Three x 3

Summer time and grad shows go hand in hand, but what happens next? Internships are usually a good way of dipping your toe into the industry pond. Since 2007, Threex3 has offered students an opportunity to work in three of Ireland’s top design agencies. Atelier: David Smith, Detail & Zero-G. The internship was established ‘to bridge the gap between education and professional practice’ and has produced some really great up and coming designers.

We had a quick chat with some of the people involved in the programme to give students a better idea about the programme and what to expect.

Paul McBride & Brian Nolan – Detail // The Bosses


Threex3 is a graduate intern programme we organised with Zero-G and Atelier David Smith which has been running since 2007. Originally initiated by David, who in his academic role in IADT saw many graduates taking poor, unstructured internships and we all agreed that the role should be of value both in experience and monetarily. So we put out a call for entries around June of each year for 3 positions for 3 months in the 3 studios. So each of the graduates experiences three very different studios; their work and their culture. Threex3 profiles the graduates and provides resources for all graduates to help them navigate the choppy post-college waters of working life. It’s been great for us as we’ve been lucky to work with lots of very talented designers over the years and by association have made new friends and colleagues which further expands the studios connection with other designers and talents. It’s also brilliant that every 3 months a new person comes on board which adds a new flavour to the studio dynamic.

stamps copy

Former intern Evan McGuinness worked on the ICAD gold award winning stamps series with Detail.

As for Threex3 alumni to look out for… well we’d obviously blow our own trumpet with the massively talented Holly Brennan who consistently produces amazing work for Detail. Evan McGuinness currently working with Bielke&Yang in Oslo is definitely one to watch and worked on the ICAD winning stamps. Mike McCaughly in OCD New York, Aine Gibbons working with Fons Hickmann m23 in Berlin… but to paraphrase Buddy Rich… the list goes on!


Evan McGuinness // The Intern (2011) 

evan pic

How did you hear about the Threex3 internship?
I actually didn’t hear about Threex3 until the night before the submissions deadline. I think it was mentioned in a mail sent around by the year head and of course I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity so I got some work together and sent it off that night. I applied more out of hope than anything, so I was delighted to get an interview let alone one of the three places on the programme.

Can you describe your time on the programme?
I can’t speak highly enough about the Threex3 programme, it’s a fantastic, progressive and undeniably honest (you work with good people and get paid a decent wage) format to provide students with the best possible path to “bridge the gap” between education and professional practice.


Evan McGuinness – interned work completed with Zero G

But what really defined and in many ways made my Threex3 experience, was the people I met along the way. As I come from and studied in Cork i knew no one in the Dublin design industry, however as I moved through each studio I met another group of welcoming, hard-working, talented and inspiring people who really made the experience of working and learning an enjoyable one. Not to mention meeting students, fellow recent graduates, other more established young designers, I really can’t thank them enough for welcoming me into this community so readily, even if one of my friends on hearing I studied in Cork replied “Do they even DO design in Cork?!” she’ll hate me for mentioning that, but we’ve worked past it and are friends now. Joking aside, I genuinely believe it is this exposure to other designers through the Threex3 internship who have a drive desire to get better and succeed everyday is what inspires those same values in myself to this day.


Evan McGuinness – interned work completed with Detail

Threex3 had a hugely formative effect on me as a designer, but like any great opportunity just being presented with it isn’t enough, it’s just where the real work starts. What I learnt from it and the advice I would give students to be a successful intern is basically; you get out of it, what you put into it. The key is your attitude, any task given to you is an opportunity to learn so be open and unafraid to show your enthusiasm to do just that, your work will undoubtedly improve and being a positive influence on the studio dynamic and showing a desire to improve is infectious, qualities that can certainly make you a valuable member of any studio.


Evan McGuinness – interned work completed with Atelier, David Smith

Where are you working now?
After spending two and a half great years at Detail ( after my completing my Threex3 internship, I moved to Oslo where i have been living for the past year, and just signed a full-time contract with Bielke&Yang ( which is pretty exciting! It’s a young but experienced studio made up of three permanent designers Chrsitian, Martin and myself but we collaborate with many different freelancers, illustrators, developers, musicians depending on the project. At the moment we have Steph a student from Kingston interning for a couple of months and Manuela of Studio Maco ( a French freelancer, so it’s a pretty multi-cultural space which is great. We deal mostly with identity design for local and recently some more clients abroad working with everything from new food concepts, clothing brands, festivals, restaurants, exhibitions even identities for some Norwegian television programmes. This diversity is something I really enjoy and the fact we are such a small close team means that we are each involved with every project in some capacity, so there is a real collaborative nature to our work which I really enjoy and feel only makes our work better.


b+y_mk_1 copy

Work by Bielke&Yang 

…had I not been a part of the Threex3 programme I don’t think I would have had the confidence to make the switch to Oslo. I certainly drew from my experience during Threex3 when I moved here, so I owe a great debt to Brian, Paul, David, Oran, Ciarán for starting the programme and everyone else who was part of my Threex3 experience, it undoubtedly made me a better designer and is a huge factor in why I am, where I am.

This year’s submissions will be accepted until June 21st. All the information you need to submit work can be found here.