Graphic design is an art form, but it’s also a creative service that fulfills a need for customers. This spring, graphic design major Gabrie Libby ’18 of Gorham, Maine, experienced the joy of delivering a final product to clients while interning with two local organizations. She discovered that delivering a meaningful product is the greatest reward.

Libby heard about an internship opportunity at Studio Sage, a full-service interior design studio located in New London, through Associate Professor and Chair of Fine and Performing Arts Hilary Walrod. As a design assistant, Libby executed design schemes as well as basic administrative tasks, such as curating the studio’s social media channels and creating documents for sales and advertising. Principal Designer Amanda Raymond works with clients to help them create their perfect space, and Libby played an integral role in that process.

Libby also landed an internship with Red Oak Montessori School in Franklin. Through Colby-Sawyer’ Sustainable Learning Initiative, the college offers experiential learning opportunities for students to work with the city’s stakeholders; Libby’s main project was to design the school’s new identity system. She worked closely with the director and lead teacher to develop visuals that would embody the school’s ethos.

Both internships gave her direct experience working for clients. Libby had been a part of courses where the entire class took on a client, but the one-on-one relationships she developed at her internship sites helped her understand people better.

Colby-Sawyer student laughing while chatting with a classmate.

“As a designer, it is really easy to get caught up in design language that really only makes sense to other designers,” Libby explained, “but being in the field and working with different types of people made me learn how to explain myself better.”

It’s challenging when a client isn’t totally thrilled with a design, but rejection is part of the process. When that happens, Libby relied on what she learned in her foundation classes in design and digital media and got back to drawing board.

All that hard work pays off when a client loves what Libby creates. As they neared the final stages of logo design, Libby met with the teachers at Red Oak every week. It’s exciting for Libby to see them happy with her work. And at Studio Sage, Raymond gave Libby the opportunity to create the idea board, floor plans and space management for a new business moving into New London. It was Libby’s first time taking the lead on a project, and the client said it was perfect.

“Getting to sit down with clients can take a few hours, but in the end seeing that something that I have helped with has brought them joy makes it all the more fun,” Libby said.

Through her internships, Libby’s realized that she loves working with lots of clients. She plans to apply her graphic design major to a career in studio design after graduation, but she’s also learned that like any good design, it’s okay to keep evolving and changing.