We have a long history of accepting interns at Trampoline. We’ve had high school students come for short stints, college students stay for durations designated by credits they will earn, and we’ve even had people between jobs who want to dip their toes in the agency waters. We try to make sure it’s worth everyone’s time, which means interns get to participate in the design and crit process, they get to experience client meetings, and their voices are genuinely considered.
Last year three of our employees were people who began as interns and, at the end of their internship, were offered a position. Then in the fourth quarter, we brought on two people who had both been interns years ago and then came back to Trampoline with years of design under their belts.
Today’s post is something that they wrote at our request. We talk so much about impressions, whether it’s repeat impressions, first impressions, or lasting impressions, we thought it would be great to hear some different impressions on Trampoline. Here they are, Rob and Leslie, inadvertently twinning as they rock bold glasses, neutral tops, and mild consternation at being pulled off projects for yet another photo opp.
Trampoline in Leslie’s words:
First, Second, & Third Impressions
The first impression I had of the world of graphic design is when I visited Trampoline when I was a student at Glens Falls High School. Susan Botch, the art teacher, created an initiative where students had a chance to see “art in the real world.” Wide-eyed and excited, we were led up a set of narrow stairs in a downtown Glens Falls building at 196 Glen Street. There we met with the Tramp team, who were enthusiastic and ready to share their work with us. I remember the space well, long and narrow with the conference table up-front by the windows, client work on the walls and desks going all the way to the back. What a fun space to work in. The Tramps were legitimately excited about being there and talking design.
I was thrilled. We can create art for a living?! Graphic design? What is this? I didn’t know, but I was sold.
Graduate GFHS? Check.
Graduate The College of Saint Rose with a BFA in Graphic Design? Check.
After graduation, I interviewed and accepted an internship position for the summer at Tramp. This time they were located down the road at 166 Glen Street on the second floor above their retail space, Nine Authentic Goods. To get to their studio space, you walked through the store past an almost entirely local inventory, designed and crafted in the Adirondacks, and up the stairs in the back. I jumped right into working on packaging, signage, t-shirts, logos, map illustration… you name it! It was an invaluable experience to work up designs for merchandise and then to be able to walk through the store to see them on the shelves, let alone see people purchasing them! An internship with Trampoline wasn’t about making coffee, it was about creating and collaborating.
That summer I won a Nori Award for a personal branding project and the Tramps were there by my side to congratulate me. The feeling that they were genuinely excited about my win made my night. But what was even more touching was that prior to the awards event, Trampoline handed me my own personal “something about being a super awesome intern” Tramp award. While it was an honor that The Albany Ad Club recognized my work, the personal recognition by the Tramp staff, who I worked with every day, felt personal and noteworthy.
Internship ends. Five+ years pass.
Is there something about being on the second floor that just works? Who knows — but I made my way up, this time via elevator, to the second floor at 11 South Street. For what can be nerve-wracking for a lot of people, my portfolio review and interview felt very comfortable and welcoming. I was excited to share what I had worked on and was eager to learn what future possibilities could be with the team. It felt like coming home.
Yes, websites upgrade, logos evolve, offices move… but good company sticks around. What has endured over these past 10+ years and has kept me coming back to Tramp is the sincere passion and care for what the people at Tramp do, all the while staying grounded. The love for design is strong within the family that Trampoline has built. Not only does it show in the great work that is produced, but the ability to enjoy the process of creating together as a team.
And now, Rob’s perspective on returning to Trampoline:
Jumping on the Trampoline…Again
In spring of 2012 my Pre-Press Production class had a guest speaker come in. The speaker showed examples of work, talked about the day to day office life and gave insights into running a business to a room full of mostly exhausted second year students (The class was 6 pm – 9 pm and primarily file preparation, mind you). Despite the lingering fog of late nights in the studio that hung over the room, the presentation was not lost on us. 16 heads attentively bobbed along to a story about planning a new business and the weight of jumping off on your own. “Ooo”s and “ahhh”s slipped out at slick images of newly designed beer labels.
After the presentation the guest speaker went to each student and critiqued their current projects, a logo suite for a restaurant that would be expanded into packaging and advertising. When my turn came I presented an admittedly half-assed attempt at a hand done logo featuring a far too (and yet not enough) detailed luchador. It was met with the kindness of a pro speaking to a student, but yet again the lesson was not lost. It needed work, if not to be reconsidered over all. The perfect metaphor for my skill level at the time.
That speaker was Derek Slayton and that logo certainly didn’t make it into my portfolio when I applied for an internship with Trampoline exactly 1 year later. I, to my own disbelief, secured said internship and was excited to be spending my summer a mere bike ride away from home functioning in an office and making the quality work that one might expect only happens in trendy urban environments, not a sleepy mini-metropolis at the base of the Adirondacks.
The exposed brick walls and a giant piece of sheet metal we hung our critique pieces on were just half of the charm. The team was warm, welcoming, talented and not short on smack talk. Jokes hurled over the office dividing walls as often as music filled the rooms. Critiques were quick and to the point, yet informed and entertaining. Ideas bounced like excited kids on the company’s namesake. The insights provided that summer served as a macro version of that first critique in Pre-press and I felt as though my skill set grew 10 fold in just the three months I was there.
After relocating post-graduation, I moved home in July and was lucky to reconnect with the tramps at an AIGA event. The event was at a café that I had been using as my base of operation for freelance. After 6 months of borderline badgering on my part, they reached out about the possibility of doing some work together (imagine full-on Tiger Woods fist pump levels of excitement). The interview felt more like catching up with old friends or teachers than a business ordeal. At one point a certain logo in my portfolio caught Derek’s eye. It was that same restaurant piece revisited after my summer at Trampoline.
The vibe is the same, the client list is ever-expanding, the team is more than double the size, the office is new and the workflow is a little different. The jokes still fly, just over the top of computer screens instead of divider walls. The giant piece of sheet metal is now a standing table. I felt the same sense of excitement I did as a college junior walking in on my first day, still ready to learn, but this time as a contributor and not just a student. No matter what is changed and what is the same it feels good to be back…bouncing on the trampoline.