Paper and printers and ink, oh my!

Hi, I’m Maddie and I’m a senior advertising major with an art direction concentration. This past semester, I was the graphic design intern at the Franklin Institute.

Hi, I’m Maddie and I’m a senior advertising major with an art direction concentration. This past semester, I was the graphic design intern at the Franklin Institute. Not that it needs any introduction, but the Franklin Institute is a science museum and the center of science education and research in Philadelphia. It is one of the oldest science centers in the country. As a part of the staff, I got to see rooms I didn’t know even existed. My favorite being an old storage attic with books from the 1800’s. That attic is definitely haunted!

The department I worked in was a small group of four located in the basement underneath the big train exhibit. Yes, you could hear the train whistle every time a kid pulled the lever. This was just one of the fun quirks of working in a lively historical building. This was my first experience working in-house for a company. It was a big change from my previous experience at a full agency. Some major differences I noticed were how calm it is and how much easier it is to communicate when you are in a small group.

By working on various projects, I was given the opportunity to explore the institute’s many programs. It was interesting to see the personalities that each program brings to the overall Franklin Institute brand. We were getting into the thick of designing for the Science Festival, but that event is now cancelled due to COVID-19.

The Franklin Institute does a LOT of print work. We had multiple printers and paper vendors come in and show us samples and it was fascinating. I didn’t know there was so much to learn about paper, ink, and printing. One afternoon, we spent about two hours talking about invitations and envelopes. This taught me how to design with printing in mind and the importance of keeping track of all your colors. 

I’m grateful for my time at the museum, although it was cut short. I met wonderful, helpful people who showed me new ways of thinking, new ways of designing, and new music recommendations. The Franklin Institute has a small, but mighty in-house design team and I recommend this experience to everyone.

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  1. Hi Maddie, first I will say I adore how printing and ink tied directly to your time at the Franklin Institute, as Franklin is one of our local historical legends most closely tied to bringing the printing industry to Philadelphia. I also find it incredibly interesting that despite the fact that the Franklin Institue appears to be such a large organization with so many moving parts you were still able to make one on one connections with your small team. I think this seems like a really interesting experience, and I really do love small teamwork such as this! My internship over summer term II was also on a small in-house team so I do agree there’s to be said about the value of small teams. I would love to hear more about how the programming the Franklin Insititue offers informed your experience working there. My program was at a community art center so I pretty much always had art, art history, clay and crafts on the brain, I wonder if it was the same for you except with science, technology and train whistles! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!