Internship ending: Documenting projects I've worked on.


Newbie here and usually a lurker and am seeking advice from professionals who’ve been in my place before:

I am currently interning (post-grad) at a medium-sized company and have worked on some awesome consumer products projects; some making it to market in the near future. As my end date approaches, my director has hinted at me now having some awesome stuff to show in my portfolio, but we didn’t discuss specifics of when to show (only when product makes it to market and not before?) and what to show.

I will have that discussion soon with the director, but should I be documenting projects I’ve worked on now before I leave: taking photographs of mock ups, prototypes, saving copies of files, jpegs of renderings, etc? I don’t want to leave all my good work behind and have nothing to show for when I go seeking employment elsewhere.

The caveat: When I was hired (its a paid internship), they didn’t have me sign a NDA (which I thought was odd), so maybe I should get some clarifications from boss first, but still document everything I’ve worked on? I feel like a spy or like I am doing something wrong; but I just want to make sure I have proof of what I’ve worked on (even if I can’t show it immediately) just for future reference or even if just for my eyes only. Is what I am considering inherently wrong?

PS- I am aware of the perils of showing work I am not supposed to show; so no need to educate me in that area. I’ve read enough posts on NDA’s here on the forums to know better. The design world is small enough, so no need to burn bridges.

If any of you feel uncomfortable posting personal advice to me via this thread, feel free to private message me. Thank you.

I would say it is a legitimate question to ask, especially since it is an internship that you are supposed to get that kind of experience at. It would probably be better to ask prior to documenting, just in case they do not want you to for whatever reason. Plus, then you can clarify all the other details like when you can show each project and what parts of the projects you can show.

@ Eameser,

You’re definitely taking all the right steps. Before I left internships, I would sit down with my creative director and walk through each project asking which assets I could keep/document and which ones I couldn’t. I would then ask when/how I could show these. Also, before I would show work samples to another employer, I would send a copy of what I was planning to show to my former creative director just to double check that it was still okay.

Hope this helps.

much the same as the others have said, be open and honest and ask first.

Update: I spoke to my director and gave me permission to show all of my work so far; but not post it online (which is understandable). I am glad I had the talk and am grateful to be working for employers who truly care about the future success of their former interns. I did a ton of sketches, concept work, even final production etc… so it would be unfortunate not to be able to show them at future interviews.

Thanks everyone for your opinions and advice.

Quinn, your career trajectory is very inspiring!