From the Inside Out

Here is the first in a series of Tramp Chats. We reserve the right to be very flexible with where these conversations go, but the goal is to give glimpses inside Trampoline. We asked two of our former interns, current employees, Kacey Visser, and Oliver Derosier, to recount some of the things they learned along the way from college to Trampoline. It seemed like a great way to give a leg up to anyone thinking about applying for an internship here.

Oliver and Kacey are two of the quietest people at Trampoline, one of the things they’ve taught us is that silence doesn’t mean an absence of ideas or enthusiasm. The insight they share here is pure gold for anyone applying to be an intern, whether at Trampoline or somewhere else. They’ve put the same honesty and matter-of-factness into their answers that they do into their work.

Ready? Here we go, first Kacey and then Oliver, mostly because having a last name starting with V probably means Kacey didn’t get to go first very often in school.

A woman in a black stocking cap smiles widely at the camera while pointing at a column festooned with stickers.

Kacey Visser, BFA in Graphic Design, 2018 The College of Saint Rose—this photo taken by Allison Valiquette during the Tramp Brew Day.

Kacey Visser,
BFA in Graphic Design, 2018
The College of Saint Rose

How did you find Trampoline?
I heard about Trampoline through the professor leading my internship class my junior year. She knew that I was looking to stay in the upstate area and suggested I look into Trampoline, a small but impactful studio where two St. Rose alum were currently employed who also did their internships there before being hired full time.

How did you apply to be an intern?
After looking more closely into Trampoline and immediately being drawn to the wide variety of exciting work the studio was producing, I sent an internship inquiry through the Trampoline website as well as to one of the senior designers, wanting to do everything in my power to get the opportunity to sit down and talk with the Tramps.

Did you apply to other agencies?
I did apply to other agencies, but Trampoline was the first studio I visited that made me feel welcome, comfortable, and excited to stay.  I could tell that the Tramps were interested in helping to cultivate my design skills and prepare me for my future as a graphic designer in the real world.

Did you do anything to make your application stand out? 
Taking the time to put thought into how you design your resume and portfolio and catering the work inside to your interests and aspirations as a designer is important not only as another way to showcase your talents but also as a first impression of your personality, design style, and how you might fit in with the office environment.

Do you remember your interview?
I remember sitting in my car after arriving twenty minutes early to my interview, going through my portfolio one last time to make sure I knew exactly what I wanted to say. The interview was made much easier by the warm welcome of Staci, Paula, and Amanda as well as the casual office environment as we sat on the couch and reviewed my portfolio over the coffee table. What started as standard pre-interview nerves grew into excited energy knowing that I could have the chance to work with such a talented and inviting group of people.

How did you become an employee?
Shortly after the beginning of the first semester of my senior year, I received an email from Trampoline telling me that they were interviewing for a Junior Designer position and, with my internship still fresh in their minds, they wanted to know if I was interested in applying. After a lunch meeting at a local Glens Falls spot and some discussion about how Trampoline would be there to help me balance school and work, I happily accepted the position. For the rest of the school year, I worked as a freelance designer with the studio and after graduation began my full-time career as a Tramp

Any advice for potential interns?
Don’t let the fear of making a mistake hold you back. It can be intimidating going into an actual business and doing work as a student, knowing that an error could result in more than a lower grade, but it’s important to remember that you were given this opportunity as a mean to grow your talents and gain new experiences. Don’t dilute your ideas for fear that they might be too much, not enough, or wrong, there’s a whole office of talented people at your disposal to help guide you in the right direction.

A man with a beard and man bun smiles at the camera as he sits in an office environment.

Oliver Derosier, BFA Graphic Design & Media, Sage College of Albany 2016

Oliver Derosier,
BFA Graphic Design & Media
Sage College of Albany 2016

How did you find Trampoline?
I had heard rumblings of Trampoline within my academic design circles in the Capital Region. I had heard that they mainly focused on the outdoor industry and that they were a fun, not afraid to get their hands dirty-type of an agency that operated out of a city near the Adirondacks.

How did you apply to be an intern?
My first encounter with a Tramp happened at the student portfolio review at the Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. A previously employed creative director from Trampoline pulled up a chair from across my table, and we made introductions. After going through my collection of student work and discussing my creative process, he handed me a uniquely designed letterpress business card. He mentioned that Trampoline was interviewing students for an intern position and urged me to reach out via email. The next thing I knew I was driving up to Glens Falls, NY for my interview.

Did you apply to other agencies?
While applying to agencies, I knew that I was interested in branching out beyond Albany/Troy design firms, but didn’t have a specific location in mind. In researching Glens Falls and the surrounding area, I realized that it checked all of the boxes for my ideal location.

Did you do anything to make your application stand out?
While I never officially submitted an intern application, I did write a letter following the completion of my interview. It still lives on the Trampoline fridge to this day!

A stainless steel refrigerator with magnets and notes, including a handwritten letter.

Oliver’s handwritten thank you note drew exclamations the day it arrived. Classy.

Do you remember your interview?
I remember butterflies in my stomach as I navigated unfamiliar city streets all while trying to stay out of my head. I knew I had prepared well, and just needed to stay positive and confident. Upon entering the office I was struck by the bright, open space, and the warm welcome I received the moment I came through the door. I had anticipated maybe a couple of interviewers but ended up talking through my work with all of the partners and the creative director I had met at the portfolio review. I managed to keep my nerves at bay, and instantly felt that I was in the company of good-natured people. It was clear that they shared my passion for the outdoors and of course, graphic design. Shortly after, I started my internship at Trampoline.

How did you become an employee?
My internship had more career building experiences and opportunities than I ever could have imagined. The Tramp team included me in critiques, logo projects, print pieces and more. I felt that I was a part of the team environment, and I was determined to do well. Meshing with the Tramp employees was easy, and I found myself eager to learn and grow from their professional and industry experience. Following my internship, Trampoline opened up a position for a graphic designer. Unfortunately, the position required more experience than I could offer. I later reached out to the same creative director that I had met at my first portfolio review. He was no longer working at Trampoline but got me in touch with the company partners. Not long after, I was re-tracing my route through Glens Falls for an interview, this time for a full-time position. Needless to say, everything worked out quite well.

Any advice for potential interns?
Give it 110 percent—your design work, your professional skills, the whole nine yards. To do that you have to get out of your comfort zone, and you have to be humble and willing to grow. There is something to learn from every experience in your internship, and often it is the fleeting, seemingly routine moments that offer the most potential for growth.

 

Internship Details
Applicants have until the 15th of April to send a resume, portfolio, and cover letter to [email protected] Check your spelling and don’t delete your personality, both are very important. Good luck, have fun, and maybe we’ll be seeing you.

 

Expert or Empath

We live in a pretty great moment as far as communication tools go—there are performance-based algorithms, CRM, CMS, SAS, and on and on. Sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out which tools you need. The thing that cannot be outsourced is our ability to be compassionate toward clients. We can keep ourselves up to date on the latest techniques. We can study audience habits, get training in communication skills, but to understand what is happening across the table or on the other end of the phone means we have to consider where they are coming from, what they are going through, and how far those things are from what we are doing and thinking.

A few months ago we began the process of rebranding. There was no hierarchy of involvement, which is to say that it wasn’t a case of, “this has to be done by a partner,” instead we decided to see what came of letting all the designers in the shop take a crack at it.

Everyone loves a logo and what brand could any of us know better than our own?

It was an eye-opening experience. Designers spoke in hushed tones to one another, they absentmindedly yanked on their hair or tugged on an ear lobe. “I just don’t know—” they’d trail off. Sometimes there would be nervous laughter and then silence, followed by a “Maybe I’ll come back to this.” The weight of creating something to replace our current brand proved to be more daunting than we imagined.

A few weeks passed, and there was nothing to look at as a group, so we invited designers to meet one by one to try and get to the bottom of what was stalling people. Turns out, the emotions people were feeling are very similar to what clients go through.

“What if I can’t come up with something better than what we have?”

“Is it possible that this isn’t necessary?”

“Why are we rebranding?”

“I don’t know if I can design this.”

We revisited the creative brief, which had been a deliberately informal discussion about who we are as a company, how we feel about the brand and how it relates to our current composition of people, skills, and desired work. Again, very much like we do with clients, we talked about how our goals can be supported by strategic design and language choice. We mapped out tactics and uses, as well as adjustments to the process.

Everyone went back to their workspaces with ideas. We let a few weeks go by with people free to work on the brand as if it were a paid project for a client. We decided to combine the crit of the logos with the day that we brewed beer at Mean Max. When we gathered to review it was early afternoon. We had the place to ourselves, and we laid out all the different versions beneath the bank of windows.

 

A group is gathered in a half cirlcle reviewing sheets of paper on the floor.

We set down our brewing tools and darts and reviewed the brand update explorations that had been done.

 

It was a strange sensation to look at the designs; I couldn’t completely remove myself from the situation and be the client. Looking over the work, I saw risks that had been taken, respect that shone through, and more, in the faces of each designer I saw vulnerability, hope, and uncertainty. I also saw admiration. They were proud of one another and, perhaps most poignantly to me, they were proud of belonging to Trampoline.

A man can be seen looking over sheets of paper placed on a hardwood floor. He is wearing a ball cap and jacket. Sunlight pours through the windows onto the papers.

Derek kneeled down to take a closer look at some of the work.

It’s been a few months, and we are poised to launch a new website. We are not, however, ready to unveil a rebrand. The more we talked, the less certain we were that the brand was what needed to change. I think there was a collective wave of, “So this is how it feels,” recognition as we thought back the rebrands, name changes, and brand refreshes we’ve conducted over the last several years. I realize that I have been guilty of saying that it’s an emotional process without truly demonstrating patience with and empathy for the process people have to go through to navigate change.

The experience of going through this together, poking and prodding our materials, scrutinizing our process, and really taking the time and focus to consider how we want to exist has pulled us together in new ways. We’ve learned a lot, not the least of which is that the exercise of considering a brand has a lot to do with people and emotions. These can be things that get lost in the pursuit of milestones and deadlines. At the core of any story or graphic is human emotion and chemistry that never gets its due, the exchange between artist, brand, and audience.

Our commitment, for ourselves and our clients, is to keep the expert and empath connected. And maybe one day we’ll rebrand, but for now we feel good being exactly who we are.

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