Interning with eBay: Reflections from a Rising Designer
An up-and-coming designer reflects on his experience finding mentorship through Inneract Project’s college/early career track and what his learnings and dedication have afforded him post-graduating from the program.
By Inneract Project
Meet Julian Body, a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Design at the University of Washington (UW). Julian’s first exposure to Inneract Project took place at UW, when he attended a talk given by our founder and executive directorMaurice “Mo” Woods — a graduate of UW himself. Julian reached out to Mo afterwards, and over a year later, they have a strong mentor/mentee relationship.
Since we last saw him, Julian has been quite busy — he competed as an NCAA Division I athlete, earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Product Design, and even completed a summer internship with eBay, where he worked with the Core Product team to develop the company’s vision for the future.
Having made such amazing strides towards establishing himself as a working professional in the design industry, we wanted to sit down with Julian to learn more about his experience and to provide him the opportunity to impart his learnings on the next generation of designers of color following him.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become interested in design?
My introduction to design was through my classmate George who designed and sold crewneck sweatshirts at my high school — I really admired him for his creativity and drive. I tried my hand at it shortly thereafter, creating t-shirts to showcase my interests and influences at the time. Fast forward a little bit and I had the honor of being nominated for an Oregon Sports Award, and the ceremony featured Nike designer Tinker Hatfield as a presenter. I thought his work was incredible and I dreamed of a chance to talk with him if I won. I ended up losing that evening, but I was honestly pretty devastated that I didn’t get to meet my design idol. That’s the moment when I realized that I had a passion for design.
In what ways do you feel IP set you up for success as an emerging designer?
Connecting with Mo and IP was a blessing in a couple ways. Firstly, it opened my eyes to the incredible possibilities available to me as a designer. I wouldn’t be on the path I am today with this relationship. On the other hand, it has grounded me, teaching me what to expect as an up-and-comer in the space and showing me the areas I need to improve upon to grow as a designer. Both of these aspects have been invaluable to my journey.
What excited you about the internship with eBay? What were some of your day to day activities?
What excited me initially about my internship with eBay was the opportunity to work with a well-regarded organization. Quite frankly, I had not previously been an eBay user myself, but that was an aspect that intrigued me. My curiosity to explore unfamiliar spaces is one of my core motivations as a designer, so the opportunity to do that here was something I looked forward to. My time there exceeded my expectations, as I conducted research into livestream shopping and worked with my team to redesign an immersive experience for the company’s auction platform. On the “play” side of things, there were many incredible events to connect and collaborate with other interns as well.
What is one of your favorite memories/obstacles that you overcame from the internship?
I had the privilege of being selected to present my summer project to eBay’s Executive Leadership Team. Once I got over the initial excitement, I had to make sure I was prepared to knock it out of the park. My team encouraged me to elevate my ideas, and they really helped pull the best out of me when crafting my presentation. Seeing it come together was definitely the most challenging but rewarding part of my internship. Once I got to the actual showcase, it was an incredible experience and something I will never forget.
What encouragement would you give to upcoming designers of color who may feel discouraged about the lack of representation in the design industry?
Be inspired by the people that are doing it at a high level, like Steve Johnson at Netflix or Kerby Jean-Raymond with Pyer Moss. If you have a passion and a goal, there’s absolutely nothing off-limits for you. Every time I’ve decided to stop listening to my doubts, I’ve broken through to new heights that I couldn’t even see myself. And each time there’s been a helping hand to guide me along. Do not be discouraged by the lack of representation in the design industry. Be encouraged that you have the opportunity now, in this moment, to change that.
What’s next for you?
I’m finishing up my Master’s degree in Design at the University of Washington this spring, then I will be returning to eBay as a UX/UI designer. Very excited for what’s in store!
Julian isn’t the only one excited about his future! Marc Hinshaw, studio director of eBay Design, had this to say about the emerging designer earlier this summer:
“eBay Design’s Summer Internship Program immerses undergrad and graduate students with diverse cultures and backgrounds in a myriad of complex design problems at the critical intersection of product, brand and technology. Innovating and crafting within full-stack teams of designers and researchers on behalf of our Buyers and Sellers, eBay summer interns gain very real business experience, a taste of studio culture and a big portfolio boost. Fun events, creative jam sessions, and other community activities spark connections that can help launch lasting professional careers in an environment that values craft, diversity and a principled process.
Just one year ago, Stanford undergrad/University of Washington grad, Julian Body, began his journey with eBay Design as an intern working virtually with our New York studio. After a 2021 summer experience that touched on product design and research, stakeholder interaction and successfully addressing design problems in real time, we’re pleased to officially welcome him — physically — as a full-time member of the eBay Design Family this July.”
Studio Director, eBay Design
To engage with Julian’s work as a multidisciplinary designer, visit his website today at julianbody.com!
And to get involved with IP’s college/early career track, check out our new platform Uplift, where starting this fall, you’ll be able to connect with a community of experienced designers to take your career to the next level! Sign up for updates!