Meet the interns: Matt Callahan, The New York Times
I spent my summer in the art department at The New York Times. Ken McFarlin, one of my mentors at the Times, told me that when they were selecting an intern they were looking for fundamental design skills in a portfolio. He told me that good design is good design, whether it’s in print or online or any other medium; he worries that sometimes students focus on using new technology and in doing so, fail to learn the core design principles that can be applied to any platform.
I was given the opportunity to float around the paper and worked in several different desks, including Travel, Arts & Leisure, Home, Sports and the Sunday Magazine designing inside packages and section covers. The art directors gave me an opportunity to create pages and helped me marry my personal style with a “Timesian” look. I was inspired by the news-first philosophy of the art directors and they way they found visual solutions to stories — especially when a short article is around 900 words.
One of the biggest highlights for me was when Lena Dunham instagramming a page I designed. It was the art front, and the cover story was about a friend of hers (Aubrey Plaza), but I like to pretend she thought that the design was awesome too.
Working at the Times was a truly incredible experience, both to see the work that they were producing and how an organization of that scale can operate on a daily basis.
Next, I will be starting an internship at The Virginian-Pilot in September doing print layout and design and continuing to study coding on my own time.