My time at Oxide this summer left a lasting impression. Drew, Mandy, Josh, and Wes were each incredibly friendly and supportive (unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to work with Adam). They are a team of talented and generous people, who helped me learn what it takes to run a successful design agency. There are a lot of design firms out there, but Oxide is one of the best. Now I know why.

Self-portrait by Stacie KotschwarSelf-portrait by Stacie Kotschwar

As I started my internship, I quickly noticed the most essential ingredients to their success are talent and teamwork. Drew, Mandy, Josh and Wes are all highly skilled, but together they are the strongest design team I have ever encountered. They each perform their role without fail, but, more importantly, they seem to genuinely enjoy working together.

The most impressive thing about the Oxide team is how dedicated and passionate everyone is about their work. Each of them finds enjoyment in the creative process and brings that with them to the job each day. From my first hours in the office, it was clear that everyone at Oxide takes their role very seriously, but they also focus on connecting to the people around them and enjoying life, so they avoid just dispassionately churning out one project after another.

During my internship, I learned the level of patience and commitment required to face challenging projects. One of the most valuable lessons was from working closely with Drew and Josh during the concept and design phase for company logos.

When I came to Oxide, I felt like I needed to create an amazing logo to show them I deserved to be there, but that isn’t what design is about. A solid creative process and strong design work are essential ingredients, but this isn’t always a glamorous process — it can be slow and painful. When you are sitting around a table brainstorming and sketching ideas with two other designers, every idea — even a bad one — is part of the creative process and helps the team reach that final version. Every failed idea or wrong turn is necessary. A good designer needs to have the endurance to struggle through the many versions and false starts to come out the other side with a final design.

At the end of my internship, I was invited to sit in on a session with a client where Drew pitched an idea for a new logo design. That pitch session had a lasting impression on me and showed me just how important it is to design with a clear objective and complete faith in what you are doing. Every designer needs to have confidence in their own work and know how to present it to other people. Hard work and dedication are not enough: It comes down to how you communicate and connect with the people around you — both your design team and your clients. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one else will.

Overall, being at Oxide was an incredible learning experience. I will always be grateful for the opportunity. As I continue to grow and learn as a designer, my goal is to achieve the level of skill and teamwork I have seen at Oxide. I am excited to enter the next stage of my career as a graphic designer and I hope to build on the strong foundation Oxide has given me. Thank you, Wes, Josh, Mandy, Drew, and Adam, for allowing me to be part of this amazing team.