Need help choosing my design internship

hey guys,

I’d really appreciate some input and direction on this,

I have to choose between a summer design internship in IDEO and NIKE, both are real great companies, which i’m sure i could learn a lot from,

My passion and dream has always been to work at NIKE, but i guess since the opportunity of IDEO came up, I’m a bit hesitant now and not sure what to do, what would be a better place, would have a better name? and son…

I have to mention that both positions are as a Graphic Designer, but as you all know, both companies are great at that too, and the interaction between all kinds of designers is high.

any advice would be greatly aprpeciated!

Really depends on what you want to do. You should ask about what types of project you’ll be on. Sometimes interns are only on internal projects. Sometimes they just do busywork. Sometimes they get to participate in really big client projects… It’ll depend on what you want to do.

A big distinction is that at Nike, you’ll most likely only be working on athletic related design. At IDEO, you could be working on a huge variety of projects because it’s a consultancy.

Don’t worry about names, worry about what you’ll do and what you’ll learn.


Can I just say, what a problem to have.

What a great problem to have! Congrats. I grew up a sneaker freak and had the chance to intern at Nike when I was in school and worked at IDEO for 4 years after graduation. No matter which internship you accept you’ll be picking the right one. Every internship (no matter how big or small) is what you make of it and these two places will definitely give you a great environment to grow as a person and designer.

The main question you have to ask yourself is what you want out of your career. When I interned at Nike I had already worked at a few other consultancies so it was a great opportunity to round myself out and work in at a company I had always dreamed of working at.

When I joined IDEO after college it was because I was very interested in testing the boundaries of what design could be applied to. It was a chance to become a better storyteller and grow in my ability to approach different problems from compelling perspectives. I worked on services and products, but mostly in a conceptual manner. I eventually left IDEO because I wanted to spend more time crafting objects. I’m not saying that IDEO’s focus on more strategic engagements is wrong, it just wasn’t for me after 4 years.

No matter which place you chose you’ll be in great hands. If you want to do shoes and athletic stuff then Nike might be the place for you. If you’ve always wanted to try and wrap your head around big, sticky problems then maybe IDEO is the right fit. I could even argue that if you’ve always wanted to do athletic products that you should go to IDEO and get a different perspective on yourself as a person and designer. Or if you’ve always wanted to be a strategic consultant maybe being in an environment like Nike will help you become more balanced as a stylist and creator of emotional branding.

Bottom line. Think about what you want to get out of this internship and make sure that you do. It really doesnt matter which place you pick, its what you do while you’re there that matters most.

Best of luck. Have fun!

Thanks a lot guys, those are some real great insights and advice…

@daaphearthrob: great to know you worked at both those places, I guess the more I ask and look around the harder the decision gets :slight_smile: … how would you compare the working environment between the two places, would you say NIKE is more flexible and fun or both are like that? Do you think if my plan after college is to work at NIKE, having an internship at IDEO would be stronger then an internship at NIKE? and is NIKE more about the cool and good looks or is it about cracking design problems as a team? As an intern where you really involved in projects and learned a lot?

Thanks a lot!! really appreciate everyones help and time, just great to see anyone working at any of those 2 places thats why all the questions! :slight_smile:

thanks guys!