Northeastern student Laurel Parker is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design with a concentration in Information Design to bring her lifelong passion for creativity into her education and work. This past fall, Laurel completed a co-op as a Graphic Designer at Rue Gilt Groupe, the company for the well-known brands Rue La La and Gilt, which provides online shoppers with lower-priced fashion from today’s top designers. We caught up with Laurel to learn more about her role and how this has impacted her love of fashion. Read more below.
How did you prepare for your co-op at Rue Gilt Groupe?
I was pretty nervous but excited at the same time. They had told me all work is done on Photoshop, so weeks leading up to the first day I brushed up my skills on the application. I also looked up the company and tried to learn as much as possible through their website and social media profiles.
Tell us about your role!
I’m a graphic designer for the Creative team. Every day assignments are put down on an excel sheet for each designer to finish by the end of the day (I usually have about 8-10 per day). I’m given images of either products or a model and edit them using Photoshop. The editing process includes cleaning up the photo and making sure the colors match our color palette of the month! I then send it to my manager and she’ll approve it or give back edits. Towards the middle of the co-op, the person who worked social left so now in addition to my assignments, I design stories for the Instagram which has been so fun because it’s pretty open with design direction.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at your co-op?
Most definitely how important it is to manage your time. Because the website is all flash sales, it’s crucial that the assignments are finished and approved on time before they’re scheduled to go live. With this specific co-op, if you’re willing to work hard, you’ll be given more responsibilities which provides a great learning opportunity.
Did this experience prepare you for a career after college?
100%. Because the company works at a faster pace as opposed to longer projects, I’ve become aware of how important it is to work efficiently. Being able to collaborate with designers who have had more experience has been truly amazing. It’s crazy to think how much I’ve learned in just six months.
Did this co-op make you more or less excited about this industry?
So much more excited. It’s taught me more than I ever could have imagined and that graphic design, as a major, has so many opportunities for a job outside of college. I’ve enjoyed the entire experience of working for such a large and fun company. They always have little events going on (including bagel Fridays) and everyone is so welcoming and willing to help each other out. Getting to work under such talented designers has been inspiring and made me excited for what the future will hold.
What is your final message to students who are applying for a co-op?
Apply even if you’re scared! I had actually applied to Rue two years ago and didn’t get it, but it didn’t discourage me from applying again. She added:
You really never know what you’re capable of until you try.