This past Wednesday was the last day of my internship with M.C. Pressure and I wanted to share with you, a little bit about my time at the company. I started working there at the beginning of last semester, I think about February or March. I had admired their work on social media and longed to work there for the past couple of years.
M.C. Pressure is a letterpress print-shop based in St. Augustine. The owner and my boss Ryan Tempro started it in 2014 a year after he graduated from the Graphic Design program at Flagler. He started out with one small manual press on his kitchen table and since then the company has grown to have its own studio with giant automated presses and their own line of products for sale.
I jumped at the opportunity to intern for them when they posted the position on their social media pages. I sent in my resume and portfolio, did the interview a week later, and then cried the next day when I got the email that I was hired. (I was just really stoked that such a cool company wanted me!)
While M.C. Pressure has their own line of products, they focus on a lot of custom printing for weddings, restaurants, small businesses and much more. Artists come to them for detailed foil printing on their artwork, they make color edged business cards for local shops and print crazy amounts of coasters for restaurants.
In the back of the shop where all the designing and production happens, there is an Original Heidelberg letterpress from 1958, a Hot Foil Stamping Heidelberg GTP from 1972 and one of those giant paper cutters that could effortlessly chop off your limbs.
During my first day of working there, I learned that the main project for the three other interns and I would be to turn the front of the shop into an appealing retail space. It is a small sunlit room with one of Ryan’s first letterpresses settled in the far left corner and a round, white table for client meetings.
The first project to fix up the front of the shop was to create a charming window display. All of the interns brainstormed together to construct a list of everything we could think of that had to do with M.C. Pressure and Spacecamp (their fun studiomates!). I compiled all of our sketches and ideas together and the following day Ryan had me illustrate all of them out to be painted on the front windows. I was stoked that he had asked me to create the illustrations to be prominently displayed on the storefront.
During my interview with M.C. Pressure, Ryan told me it was possible that I would be the one to start a project, but not the one to always finish it. This was the case with the window illustrations. It was a bit painful to watch the other interns paint them onto the glass when I wanted to be the one doing it. I learned you don’t always get to have a hand in every part of a project. Having to take a back seat in something that you want to control is difficult, but teamwork is essential and in the end, the window display turned out beautifully.
Two days a week I would drive an hour to St. Augustine and sit at a perpetually buried table with my Coworker, Dani. I never knew what I was going to be doing for the day until I got there. Sometimes I spent all day packaging merchandise, and other days I spent all my time designing for the product line.
The days that I spend assembling products were not all that exciting, but it taught me that every bit of designing a product from the concept to the finishing details of each package matter equally. My first week there I was packing up the “Productive as Fuck” notepads and got through what seemed like a hundred of them when Ryan came up to me and told me that I was putting them in their shiny cellophane bags upside down, so I had to take them all out and put them right-side up. Ha! That sucked, but it taught me to pay attention to the little things.
One of the first projects I worked on was to create little wooden signs help feature products in the retail space. While attempting to design effective icons, I quickly realized how much Ryan valued Dani’s work when after reviewing my illustrations he told me they weren’t unique enough and that I should look at what Dani had made. This didn’t hurt my feelings, but it made me realize that I absolutely needed to push my work, so I started to pay close attention to what made Dani’s work so incredible.
Working with Dani and trying to keep up with the amazing and effortless quality of work she produced for the company, lit a competitive fire in me that I hadn't felt since the first graphic design class I ever took at UNF. I so badly wanted to be as great as Dani and that intense feeling of (friendly) competition with her pushed me to explore a new style of design in order to reach the caliber of work that M.C. Pressure required of me.
Every chance I had, was spent trying to make products that my boss would love, however, Ryan was always very selective (and rightly so) with what he wanted in his product line. After all, each new product was a gamble. Half the time he didn’t like what I made which was sometimes discouraging but also fueled my desire to create better work.
(Staff Favorite?! Probably not, but I think I'm funny!)
Interning for M.C. Pressure has been the best experience of my young design career so far. I had never been so excited to go to work before. Every day was entirely different and fueled my creative fire. This internship pushed my style as a designer, taught me some highly important things about working with others and provided me the opportunity to work on fun projects that I can now put into my portfolio.
Below are some projects I helped create during my time at M.C. Pressure. Don't forget to check out their website at mcpressure.com