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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

Guest blog post: Graphic Design Student takes on Manhattan

Matthew Ramirez ’16 shares about his summer 2015 internship. Matt is a graphic design major at The College of Saint Rose. 

What’s going on? My name is Matthew, but I go by a few different names. My friends call me Matt, I have convinced some professors to call me Captain and I have coined the nickname Matty Ramz over the last few

I worked on the book jacket spines of these books. Proud moment.

I worked on the book jacket spines of these books. Proud moment.

years here. I will let you use your own free will to decide what you want to call me, I am pretty cool with any of those. This is it for me, I am a senior here at the College who is a graphic design major and I will minor in art history as well. I have done a lot over my years here, including being the Director of Special Interest Groups for Student Association for two terms, a RA for Residence Life for the last three years and now I hold the position of Vice President on our student chapter of AIGA, a graphic design club. I love America, I love hand lettering and I really love dessert. That being said this is a little about me and now if you are so inclined to take a quick read, let me tell you about my summer.

As the weather got warmer and warmer during the Spring semester of 2015, more students started to go outside and relish in the long-awaited sun. But as the warm weather approached, I was getting more and more anxious. I was not so patiently waiting to find out if I had secured an internship with Macmillan, one of the largest private publishing companies in America. I received a welcoming email from a Saint Rose alum, Rob Grom, giving me the news I was hoping for. Rob, who has worked his way up in the company to become a Senior Art Director at Macmillan over the last ten years, told me that I was to report to St. Martin’s Press for my first day in a few weeks.

St. Martin’s Press is one of the many imprints under Macmillan. During my time at Macmillan I got to work with and see many of the different imprints; including St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin, FSG, Minotaur, Tor, Thomas Dunne and Picador, to name a few. All of these imprints have their own specialties; including children’s books, young adult, science fiction, etc,.

View from the office.

View from the office.

This internship was everything I could have asked for and more. It was in a historic building in Manhattan, the Flatiron building, which is on 23rd and 6th. I was right in the middle of everything – Times Square, SoHo, MSG, FIT, Washington Park, The Empire State Building, the Highline and more. I had a ton of great options for lunch as well, including the famous Eatly, which is literally right next door. I saw a ton of celebrities, famous designers and met a lot of amazing people. I literally bumped into the Disney Channel stars of Suite Life of Zach and Cody, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, who were way too cool and just a bit hipster. I also was in awe when I ate my lunch right next to Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankee legend, as he filmed a commercial for the team.  I got right into the heat of things and felt like a New Yorker instantly. I had lunch dates with friends, ate some amazing food, walked around the city and went to exhibits with friends.. One of the most unusual things I can say I did with my time there was that I got to try coffee that was made after cats digested and passed certain coffee beans. The coffee beans were then roasted, brewed and sold at a pretty penny. Very weird, but hey, life is about those experiences that we remember, isn’t it? There were always so many awesome things right outside my window at Macmillan, but I haven’t even talked about my actual internship.

Selfie with Mariano Rivera in the background.

Selfie with Mariano Rivera in the background.

As soon as I arrived on my first day, I was thrown right in the middle of things. Another student that goes to the College also got hired by Macmillan, but at a different imprint than me. We were both instantly graced with expectations of hard work, diligence, and creativity. We met the challenge head on and let our training take over.

St. Martin’s Press introduced me to “mechanicals.” Mechanicals are the industry term for book covers. It was an awesome experience to see how the company handles something most consumers take for granted. They handed me an impressive amount of work and I never felt like I was an intern that was told to get coffee and shred papers. In fact, I was never asked to do anything tedious like that and my supervisors even brought me coffee. Right from the start they treated me like an adult and respected my opinion and creativity. One of the most notable mechanicals I worked on was for the paperback version of Bill O’Reilly’s, Killing Lincoln. They told me countless times that they love having Saint Rose students because they always know that we produce great work and work with intent. The entire time I felt like a valued voice and was reinforced with positive vibes that I was upholding the standard that the current alum have set. One of the most notable alum’s I was being compared to include the designer of the now infamous Twitter logo. At least I know I was in good company.

I felt more than capable to do the tasks assigned, thanks largely to the vigorous program at the College’s Center for Art and Design. My professors set me up for success. All the countless hours of sketching, layout designing, and typesetting came into play. My pre-press production class, taught by Saint Rose alum Mark Hamilton, turned out to be extremely helpful. That class alone set me up to impress my supervisors with knowledge that some of the best design schools in Manhattan don’t even focus on. The graphic design program is tough and very demanding but after working at my internship, I fully understand why. The faculty here are setting us up to not only be successful after graduation, but to thrive in the field.

Many of our alumni go on to do great things, some work at huge companies like Sports Illustrated and HBO while others find work at small design firms all over the world. Some have even decided to start their own firms. All and all, there is nothing but success after the many years of hard work for Saint Rose students.

All my supervisors provided a constant wealth of knowledge, all of them know the field inside and out. Some have worked with and personally know people I have read and studied about in class. Constantly informing me of things I should look into, critiques I should take, and advice for the future. I can’t emphasize enough how much I valued their opinion and appreciated their honesty. They have changed my view on design and shaped me into a more passionate designer. I am and will be forever grateful for Macmillan. The designers on the fourth floor of the Flatiron building always reassured me about my education and have now made me incredibly anxious to enter the real world and start my career in design.

This summer was one that I’ll never forget. I encourage any prospective and current students to always strive for their best no matter what. Strive to secure a great internship. And lastly, strive to do their very best at their placement. It turned out to be one of the most rewarding things in my life.

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