Rethinking® summer—Brynn Staples’ 2018 summer internship

Rethinking® summer—Brynn Staples’ 2018 summer internship

by Brynn Staples (IDEA20)

A little about Rethink

This summer I landed a job at Rethink as a design intern. Rethink is an independent agency with a twenty-year track record of producing wicked smart creative for clients like A&W, Coast Capital, Science World, Playland, and IKEA, among many others. Although they began in Vancouver, they also have offices in Toronto and Montreal.

 One of many intern potluck lunches at the Rethink picnic tables

One of many intern potluck lunches at the Rethink picnic tables

Getting the gig

I was late to the gate on internship applications, but I was able to set up a portfolio review with Hans, the Creative Director of Design at Rethink back in April. I wasn’t expecting to get an internship out of it, but I was keen to get feedback on my book and I was really excited about Rethink’s work. We talked through what I had and I got some great tips on where I could improve. To my surprise, at the end of our chat, I was accepting an internship!

 Some treats at a Simpsons-themed lunch & learn (it was educational, promise).

Some treats at a Simpsons-themed lunch & learn (it was educational, promise).

The work

Rethink really does throw you in the deep end – in a good way. When I started my internship in June, Rethink had just been awarded WestJet, Kraft, Granville Island Brewing, and UBC Sauder, and things were revving up in the design department. I got to work on updating A&W’s menus with a new item (a small job that I discovered is actually a big job), as well as some bits and pieces for brands in progress, and then on WestJet’s rebrand (a big job that turned out to be a really big job).

I worked in collaboration with the rest of the design team and the accounts team to create WestJet’s new brand guidelines and design new airport signage and wayfinding. I was involved not only in the design process, but also in building presentation decks, and in client calls and meetings. This often meant working across time zones, communicating with the accounts team at the Rethink office in Toronto and the client who was based in Calgary.

Even though this kept me pretty busy, I felt well-equipped with the skills I’d been learning in the IDEA program, and super supported by the people I worked alongside.

 Long-time office dog/resident gremlin, Pepper, hard at work.

Long-time office dog/resident gremlin, Pepper, hard at work.

The culture

Rethink is a place that really puts creativity at the top, and this trickles into everything they do. Think: themed Friday afternoon beer carts, fully-branded ping pong tournies, and A+ parties. Just as important though are the people. Even though the Vancouver office is around 70 strong, it still manages to feel like a big family. Rethink has a great setup where newcomers are encouraged to ask a different Rethinker out for coffee each day for the first month, which helped give me a better understanding of how Rethink works and learn about the different paths people took to get there. Other important perks include good coffee, frequent treats, and pups!

 (self explanatory) <3

(self explanatory) <3

Some takeaways

The end of August had me sad to leave. Cheesy as it sounds, my summer at Rethink was career-affirming and inspiring and challenging in the best way. It showed me I’m on the right track at IDEA, illuminated areas where I need to improve, and it sure as heck got me itching to get out there and keep going.

Great work from 2nd Year students Annual Report Design Projects

Great work from 2nd Year students Annual Report Design Projects

IDEA students win in Brand Identity and Print Design at 2018 GDC/BC Salazar Student Awards

IDEA students win in Brand Identity and Print Design at 2018 GDC/BC Salazar Student Awards