Ask an Intern: Francesca’s Internship with Pigeon Brands

Interview conducted by Simone Robert

YSDN students: welcome to the first post in our new “Ask an Intern” series! Today we’ve got a short conversation with Francesca Morreale, a fourth year YSDN-er/great human being. She spent the summer interning at Pigeon Brands, a branding agency specializing in packaging design for an impressive list of clients. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, we’ll let Fran speak for herself. Read on to hear all about her experience at Pigeon!

So, Fran: where did you intern this summer?
It’s called Pigeon Brands, pronounced the French way. They’re a package design and branding agency. They have three offices: one in Oakville, one in Montreal, and one in Liberty Village. They just recently merged the Oakville and Liberty Village locations into one office downtown, near Umbra on John Street.

What was the process of scoring this internship like?
I actually began my summer interning somewhere else. I wasn’t finding my experience to be super beneficial, so I wanted to find something more well-suited for the remainder of the summer. I happened to have a connection through a friend of a friend, who knew someone that worked at this agency. My interest in them is essentially what got me the internship — they weren’t actively looking to hire interns, but I made my case, and they took me on for August!

Pigeon is a mid-sized agency with huge clients. What are the benefits of working at an agency of this size?
Pigeon probably has somewhere between 15-20 designers in Toronto, then the rest are project managers and such. They’ve got large clients like Tim Hortons, Kraft, and Ikea, which was cool — you would turn around and spot someone working on something that you’ve seen in a grocery store before, or someone might be working on repackaging a product you might even use in your own life. Getting to participate in a group of this size means you get to see how all the different levels work together and how it’s not all just about executing designs — it’s being a part of the whole team’s process, which is valuable.

What was your favourite project you worked on while interning at Pigeon?
I only worked on one project, which I’m not able to get too into, but my favourite part of the project was the initial research phase. It was all about learning something new, familiarizing myself with a new client, and looking at all the ways we could find to advertise a client that already has an established public presence.

What’s one thing you’ll take away from your internship that you hadn’t learned in school previously?
I think I was able to learn how to manage my time spent on projects. Being able to go home at the end of the day and step away from your projects is a lot different from design school. I learned how to step away from my work and not get too self-involved with it. Something else I learned was that even when you work hard on coming up with an idea, it doesn’t always ship — the client may drop it because of their budget or a whole bunch of other reasons. I learned not to be too invested in those kinds of things and take my ego out of it.

Thanks for telling us about your experience at Pigeon, Fran, and make sure to check back for more conversations with interns that you might know!