Eric Courtney: The Original GFDA Intern
During the summer of 2011 Brian and Jason hired Eric Courtney, a promising young graphic designer, as the first GFDA intern. After almost a year of GFDA being only a two man show with various help from others, the decision to hire seemed like the right thing to do. During his term they welcomed Eric, his suggestions, ideas, and thinking in every aspect and by the end of his experience they had learned as much as he did.
1. Don’t sell yourself short:
My first few days on the job, I spent hours rolling the same red poster, over and over again, attempting to get it as tightly rolled as possible without wrinkles for shipping. Although boring at first, I eventually saw the importance of my practice. GFDA, and any strong brand for that matter, strives to create an experience for its consumers. From the black craft paper to the warm red roundel sticker, Brian and Jason strive for perfection and they expected me to do the same.
2. Find inspiration everywhere / Open your eyes:
As a young design student, I am obsessed with design and inspiration websites and blogs. I thought for a long time that these blogs were the best resources for designers and felt guilty when I missed looking at them for even a day. I was so obsessed that I failed to realize the beauty and importance of inspiration in the world around me. As Jason said, "I had my fucking blinders on." On the second Friday of the summer, Jason, realizing my obsession with blogs, took me to one of the largest thrift stores in the area and we took pictures of everything from classic jazz album covers to oil cans. Seeing these simple, utilitarian goods showed me the beauty of the world around me and opened my eyes to the importance of being observant if you want to be the best designer you can be.
3. Sketch more Ideas:
Jason and Brian bought me a sketchbook. I sketched ideas, and then I sketched more. GAMECHANGER! If you haven't already, buy a sketchbook and sketch like crazy. When you start a project, sketch 15 initial ideas, then throw them away. They are garbage. Sketch 15 more. The results are scary.
4. Show some passion:
Anyone can build a website for laughs but it takes someone special to build a website that is as hilarious as it is important. GFDA means a lot to a wide range of people. Without the hard work and dedication that Brian and Jason have put in, GFDA wouldn't be close to where it is today: merchandise, documentary, version 2.0. What started as a passion project for two friends turned into something that many more people have become passionate about. If you put in the work, make sacrifices, believe in what you're doing and have fun doing it, you'll be successful.
5. Find some fucking mentors:
The best part of this internship was working with Brian and Jason. Although they both kicked my ass, I've learned more from them than I can comprehend. At the end of the school year, I didn’t fully understand all of the concepts I was exposed to. After watching them work, and working alongside them, these concepts began to click. I can honestly say that they’ve taken my skill to a whole new level and have made me strive to become half the designer they both are. I’m eternally grateful for the time they’ve taken out of their busy schedules to stay up late with me and screen print or help design a website or resume. I hope one day I can be the inspiration for a young, frustrated designer. Thanks guys for all you’ve done. I’ll make you proud.