Senior Frankie Reed’s summer internship puts graphic design into practice

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Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

The summer between Frankie Reed’s junior and senior years at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design was full of graphic design assignments: social media graphics and event branding and club logos.

And the Graphic Design major couldn’t have been happier.

All the work was part of their internship with the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, an organization that works to build a supportive and enriching community for LGBTQQIA+ people, and to make Lancaster County more inclusive. Take a look at the Coalition’s Instagram feed: many of the graphics and images shared over the past few months are the work of Reed’s skills and imagination. 

“They’re really busy, and there’s a lot to do,” Reed says of the Coalition. And the internship experience solidified what they’d like to do when their senior year draws to a close. 

“I feel like a lot of graphic designers want to work for a company with projects on the side, and this experience solidified (that goal) for me,” Reed says. “I really like this, having free time on the side when I can do my own stuff.”

pile of LGBTQ+ stickers on a lavender background

Graphic design by Frankie Reed ’23.

The internship experience

Reed’s experience as an in-house “agency” of sorts really began a year ago, when they joined the staff of The Agency, PCA&D’s student-centered, in-house creative agency mentored by instructor Bill Dussinger. By the spring semester, Reed says, they were “bumped up” to the role of task or project manager. That, they say, “helped me learn how to schedule all my stuff for work — helped me figure out how certain things need to be done.”

That knowledge, Reed says, was crucial when they were offered the Coalition’s summer internship position after hearing about it in a design class taught by Graphic Design adjunct Ellie Cochran, the Coalition’s Creative Director. So was Reed’s experience with the art and design school process of critique, in which feedback is offered — and received — to make the final work stronger. That process really began in Reed’s first, or Foundation, year at the College. 

“With (Prof.) Aaron Thompson, there’d be a long-term project but weekly critiques to keep on track, and that’s really helpful,” Reed says. Put into practice at their Coalition internship, Reed says, ensured that whatever they were creating would meet the needs of the target audience.

“As long as I was following the branding guidelines, I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted,” Reed says. “Then (Coalition reps) would critique it, and I’d make any edits.”

The end result of the summer is a collection of graphics, social media images for posts, and branding images for Reed’s ever-growing graphic design portfolio.

“They have a lot of clubs, like Next Generation, a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 19; Qreate, an art group; yoga and tabletop gaming, and I was asked to design logos for all those groups,” Reed explains. “Then I proceeded to make graphics and Facebook banners for events and things like that.” 

And a major internship highlight: designing a 2022 merch collection for the Coalition, which is available to order online

The internship always was a chance for Reed to meld their combined interests of graphic design and illustration, using them both to create what was needed. “When I applied to PCA&D I was torn between Graphic Design and Illustration,” they say of the two majors, “so I could use some of the illustration with these projects and recognize that side of myself, too.”

public service announcement on summer-safe binding designed by Frankie Reed '23, Graphic Design

A public service announcement on summer-safe binding designed by Frankie Reed ’23, Graphic Design

What’s next

Following up on their Coalition internship, which Reed hopes can continue in some form, they say they’re really looking forward to senior year: not because they’re almost done with college but, instead, because it’s time to put plans for their senior thesis into action.”

“I’ve had the idea since sophomore year,” Reed says of the senior thesis that all PCA&D students must complete to graduate. “I’m excited to see what my peers think, and to see how I’ll formulate it entirely.”

See more of Reed’s work on Instagram, at @bupdesigns