If you’re an avid HGTV watcher, you might find yourself wondering what goes on behind the scenes to turn those fixer-uppers into beautiful homes. As the Graphic Design Intern for Two Chicks and a Hammer (the Indianapolis company behind HGTV’s Good Bones), Butler University senior Natalie Tate has had the chance to see the process up close.
When Tate found the internship while scrolling through an online job search platform, she applied immediately. Tate grew up watching HGTV and is a fan of Good Bones, so she was excited for the chance to contribute to a company so many people are familiar with.
At the internship, which Tate started in August 2020 and is continuing this spring, she focuses on using her artistic skills to develop new products and marketing campaigns for the company. On an average day at Tate’s virtual office, the Art + Design major attends up to three meetings with the graphic design team. She typically works on illustrations for marketing materials, such as flyers for the company’s Bates-Hendricks store, Two Chicks District Co. She has also helped design product spotlights for email campaigns, as well as created illustrations of several houses from Season 5 of Good Bones for a branded mug. Tate’s semester-long project—a set of illustrations including 12 of the company’s renovated homes—will be used for a new product launching soon.
Along with a major in Art + Design at Butler, Tate has minors in Marketing and Creative Media and Entertainment. She says her understanding of multiple disciplines helps her excel at her internship. She is able to apply what she has learned in her art courses—graphic design and illustration—as well as skills like web design and videography.
“Not only did I apply what I learned in my courses,” Tate says, “but I also applied the work ethic and positive attitude I’ve adopted through these courses. All of my art professors have encouraged me endlessly, and that made me push myself to do my best. This carried over into my internship when working with strict deadlines, creating multiple drafts of designs, and making sure my work is something I’m proud to put out into the world.”
In addition to earning meaningful experience in the field she plans to pursue after graduating, Tate has gained insight into the behind-the-scenes aspects of Good Bones.
Tate says she was surprised to find how small and personal the company is. She recalled a time when she connected with Karen Laine, one of the company’s founders and Good Bones co-star, while they hung up paintings together at the store. Tate says Karen is just as nice in real life as she is on TV.
Beyond illustration, Tate also helps out on photoshoots. One of her favorite memories happened during a shoot at the Indianapolis Artsgarden to promote a new line of sweatshirts.
“There were two people carrying the equipment, and the other graphic design intern and I had to carry about 20 sweatshirts between us,” she says. “We must have looked ridiculous wandering around the downtown mall with so many clothes in our arms that we could hardly see where we were going.”
For in-store shoots, Tate often helps hold products for close-up shots. If you look at the @twochicksdistrictco Instagram feed and see a hand or two, there’s a good chance it belongs to Tate!