The summer of 2012, I took part in the Nike Design Internship Program, the following posts are a re-post with some edits of my previous posts, hope you have a good read!
This summer, I will be taking part in the Nike Design Internship program, which runs for 12 weeks. Getting into the internship was a tough challenge which needed a lot of hard work and focus, but at the end, it was all worth it! In this blog post, I'd like to share with you the process of how to apply, and what I submitted for my portfolio and how things worked out, and hopefully it could serve you if you share the same dream of working for Nike at their World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
If you intend to apply, then start planning early.
The Design Internships get posted on their website around mid January of every year, and I started planning for how to present my portfolio around 3 months in advance, starting in October. You will be competing against thousands of other applicants, so the stronger you prepare your portfolio, and knowing that you've done your best, would at least give you some confidence that you've done all that's in your hands.
Nike offers different categories under Design:
- Apparel Design
- Graphic Design (Apparel/Footwear)
- Graphic Design (Brand Design)
- Footwear, Product, and Equipment Design
- Color Design
- Materials Design
you can refer to their official website for all details: http://nikeinc.com/pages/internships#tab2-tab
As for myself, coming from a Graphic Design background and pursuing my Masters in Industrial design, I felt best applying for Brand Design.
As part of the application requirements, Nike requires you to send them a hard copy of your portfolio. Most printed portfolios which I've seen, are just printed pieces put in a nice folder with the applicant's name on it. I wanted to step away from this conventional way of presenting my work without going beyond the extreme. I came across many ideas, and I applied and tried making most of them, so their was a lot of trial and error involved. I definitely spent a very good amount of money on materials and printing which I never even ended up using because it just didn't turn out the way I had imagined it, or it just wasn't much of a good idea to start with.
After lots of trial and error, my final idea was to make 8 small booklets, each being a project, 8 pages long with each page showing the process and life cycle of the project. I tried to have a variety of projects between Typography, Print, and Branding to present my different strengths in different areas of design. I had also planned to to place the 8 booklets, mixed with some inspirational quotes on some hard stock paper, in a nice box, to present my portfolio as an elegant gift. Finding the box took me about a month, I had searched almost every website, visited all the Art and gift stores within my reach, and called up companies that made boxes from Canada, to the States and all the way to China. Some of the boxes I had to buy in bundles, which I did, but still failed to get a good looking box at the size I wanted. It was my lucky day when I had gone to the mall for some shopping, when I passed over The Body Shop store, they had some special edition boxes made for the Christmas time, with their soaps and products in them, which was just PERFECT for me, the perfect size, perfect colors, and just 1 logo at the bottom of the box which I could easily get rid of. Once that was sorted out, I got my booklets printed, hassled in finding some black foam to cut and place according to the box and booklets size, and got every other detail sorted out. By the time I was done with this portfolio it was towards the end of December.
Yes, it was a struggle, but their was a real strong driving force keeping me focused and making me want to make this portfolio as perfect as possible. If working at Nike, or any other company is and always has been your dream, you should go all the way then. You should disregard how much time it takes, how much money it costs you, and how much effort and hard work it takes. If you're willing to do so, then you have no limitations as to what you want to and can do.
I had mailed my portfolio to Nike around January 18th, and it took around 1 month to hear back from them. One of the Design Recruiters has emailed me asking for a PDF version of my portfolio, I guess at this stage they had selected the finalist candidates for the position, and the managers or creative directors at Nike would go through the PDF versions and make their final decisions. After sending my PDF version, it took about 6 weeks, 6 weeks of pain waiting to hear back, I got my acceptance and offer letter from Nike! I guess at the end it was all well worth the wait.
Every year Nike accepts applicants to their Internship Program in all sorts of fields, whether its design or non design related, this year there will be 17 design interns joining the program, in different divisions and categories. For every position, Nike receives around 1000 applications, so imagine how many people are competing to be apart of this world class design team. For me personally, joining the Nike team and working at their headquarters was more than a dream, and an Internship is a first step of a very long journey, but the point is, nothing is impossible, as long as you have your mind set on it, and are always motivated to push your self harder every time you don't reach your goals, you will for sure achieve the unachievable!
I plan to blog about my Internship experience at least once a week for the next 12 weeks, and talk about the things we do, collaborations, the Nike Campus, etc... If you have any questions or requests please feel free to leave me a message here on the blog.
Finally, I'd like to give a special thanks to everyone I've been in contact with in Nike so far for all their help and maximum cooperation to help me with my paper work and visa documents, i'm definitely very thankful!
I'll leave you with pictures of my portfolio, and what I had presented to Nike: