. (By the way, these are the same rules for non-intern creatives who have full-time jobs. The only modification is the #7: recplace “get a full-time job” with “become a creative director/get more responsibility/get a raise/run a project/fill in your own blank.”)

* There are more than seven. What ones did I forget?