Internships, Freelance, and Nonprofits from Fulcrum Creatives Founder

Jason Moore (1996, Advertising & Graphic Design) is the founder of Fulcrum Creatives, a branding and design agency (and certified B Corp) that works specifically with cause-based clients. The office is just a stone’s throw from campus, where Moore teaches a class in the department where he once studied.

We spoke with him recently about the internship program at Fulcrum, his advice to students looking to freelance (pay attention to taxes!), and what led to him to start his own company. 

What kind of internship program do you have at Fulcrum?

I have often witnessed students get into for-profit and not-for-profit companies where an intern is needed to do creative. If they get into a startup or someplace where there’s no communications staff, then a student has to work with no marketing direction, no creative direction, or art direction. It can be a very bad experience for both.

So we made this program, FORCE.

We take applications from nonprofits and interview them and assemble a student team based on the needs of the client. There have always been CCAD students involved. We pay the students, and they are factored into the project bill, and when one of us is involved, we charge Fulcrum’s blended rate. It winds up making a much lower project cost for the nonprofit. Plus, the nonprofit gets the benefit of having creative work done by students who are managed by creatives with experience, and the students get to have an experience with us doing creative work, as opposed to just getting dropped into a vacuum where no one can help them.

What advice do you have for students looking to freelance?

Don’t get taken advantage of, but also understand your level of experience and what you can and should charge. And taxes, taxes, taxes. Pay attention to that.

I think freelance work is a good experience for someone, even if they don’t like it, because they feel complete responsibility and they have to interact with a client or multiple people in an organization.

I also encourage people to get internships and try different places, big places, small places, in-house, because you might not like what you think you want.

How did you find the things that you did want?

From the time I was in college on, I have been seeking clients that I actually wanted to work for, or at least a company, organization, or cause that I had an interest in.

Do young professionals have the luxury of cherry-picking projects and clients?

I don’t know if you noticed your coffee cup. [Fulcrum’s We Don’t Want to Work With You campaign slogan is printed on the sides of the cup.] That’s acted as a nice filter for people. If they don’t get it or they’re offended, we probably don’t want to work with them.

What led you to start your own company?

Before leaving CCAD … I stated taking a philosophy class and getting into what the meaning and purpose of art is. I think that also helped shape the idea that design and creative and communication is art, too. And if it doesn’t have a purpose other than making money, what’s the point? I’ve always followed Adbusters, Kalle Lasn, Naomi Klein, all the writers and contributors from that movement, which informed my anti-advertising ideas … to start an advertising group.