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A New Intern, Literally

31 Jul

It’s hard to believe that my summer internship with the American Ballet Theatre comes to a close this week. It feels like just yesterday I was anxiously checking my email to find out if I had been selected to intern for this phenomenal organization. I remember exactly where I was when I received it – backstage on opening night of a performance in college, how fitting!

I am currently double majoring in Dance and Exercise Science at the University of Alabama. I am also pursuing a minor in Nutrition with concentrations in both Sport and Fitness Management and Health Promotion. I am also the historian for our dance department, and love producing dance films and working with photography. Needless to say, I have a wide variety of interests and absolutely love learning. I knew I wanted to work this summer somewhere that would inspire me to see what path I wanted to pursue post undergrad, and ABT was absolutely the most perfect place.

ABT gave me an extremely unique opportunity. They created a position for an intern this summer that had never been done before. After interviewing with the ABT Education Department with the JKO school, my resume was sent to the National Training Curriculum Department. NTC had wanted the opportunity to archive footage of their training and my application came at the right time. From there, I was given the opportunity to create a promotional video in conjunction with the marketing department. My first assignment was at the Metropolitan Opera House with over 3,000 public school students to film for ABTKids. ABTKids is one of the impactful outreach programs ABT does, allowingstudents in the community to come witness a production of excerpts from some of ABT’s ballets. I ran around, capturing some of the sweetest and heartwarming smiles of the children who were so entranced by the aura that is the MET. I was then given access to the press box and proceeded to film for the rest of the show. I couldn’t wait to get home and piece together a video for my advisors.

After I sent my video to the marketing departments, other departments contacted me wanting a similar project done. I was ecstatic that people loved my work and was excited to continue creating. I ended up producing a video for the ABT Supernumeraries and then another for the Summer Intensive, on top of photographing for the National Training Curriculum, the Collegiate Intensive, and the Summer Intensive. Producing the ABT Super’s video was probably one of my favorite memories of my summer here at ABT. A press memo was sent out (with my name on it!) and I was sent over to the MET with two press representatives who were so kind and willing to assist me in any way they could. I filmed “fly-on-the-wall” style, quietly capturing the excitement backstage. Being in that environment made me feel more a part of the ABT family than ever. I truly felt the magic and never wanted that night to end.

ABT has treated me with so much kindness, respect, and professionalism. My experience here not only met my expectations but exceeded them. Every time I walk into 890 I know how lucky I am to be here and I cannot wait to start working.

I decided to put together a video to show some highlights of my time at ABT, because some things are too special to put into words. I hope you enjoy!

Emilia Stuart

National Training Curriculum Intern, Media Production

Summer 2019

The End Result

5 Dec

by Elizabeth Stein, Creative Intern

Here is the final logo design! After two months work of nearly 250 logo variations, my supervisor and I have made a collaborative decision. We have a winner now!

I hope that my efforts and contribution to American Ballet”s BNA Program has been valuable, helpful, and insightful for future design interns to come! If interested, you may visit my work online at http:// I will be updating my site with new work from my fall semester at Pratt after finals!

Thank you, American Ballet Theatre!

Design Stepping Stones, cont.

13 Nov

by Elizabeth Stein, Creative Intern

5)  Always Explain Your Reasons and Thought Processes: When giving personal opinions throughout the process it is important for a designer to carefully explain why they are giving that advice. Clients may often want to carry on a design execution that the freelancer may not so happily agree with. In these kinds of situations, rather than just proceeding by the clientʼs opinion, a designer should take the time to demonstrate to them why they think differently, and what the potential impacts can be. Clients will typically see things as they appear on the surface, but from a designerʼs perspective and experience, they may know that there is more to be considered in the situation. When this is the case, it is important to explain to the client the other factors that are involved. Kevin and I regularly critiqued my work throughout the logo process. In doing so, we would express our opinions, remarks, and ideas regarding the designs that I presented. I would jot down notes during our discussions so that I could implement his suggestions to improve upon the next round of logo variations.

6)  Give Advice When Necessary: Designers are essentially consultants for clients. Clients (at least most of them) know that a designer has more expertise in the area than they do. Thus, they will quickly confide their trust in a designer, because they only want what is best for their business. Theyʼll trust that you are interested in doing what is best for them and their business. However, there will be situations where a designer will need to be willing to give their client advice on a particular decision that needs to be made, or situations where they should add some of the designerʼs own ideas for enhancing a project.

7)  Never Make Assumptions: Assuming that the client understands certain things or that they want something a particular way can lead to miscommunication. As the respective designer, it is important to take a moment and ask the client rather than jumping to conclusions that result in a hasty, frazzled, and mediocre project.

8)  Use Examples When Possible: When explaining ideas or discussing certain aspects of a given project, it is helpful to use real-world examples. Explaining options over the phone or through email can be challenging, and at times ineffective. By using examples to help, designers can create a clear vision for the client, with a more accurate response and communication.

9) Make Your Communication Count: Since clients are typically busy, most of them will not want to be constantly receiving emails or phone calls about the project. Designers: make the communication count! Condensing questions together into one email rather than sending 4 different emails in one morning will maximize the time you have to communicate. Creating a record system to document and/ or save conversations, emails, and inquiries, will prevent the need to repeat questions and waste time.

10) Always Document Your Discussions: One of the reasons that email communication is effective is because it gives the designer and the client a record of what has been said. For situations when conversations are held over the phone, itʼs a good practice to take notes while listening to the client, highlighting key ideas, dates, people, and notices. From my notes, emails, and conversations with Kevin, I saved, printed, and assembled my discussions into a binder that I brought with me into the office at ABT.

11) Keep It Professional: While communicating with clients, whether it be face-to-face, telephone, or email, always stay professional. Clients who pay designers for their services, will expect them to conduct their business in a professional manner. Itʼs one thing to chat with a client about their work, weekend, or favorite T.V. show, but always remember that what is written and spoken may impact your designer/client relationship.

Building a Healthy Relationship Between Freelancer and Client

2 Nov

by Elizabeth Stein, Creative Intern

The following are some of the “stepping-stones” which I established with my supervisor to assure a successful relationship between both parties of the BNA project, (myself as the designer, and Kevin Edwards as the “client.”)

1) Creating a solid foundation: Not to over-emphasize, but communication is of critical importance during the early stages of the client/designer process. At this time, it is crucial to observe, examine, and inquire about a clientʼs business, and the kind of products, services, and markets they offer. Developing an understanding of a companyʼs culture and belief system will help create a uniquely distinctive project that they will be satisfied with. Additionally, it is important to understand the perspective of the consumer, in regard to what they look for, need, and desire. Itʼs also important to understand the clientʼs specific goals for the website, what they wish to improve (if itʼs a re-branding assignment) as well as their expectations for long-term success.

2) Determining a Method and Sticking To It: It is an extremely good idea to establish a standard process for client intake, as the backbone for a range of client projects. In addition, itʼs also helpful to have a method or system for client communication beyond that point. Merely responding to emails or phone calls without document records or organization, will weaken your credibility and degree of trust as a professional. In this case, Kevin and I created a “ drop-box” that we could both access and submit files, images, and documents to. As the weeks progressed, the size of the drop- box grew enormously while I added design files of logo variations, references, and photos. I would create my work in Photoshop and save each logo individually, export it, and then print out a series of thumbnail designs to evaluate with Kevin in person.

3) Less Talking and More Listening to Client Needs: Put simply, itʼs all about the client—their business, their needs, their customers, and their goals. For this reason it is mandatory to emphasize the need to listen and let them provide the information which will provide the designer with the best outcome possible. Of course there will be many times where the client should be doing the listening, but especially during the initial stages it is most important to place value in listening to what is on the clientʼs mind, and what they have to say.

4) Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions: Misunderstandings will always lead to wasted time, so only a humble and unprofessional designer would hesitate to ask the client questions regarding their business project. Although a client may be busy with their own agenda, it is important for designers to not feel discouraged from talking to them when they feel uncertain. The more information, the better, and the more satisfied the client will be with the final product. Those clients who donʼt have a good understanding of what is involved in creating a successful website will often think that a skilled designer can just pick up a new project and create something special without really taking the customerʼs specific situation into consideration.

Project Outline for “Ballet for the New Audience Program”

25 Oct

by Elizabeth Stein, Creative Intern

Design Brief: To create a logo identity that would illustrate the mission of ABT’s Ballet for the New Audience, (BNA), as a program that broadens the interest of children and adolescents in classical dance. Since 2008, BNA has served as a series of original dance workshops that exposes young students to the beauty and admiration of ballet as an exquisite dance form. The workshop joins professional dancers with students with the intent to create an exciting dance production that fosters an appreciation for the performing arts.

Target: Young male students, specifically in private boy schools. Ranging from
ages 5-15 years old.

Design: To create an entity that not only encompasses the brand behind American Ballet Theatre, but as a traditional, regal, and historic dance institution, but to portray the relation between the professional dancer and adolescent as an admirable, inspirational, and aesthetic experience.

Application: To implement a logo design that can be applied to merchandise for BNA students, families and membership donors. The primary merchandise product will be a tote bag that serves a range of functions for both young children and their respective family members.

Process: To evaluate the integrity of the production process of the logo, the project was broken down in several stages:

1) Honor the design brief;

2) Research material for design inspiration;

3) Sketching and rendering with design software (Photoshop);

4)Prototyping and evaluating mid- process;

5) Company review (with ABT Director of Marketing and Brand Management);

6) Revisions and finishing tweaks.