Former Beyond Design Intern        

Catching up with former Beyond Design Intern, Alisa Rantanen

April 3, 2015

During the month of April, we have decided to feature past interns that have worked at Beyond Design. As a team, we felt it was important to check in and see how they have progressed over the years since their time here in Chicago at our studio. Every season, we offer internships to undergraduate students, who want to learn more about product development and industrial design in the real world. Our interns have been able to work with some of the most talented and creative designers in this field and we’re honored that we could help them achieve their goals for their future endeavors in this awesome field.

Our first featured intern is Alisa Rantanen, who had the opportunity to learn from our designers, but also our clients. We asked her some questions about her time here as an intern at Beyond Design.

1. When did you intern?
I interned during the summer of 2011, from May to August, the summer after my sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame.

2. What was your favorite project that you worked on during your internship at Beyond Design?
Developing a visual brand language for a set of power tools to help an international client reach the American market. It was rewarding to work on this project from mood board development all the way through rendering.

3. What was the best part about Beyond Design?
The work environment. The open-plan office facilitates collaboration and we made a good use of the bulletin boards for design reviews. Overall, the office has a comfortable atmosphere, which made critiques less formal and more productive. Not to mention, I enjoyed eating lunch outside in the courtyard every day with my coworkers.

4. What three things did you feel were the best takeaways during your internship?
a. You get out what you put in. Interns generally do not have as much responsibility as a full-time designer would – but I gained much more from my internship by working just as hard and putting the time in anyway.

b. It’s a small world! Interning at Beyond Design extended outside of the office with outings to NeoCon and other design-related events. I learned quickly that the Chicago design community has a lot to offer, and many faces have become familiar over time.

c. And if you have to deliver a specific number of sketches in a short amount of time, use a timer! When it rings, be disciplined about moving on to the next sketch.

5. What are you doing now / how did Beyond Design help you advance in your career, life?
a. As my first internship was at Beyond Design, I appreciated the well-established internship program. Part of its value is the clear effort to provide interns with exposure to many different projects and experience working with many different designers. The other part is having fellow interns to get to know and learn from. All of this set me up well for my future work experiences. Since my time at Beyond Design, I interned at Insight Product Development and received the IDSA Midwest Merit Award before graduating in 2013.


b. Today I am back at Insight Product Development. Insight is a design innovation consultancy that focuses primarily on the medical space. I have worked on medical products targeting Parkinson’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, reverse shoulder replacement, and orthodontia, as well as consumer products in the beauty and toy categories – for clients such as 3M, Mattel, Ecolab, Medtronic, and Abbvie. In addition to client work, we also create internal concept projects, one of which was awarded the Red Dot Design Concept: Best of the Best award in 2014.


c. I’ve been fortunate to have had many mentors and coworkers to look up to, so I am working on paying it back as a mentor in UIC’s ConnectID program. I’m also involved in the local IDSA and AIGA chapters. When I’m not designing, I love to run along the lake and check out the skyline.


We thoroughly enjoy having interns each summer and helping them to improve their skills – in both design and communication. Alisa was no different. She took advantage of her time at our studio to learn everything she could from our designers. We hope that she continues to pursue her career in design and wishes her the best of luck at Insight.

Please check out our blog next Friday to learn about another former intern from Beyond Design.

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