Graphic design is an exciting and creative field that many high school students dream about pursuing as a career. Landing an internship as a high school student is a great way to gain hands-on experience and build your portfolio, setting you up for future success.

If you’re wondering how to find and apply for graphic design internships in high school, you’ve come to the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about graphic design internships for high schoolers, from the benefits to application tips and more. Read on to learn how you can land your first graphic design gig while still in school.

Benefits of Graphic Design Internships for High Schoolers

Graphic design internships can offer high school students a wide range of benefits that can positively impact their future careers. Here are some of the key advantages of participating in a graphic design internship:

1. Gain valuable experience

By taking part in a graphic design internship, high school students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a professional setting. They can learn about the different aspects of graphic design, such as creating logos, designing websites, and developing marketing materials.

This practical experience allows them to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world projects, helping them develop valuable skills that will be useful in their future careers.

2. Explore graphic design as a career

Participating in a graphic design internship allows high schoolers to explore whether graphic design is a field they are truly interested in pursuing as a career. They can get a taste of what it’s like to work as a graphic designer, understand the day-to-day responsibilities, and see if it aligns with their passions and skills.

This firsthand experience can help them make informed decisions about their future educational and career paths.

3. Build your portfolio

A graphic design internship provides high school students with the opportunity to start building their portfolio, which is an essential tool for showcasing their skills and creativity to potential employers or colleges.

Through internships, students can work on real design projects and add them to their portfolio, demonstrating their ability to solve design problems and create visually appealing work.

4. Earn school credit

Many high schools offer academic credit for completing internships, including graphic design internships. This means that students can earn credit towards their graduation requirements while gaining practical experience in their desired field.

By taking advantage of this opportunity, students can learn and grow in their chosen field while still meeting their academic obligations.

5. Make professional connections

During a graphic design internship, high school students have the chance to network and make connections with professionals in the industry. These connections can be valuable for future job opportunities, mentorship, and advice.

Building a network early on can open doors and provide guidance as students navigate their graphic design careers.

Types of Graphic Design Internships for High School Students

Graphic design internships can provide high school students with valuable hands-on experience and a chance to explore their passion for design. There are various types of internships available in the field of graphic design, each offering unique opportunities for learning and growth.

Here are some common types of graphic design internships that high school students can consider:

In-house design teams

Many companies have their own in-house design teams, responsible for creating visual content for the organization. Interning with an in-house design team can offer high school students an opportunity to work on a wide range of design projects, from creating marketing materials to designing company logos.

This type of internship allows students to gain practical experience in a professional setting while being exposed to the day-to-day operations of a design team.

Design studios and agencies

Design studios and agencies specialize in providing design services to clients. Interning at a design studio or agency can expose high school students to a variety of design projects for different industries and clients.

This type of internship offers the chance to learn from experienced designers and collaborate with a team on real-world design projects. Students can develop their skills in areas such as branding, typography, and layout design.

Print shops

Print shops are businesses that specialize in printing various materials, such as business cards, brochures, and posters. Interning at a print shop can provide high school students with hands-on experience in the production process of printed materials.

They can learn about file preparation, color management, and different printing techniques. This type of internship allows students to see their designs come to life in a tangible form.

Web design companies

With the increasing demand for web design, interning at a web design company can be an excellent opportunity for high school students interested in digital design. They can learn about user experience (UX) design, responsive design, and coding languages.

This type of internship can provide valuable insight into the process of creating visually appealing and functional websites.

Marketing and advertising firms

Marketing and advertising firms often have in-house design teams or work closely with graphic designers. Interning at a marketing or advertising firm can expose high school students to the intersection of design and marketing.

They can work on projects such as creating social media graphics, designing advertisements, and developing branding strategies. This type of internship offers the chance to see how design plays a crucial role in promoting products and services.

Nonprofits and community organizations

Interning with nonprofits and community organizations can provide high school students with the opportunity to use their design skills for a good cause. They can work on projects such as creating promotional materials, designing event posters, and developing visual campaigns for social issues.

This type of internship allows students to make a positive impact through their design work while gaining valuable experience in a non-profit setting.

When considering graphic design internships, it’s important for high school students to research and carefully evaluate the opportunities available. They should consider their interests and goals to choose an internship that aligns with their aspirations as a graphic designer.

Ultimately, a well-chosen internship can be a stepping stone towards a successful career in graphic design.

Where to Find Graphic Design Internships

Graphic design internships can be a great way for high school students to gain valuable experience and get a head start on their careers. But where can you find these opportunities? Here are some places to start your search:

School career center

Your school’s career center is a fantastic resource for finding internships, including those in the field of graphic design. They often have connections with local businesses and organizations that may offer internship opportunities.

Make sure to reach out to your career counselor and let them know you’re interested in graphic design internships.

Local businesses

Don’t underestimate the power of local businesses. Many small businesses may be willing to take on an intern to help with their graphic design needs. Approach local design studios, advertising agencies, or even print shops to inquire about internship opportunities.

It’s a win-win situation – you get hands-on experience, and they get some extra help with their design projects.

Job search websites

There are several job search websites that cater specifically to internships. Websites like InternMatch,, and Indeed can be great resources for finding graphic design internships. Simply search for “graphic design internships” in your area, and you’ll be presented with a list of opportunities to explore.

Professional associations

Professional associations for graphic designers, such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), often have internship programs or resources for students. These associations are also a great place to network with professionals in the field and learn about potential internship opportunities.

Check out their websites or reach out to your local chapter for more information.

Direct outreach

Don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands and directly reach out to companies or individuals you admire in the graphic design industry. This could be through email, social media, or even in person at industry events.

Craft a compelling message explaining your interest in graphic design and your desire to gain real-world experience. You never know – your boldness might just land you the perfect internship!

How to Get a Graphic Design Internship in High School

Polish your portfolio

Having a polished portfolio is crucial when applying for a graphic design internship. High school students can start by showcasing their best work and organizing it in a visually appealing way. Including a variety of design projects, such as logos, posters, or website mockups, can demonstrate a range of skills and creativity.

Additionally, investing time in refining their portfolio website or creating a physical portfolio can make a strong impression on potential employers.

Highlight relevant skills

When applying for a graphic design internship, it is important to highlight relevant skills and experiences. High school students can emphasize their proficiency in design software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, as well as any experience with typography, color theory, or layout design.

Including any design-related extracurricular activities or coursework can also make a resume stand out.

Ask for recommendations

Recommendations from teachers, mentors, or professionals in the field can greatly enhance a high school student’s application for a graphic design internship. These recommendations can speak to the student’s dedication, creativity, and ability to work in a team.

It’s important to reach out to potential recommenders well in advance and provide them with any necessary information about the internship and the student’s achievements.

Write a strong cover letter

A well-crafted cover letter can help high school students stand out from the competition when applying for a graphic design internship. In the cover letter, students should express their passion for design, highlight their relevant skills and experiences, and explain why they are interested in the specific internship.

They should also demonstrate their knowledge of the company or organization they are applying to, showing that they have done their research.

Prepare for interviews

Before attending an interview for a graphic design internship, high school students should be prepared to discuss their portfolio and answer questions about their design process and inspirations. They should also be ready to showcase their problem-solving skills and ability to work under tight deadlines.

Practicing mock interviews with a friend or teacher can help students gain confidence and refine their responses.

Apply early and often

Securing a graphic design internship in high school often requires persistence. Students should start researching and applying for internships well in advance, as many companies have early application deadlines.

It is also important to cast a wide net and apply to multiple internships to increase the chances of success. Students should regularly check job boards, company websites, and professional networks to stay updated on internship opportunities.

Making the Most Out of Your Internship

Internships are a valuable opportunity for high school students to gain practical experience in the field of graphic design. To make the most out of your internship, it is important to approach it with the right mindset and take certain actions that will enhance your learning and growth.

Here are some tips to help you maximize your internship experience:

Come prepared to learn

One of the keys to a successful internship is coming in with a willingness to learn. Take the time to research and familiarize yourself with the company’s work, their clients, and their design processes.

Being knowledgeable about their work will not only show your dedication but also allow you to contribute more effectively during your internship.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your internship. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from professionals in the field. Ask about their design techniques, software tools they use, and their creative process.

By seeking clarification and guidance, you will gain valuable insights that will help you improve your own skills.

Take initiative

Don’t just wait for tasks to be assigned to you. Take the initiative to contribute and offer your assistance. Show your enthusiasm and willingness to take on new challenges. By taking the initiative, you will not only demonstrate your proactivity but also gain exposure to a wider range of design projects.

Network and build connections

Internships provide an excellent opportunity to network and build connections in the industry. Take the time to introduce yourself to other professionals, attend company events, and connect with colleagues on professional platforms such as LinkedIn.

Building a strong professional network can open doors to future opportunities and mentorship.

Get feedback on your work

Seek feedback on your design work from your supervisors and colleagues. Constructive criticism is essential for growth and improvement. Actively listen to their suggestions and incorporate them into your future projects.

This will not only help you refine your skills but also show your commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

Complete assigned tasks on time

Punctuality and meeting deadlines are crucial in the professional world. Make sure to complete your assigned tasks on time and to the best of your ability. This demonstrates your reliability and commitment to the internship.

If you encounter any challenges or anticipate delays, communicate with your supervisor and seek guidance to ensure that expectations are managed.

By following these tips, you can make the most out of your graphic design internship and set yourself up for success in your future career. Remember, internships are not just about gaining technical skills but also about building professional relationships and developing a strong work ethic.


Landing a graphic design internship while still in high school can give you a significant edge if you plan to pursue a design career. With this detailed guide, you now have the key information needed to find and make the most of graphic design internship opportunities as a high school student.

By highlighting your budding design skills, developing a portfolio, and diligently searching for openings, you can obtain valuable experience that will help you succeed both during and after school. Use these tips to start exploring graphic design internships and launch your creative career.

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