5 Practical Tips to Find Game Design Internships
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Build a strong portfolio
  2. Network with industry professionals
  3. Apply early and often
  4. Consider unpaid internships
  5. Stay updated on industry trends

So you're on the hunt for game design internships. You've got the passion, the skills, and the controller-gripping dedication, but you're not quite sure where to start. Sound familiar? Don't sweat it. Let's break down the knitty-gritty of how to find game design internships, one joystick at a time.

Build a Strong Portfolio

First things first, you need to show off what you can do. Think of your portfolio as your personal highlight reel—it's your chance to strut your stuff and make game studios sit up and take notice. Here's how to get your portfolio humming like a well-oiled gaming console:

Showcase Your Best Work

It's all about quality over quantity. Cherry-pick your top three to five projects that demonstrate your design prowess. Remember, you don't have to limit yourself to school assignments—freelance gigs, personal projects, and even those doodles you made during a particularly boring math class can make the cut.

Include a Variety of Styles

You want to show off your versatility. So, include projects that demonstrate different styles or genres. One day you might be designing a retro-inspired platformer, the next, a heart-pounding horror survival game. Variety is the spice of a game designer's life, right?

Detail Your Process

  • Explain the journey of your projects from concept to completion. This can give potential employers an idea of how you work.
  • Show sketches, wireframes, storyboards, and any other materials that contributed to the final product.
  • Don't forget to highlight any challenges you faced and how you overcame them. This can show your problem-solving skills, a must-have for any game designer.

Building a solid portfolio is like beating the first level—it's just the beginning. But with this under your belt, you're already one step closer on your quest to find game design internships.

Network with Industry Professionals

Ever heard the saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know"? In the world of game design, connections can open doors. Networking might sound scary, but think of it as just chatting with fellow game enthusiasts. Ready to level up your networking game? Here's how:

Join Online Communities

There are tons of online platforms where you can connect with other game designers. Think forums like Gamasutra, or social media groups dedicated to game design. These platforms can be goldmines for internship opportunities. Plus, you'll be able to swap tips, techniques, and maybe even a few cheat codes.

Attend Industry Events

Trade shows, conventions, workshops—these are all great places to meet industry pros. Don't be shy, introduce yourself and show your interest in their work. Remember, these people were once in your shoes, looking for their first break in game design.

Reach Out Directly

If there's a game studio or designer you admire, why not reach out to them? A thoughtful email or message can go a long way. Just be sure to be respectful of their time and express genuine interest in their work.

Remember, networking is a two-way street. It's not just about what others can do for you, but what you can do for them. So, share your knowledge, help others when you can, and always be supportive and positive. With a strong network in place, you're well on your way to find game design internships.

Apply Early and Often

Just like a well-timed power-up in a video game, timing in the job market is everything. You might be wondering, "How to find game design internships?" Well, applying early and frequently is one important part of the answer. Here's a cheat code to navigate this stage:

Keep an Eye on Deadlines

Internship applications often open at specific times of the year, and deadlines can sneak up on you like a stealthy game character. Don't let them catch you off guard! Set reminders for application dates and start preparing your application materials well in advance.

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Think of applying for internships like trying to beat a tough level in a game. Sometimes, it takes a few tries to get it right. So, apply to different companies and roles that interest you. The more you apply, the better your chances of landing that dream internship.

Follow Up

After you've applied, don't just sit back and wait. If you haven't heard back after a few weeks, it's perfectly okay to send a polite follow-up email. Just like a game character persistently pursuing their mission, your perseverance could pay off.

Remember, every application is a learning experience. Even if you don't get the internship, the process of applying will make you better prepared for the next opportunity. So, take a deep breath, power-up your confidence, and start applying!

Consider Unpaid Internships

As you venture through the game design world, you may come across unpaid internships. You might ask, "Why would I work for free?" While it's natural to be hesitant, these opportunities often provide valuable experience, making them a potential secret level in your quest to find game design internships.

The Experience Gain

Unpaid internships can offer you the chance to work on real game design projects. Imagine it as a sandbox mode in a game where you get to practice and experiment without the usual constraints. You'll gain experience, learn new skills, and build your portfolio — all vital in the game design industry.

Networking Opportunities

In an unpaid internship, you'll likely meet industry professionals who can provide useful advice and potential job leads. It's like finding helpful non-player characters (NPCs) in a game, where they offer tips and tools to help you progress in your journey.

Foot in the Door

Often, an unpaid internship can be a stepping stone to a paid position within the same company. It's like a hidden shortcut in a game leading to the next level. So, while you might not be earning now, it could lead to something that does.

While the decision to accept an unpaid internship is a personal one, remember that every experience can add value to your career. It's all about leveling up and moving forward on your path to find game design internships.

As in any game where understanding the map gives you an edge, staying updated with industry trends will give you a significant advantage in finding game design internships. Let's explore why it's helpful and how you can stay on top of these trends.

Just like how knowing the latest game patches can help you win, being aware of the latest trends in game design can put you ahead of the competition. This knowledge reflects your passion and commitment, which is something employers look for when choosing interns. It's like having a rare item in your inventory that increases your appeal.

How to Stay Updated?

Now, you might be asking, "How can I stay updated?" Here are some tips:

  • Read Industry News: Websites like Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine are great sources of news and trends in the game design industry.
  • Follow Influencers: Following game design influencers on social platforms can give you insights into the latest trends. They're like the experienced players who drop valuable hints.
  • Join Online Communities: Forums like Reddit's r/gamedesign can provide real-time discussions about current trends in game design.

The Benefit of Being Informed

When you're informed, you're equipped with knowledge that can help you in interviews and in your work. Consider it as an upgrade to your skills that helps you navigate the game design world more effectively. Plus, it makes answering the question "how to find game design internships?" a lot easier.

So, like a dedicated gamer who is always on top of game updates and trends, be sure to stay informed about the game design industry. It's a sure way to boost your level and score those internships!

If you're looking to expand your opportunities in the gaming industry and want additional advice on finding internships or freelance work, check out the workshop 'How to Find Freelance Clients and Paid Work' by Jasmine MacPhee. This workshop will provide you with valuable strategies and tips to land game design internships and paid freelance projects, helping you kickstart your career in the industry.