Student Participates in Pacific Press Internship

   Campus News | Posted on June 10, 2024

During the summer of 2023, Andrews University student Abigail Cancel had the opportunity to work with the Pacific Press Publishing Association through an internship organized with the Department of Visual Art, Communication & Design. She designed a series of children’s books as well as a booth for the 2023 North American Division Educators’ Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Department Chair Daniel Weber hopes to continue this partnership with Pacific Press and develop additional internship opportunities for VACD students.

“I didn’t have any graphic design experience before starting my freshman year at Andrews, so essentially my entire graphic design journey has been here. It’s been a challenge, but a good one,” Cancel shares. As part of her graphic design major, she took a course on editorial design where she had the opportunity to work on Envision magazine, an award-winning student-produced magazine created at Andrews University by the VACD.

This experience sparked her interest in book design and publishing, and Weber, who served as editor of Envision, reached out to Pacific Press on her behalf for an internship. During a Zoom interview that followed, Cancel shared her portfolio with the vice president of marketing at Pacific Press. She learned about the types of projects the team expected and was offered a position. “It was very straightforward,” she explains, “My responsibilities during my internship were pretty clearly set out from the first interview.”

The internship took place at the Pacific Press headquarters in Nampa, Idaho, for about five weeks between June and July. A typical day began with group worship followed by team members working on their own projects or attending meetings. The main project Cancel worked on was designing a series of ten children’s board books using existing artwork from a previous series done by Pacific Press.

“This was my first time designing a children’s book and the first time Pacific Press was publishing for that young of an age range, so we took some notes on things like font and color choices, illustration types and placements, page sizes and shapes, all of that,” she says. The team also took a trip to a local bookstore to check out the design choices and styles of books written for the same age group as their series.

In addition to working with her team, Cancel worked independently on the designs, editing the illustrations she was given to fit the series. She began by creating two designs in different styles for the first book in the series and, after receiving approval and feedback from her team members, continued with the nine remaining books. “It felt like I was just a regular, if junior, member of the team starting out in the field for the first time, rather than a temporary intern,” she shares, noting that she was given her own office to work in and was allowed to take the lead on projects that were primarily hers.

Another major project that Cancel worked on was designing Pacific Press’ booth for the 2023 NAD Educators’ Convention. “The theme for the Pacific Press booth was ‘God’s Garden,’ so naturally we chose photos of plants for the signage we created,” she says. This project allowed her to work closely with the Pacific Press in-house graphic designer and also developed her experience with printing and mounting, as the posters for the booth were much larger than anything Cancel had created before. “I had a bit of fun hiding a couple of little easter eggs for myself in the different pictures chosen for the different categories,” she adds.

In addition to the convention booth and children’s board books, Cancel also worked on a stand-alone children’s chapter book, creating the cover illustration as well as interior details. “This internship, as well as my on-campus job at Andrews University Press, definitely solidified for me that book design and typography is the direction that I am most interested in,” says Cancel. She expresses a love for the different aspects of storytelling and the impact of different types of book designs on readers. For similar reasons, she is also interested in video game design and has been learning about comic layouts and lettering.

Cancel would recommend an internship with Pacific Press to students who have some experience in the field of graphic design. She praises the respectful atmosphere and independent nature of the workplace, crediting it for helping develop confidence in her own abilities.

“Pacific Press has expressed a strong interest in having more students from the Visual Art, Communication & Design program do internships with them,” says Weber, “They were impressed with Abigail’s knowledge and graphic design skills and want to have more Andrews students help them through interning.”

The University’s graphic design and photography students have participated in a variety of internships, including at corporate offices like Whirlpool and local businesses such as JohnsonRauhoff, a St. Joseph-based advertising agency. Students have also completed internships in healthcare settings such as AdventHealth. Weber explains, “We require each Bachelor of Fine Art student specializing in graphic design or photography to do at least one internship as part of their academic curriculum and encourage them to do more if possible.”

During these internships, students are able to gain experience in corporate communication, graphic design, photography and public relations. They also provide opportunities to build connections, expand students’ networks in their field of study and can help them obtain jobs after graduation. Students can find resources for possible internships through the VACD department faculty.

To learn more about related programs at Andrews University, visit the VACD website.