Junior Graphic Design major Kayla Jaeb had the unique opportunity this summer to intern at Bella Forte Designs, a Philadelphia company that creates exquisite hand-crafted presentation boxes, custom books and letterpress designs.
Jaeb worked her way up from making small projects – such as accordion-size books that the company gives clients as thank-you gifts – to sewing guest books and journals. She also worked on the company’s website, putting together a digital portfolio of the projects the company has completed.
Jaeb said her favorite part of the internship was everything she was learning and bringing back to her craft. “Bookbinding is such a specific skill and such a precise art that I’ve been learning so much every day,” she said. “I’m a lot cleaner and better at measuring and cutting and just general craft practices. I’ve also learned how to problem-solve better. If I mess something up, like get glue on the book cloth, I learn how to fix it without having to redo everything.”
While she didn’t typically work directly with clients, Jaeb did have the opportunity to design a logo for one client who was starting a new business. “Having to deal with a client and figuring out what she wanted was eye-opening. A non-artist can’t always express what they want so it was an interesting challenge.”
"Part of any internship here is perfecting skills. Because of the nature of the hand-crafted pieces, there is a need for the skills to be perfect," said Bridget Morris, founder/designer, Bella Forte Designs. "I started Kayla with some accordion bindings which help with folding paper, cutting cloth, covering boards and glue control. These are small books, so imperfections are easily noticed. Kayla did a great job so we started her on sewing books and making covers. She also helped work on a downloadable PDF portfolio for my new website and she has been helping make files for plates for letterpress. She happily worked on some boxes for our ready-made store, which is going to be on the new website. We were very happy to have Kayla here this summer."
Jaeb grew up in upstate New York and learned about Moore online. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and didn’t have much art experience but I was really into digital art,” she said. She was accepted to Moore and received a scholarship. The fact that the college was located in Philadelphia was a plus.
“That was the main reason I wanted to come here,” she said. “I really love Philadelphia. What drew me to Moore is the fact that we are a women’s college and known for our leadership. I really like that.”
Last semester, Jaeb received the Sis Grenald Leadership Fellowship. She plans to use the money to attend the AIGA (the professional association for design) Conference in Last Vegas, NV this fall. “I think it’s a really good networking experience,” she said. “Plus, my idol, Paula Scher, is the keynote speaker. I love that she is a woman and they told her she couldn’t be a designer, and she was like, 'Yes I can and I will be!'”