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.