Paper Crane Internship

Design Students Sophia LeBel ('20) and Megan Royce ('20) Talk about their Internships at the Paper Crane Factory

Written by Cay Lane
February 11, 2020

Tell me a bit of background of your standing at SeattleU and how you came to Paper Crane Factory?

Sophia LeBel, BA Design 2020:  It’s kind of a funny story and it involves Franc (Guerrero). We were juniors last year and became friends. Honestly we became like bookends and decided to take all the same art classes together which led us to Franc’s painting course.

Megan Royce, BA Design 2020:  We are senior design students and in the least year have really started figuring out our graphic design skill sets, getting our own clients, and feeling comfortable using them and that is when we started thinking about getting an internship for the summer.

S: Yes, and the ones that we were seeing were very corporate and sort of stagnant in their design freedom. So we kind of developed this mindset that maybe we would spend the summer working on our skills and that is what we were discussing in Painting class spring quarter when Franc walked by us and inquired as to what we were doing for our internships.

M: We didn’t think much of it but Franc walked away and five minutes later when I checked my email, we both had an email from Cal McAllister, the CEO and founder of Paper Crane Factory discussing Franc’s recommendation for us as potential Paper Crane interns. We were floored and confused but we both set up interviews.

S: And they were looking for only one intern and to reiterate how we are bookends, they brought us both on!

What is something that surprised you about your work thus far?

M: I think the thing that surprised us the most is how they treat us like equals. I think in movies and television you have this idea of intern abuse, that you will be getting coffee and printing their papers and crying in the bathroom. I didn’t know what to expect as this is my first position off-campus and I was truly surprised that we were immediately treated like part of the team. We are two of five people in the whole office and really feel on equal footing as the team.

S: Exactly, we were immediately folded into the family. We were invited to the holiday family dinner and it is just a really cozy, encouraging, wild space and they really encourage us to put ourselves out there to try hard and expand our ideas because our work has always mattered to them. They even gave us personalized celebratory Stanley lunch boxes to commemorate our hiring date and it is the little extra touches like that that show us we are important and valid contributors to the team.

M: They are really good at always acknowledging that we are still learning while also giving us tasks to start from scratch. They respect our creativity and fresh ideas and perspective.

S: Cal has even specified that he wants us to challenge them, to have us be a part of the team and to incorporate our ideas into what they are working on. They recognize they are the old guard of design in Seattle and want to keep developing and learning from us.

What do you hope to leave with at the end of your time? What are your goals and did they change after starting at Paper Crane Factory?

M + S: We hope to never leave honestly!

M: I truly did not know what I was going to hone in on, there are so many fields you can get into as a design artist but I didn’t know what those fields would look like in practice. I suspected that I would get into branding and I think my love of branding has only gotten stronger during this experience and I have learned so much getting to practice in the real world. Every day when we go to work we are given new challenges and space to try our best while getting creative feedback from true experts. I didn’t know what to expect going in but I think I will be taking away from this experience a ton of information about branding and more than that, I will take away what a good learning environment for creatives looks like and the way I can contribute to similarly supportive creative experiences for the next generation of designers.

S: I am so grateful for the opportunity to work my brain as hard as possible. I had no idea the energy transfer that came with real graphic design projects outside of the classroom homework situation. I think that a lot of creative work and the motivation to work hard comes from knowing who you are doing that work for and how thoughtful client selection can really bring out a different experience for the artists. Will, our supervisor, is so encouraging and kind and the whole team is so considerate for our effort and I think that as really shown me how to value myself as a creative and how I deserve to be treated. That is now in us and in our portfolios. I have learned that I want to be an illustrator and it has given me the space to see that this is a strong set of skills and this is how I should pursue this moving forward as an actual productive member of a team in the professional world.

What is something you want to let the SeattleU community know in regards to Paper Crane Factory?

M: I think one thing that I want students to know about this internship is: trust yourself that things can happen for you if you put in the work. Network and talk to your professors and we will never stop thanking Franc for this opportunity but who we are as people is who got these internships. And if it is in us it is also in you. Try to be fearless!

S: I was honestly terrified before starting at Paper Crane but what pushed us through was our willingness to jump into anything. Cal has called us out for it, that it is an energy he loves and appreciates about us and it can be so rewarding even if internally you have doubts. So it's normal to be terrified but don’t let it stop you from doing it.

M: The right job will want you for what you have in you and if you keep connecting and having a bit of faith, it will come back to you. And thank your Franc, everyone has one and when someone extends themselves for you make sure to say thank you! #thankyourFranc!