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Passion for design turns internship into job offer

by Jennifer Johnson,

Womens leadership event

Graphic design major Emma Wiseman BFA’22 had a design internship at Happylucky in Portland that led to a job there. We spoke to her about what she learned and how she became a junior designer. 

Emma Wiseman
Emma Wiseman BFA’22

Why did you choose Happylucky? They do value-based design work, like LGBTQ issues and women’s rights, so that was one reason why I wanted to apply. I heard about it from Professor Kristin Rogers Brown

What was the interview process like? It was pretty competitive. You had to go through two or three interviews, and you needed a good online portfolio. I think they were looking for a strong, confident and empathetic personality that also met their values and interests as a company. Their ethos is “Fear less, love more.” 

Womens leadership event
Images from the Eighteen Percent Supper Club. All photos by Nicole Severson.

What did you do? I helped host, plan and design a leadership dinner for women and nonbinary leaders. That was such a fun experience — I got to learn about environmental design, branding and budget management. 

We made wooden photography backdrops, designed wooden arches that were produced by another studio and chose the photographer, DJ and chef for the event. We wanted everyone who participated to be a woman because it was a women-led event. All of the interns were women and so were the guests. 

But we also did smaller projects — like logos or printed material for Adidas — and edited or created a lot of presentations. 

Womens leadership eventWhat did you learn at PNCA that applies to your new job? My typography and most of the graphic design classes I had were really relevant, and I think my production class expanded my print knowledge. 

My thesis project also helped me grasp a bit of the agency lifestyle compared to an in-school learning environment. I spent about a year planning and designing a clothing line and poster series about the environment. There was a pop-up shop with posters on the walls, and I made tops with screen prints and a 30-page lookbook. 

Did you have any other internships? In 2020, I was an unpaid intern at an online magazine called Grain of Salt, where I did layouts. It was student-led and really cool — I met a lot of people my age who all want to achieve the same goals. 

Womens leadership eventI also took PNCA’s Center for Design program, where I worked on projects for Mercy Corps, Art Zero and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.  

What led to the job at Happylucky and what will you be doing? After Happylucky saw the success of the dinner, they asked all of the interns to become junior employees. My first day was Nov. 1. 

So far, I’ve worked on a logo design for a grassroots organization called Vote In Jail that helps promote access to voting rights to people who are incarcerated. I also helped plan an in-store VIP member shopping event for the brand Savage X Fenty. Right now I’m working on projects for Adidas and planning a second women’s dinner event. 

I’m not sure what else I’ll be doing, but hopefully it will be related to branding and environmental retail design. 

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