Tell us a little bit about yourself: your background,
why did you choose to do what you are doing now?

I just earned my Bachelor of Design Degree (BDes) and am just entering the field. I'm a graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. I come from an artistic family. My dad is an architect and my mom is in the colour correction business. I've always loved creating art and oddly enough, as a kid I liked playing with (and cutting things) with xacto knives. From that, I've developed good cutting skills, which seems to come in real handy! With my mom running a graphic arts studio, I was around computers a lot and got to play around with various graphic software at an early age, back in the day when a computer with a 500MB hard drive was considered to be on the leading edge.

It was in high school that my interest in design really began to take hold. During my last two years, I began getting very involved. I did editorial work for the yearbook committee and as part of the student council, I designed logos, invitations, and ads for upcoming events. I didn't know exactly what it was but there was something I inherently loved about design, and so began the pursuit.

How old are you? (don’t answer, if you don’t want to)
23.

Are you ‘formally trained’ or self-educated,
and what are the pros and cons of either education
in your opinion?

I think both forms of education go hand in hand, with each one reinforcing the another. Applications and all things computer related are self-taught, either through experimentation, books, and/or online tutorials. I see this as an ongoing process that is important for keeping up with changes in anything and everything.

My formal training in design came from my four years in the York University/Sheridan College Honours Bachelor of Design Degree Program. This program was not about learning how to use computer programs (that's where the self-learning comes into play); but rather more focused on using the computer as a tool. Here, I learned the importance of developing your own way of thinking and being able to just do what you want with instructors there to guide you along the way as opposed to getting stuck under someone else's direction to arrive at a solution that's no longer your own. Now where's the satisfaction in that? It's about learning to find your own voice in your work.

How did you start, what was your first job
and how old were you then?

I was probably 16 when I got my very first design job. I was still in high school and one of my teachers had asked me to design a logo and letterhead for a new company he was thinking of starting. In the end, he was promoted and talks of the company were scrapped so the work I did never got to see the light of day.

What is your creative process: how do you start,
when do you stop?

To me, the process of design is a fluid one that is never quite exactly the same every time. It varies depending on the client, job, and requirements. When I get a job, it begins with the project brief and initial interaction with the client to determine their needs and objectives. After that, I do several sketches followed by concepts on the computer. I also research the subject area to gain a better understanding of it. This is especially helpful during the conceptualization stage. Sometimes it is that tiny nugget of information that will trigger off that brilliant insight/idea. Next, I present the client with a some possible design directions. Client input at this stage is essential to determining the direction of the project. Once the concept is agreed upon, revisions and final decisions are made. The final stage is the actual production of the project, which involves finalizing the artwork, and getting all the deliverables to the client on time. After a project is done, I follow up with the client to ensure that they are satisfied with the outcome and to keep the lines of communication open.

Do you have a special creative or workflow trick/method
that you’d like to share?

I think it's easy to overwork yourself, sometimes without knowing it. The hardest part is knowing when to stop. I took me a while to finally realize that spending too many hours working will at some point become unproductive so I think it's good to detach yourself from your work every now and then. Go out and do something fun then get back at it.

Do you work primarily as a freelancer
or permanently in a studio, what do you prefer and why?

I'm currently working at my mom's graphic arts studio, which specializes in producing colour corrects for use in tv commercials, photo shoots, and printed ads. Here, I've gotten the opportunity to design and work on packaging and props for numerous commercial/movie shoots.

On the side, I've been doing some freelance work. Although there is stability in working in a studio, I do enjoy working as a freelancer because I like the flexibility and the chance to do some more unique projects. You learn a lot from working with different people. The one thing about freelancing is that it can be more demanding and requires you to work really hard. In the end, I think it's all worth it.

Do you work internationally, how do you do it
and what are benefits and pitfalls?

Currently, all my clients are in Canada. I don't see any pitfalls to working internationally though. Email and the internet makes everything so much easier and there really are no boundaries to who you can work or collaborate with.

What is your favourite city and why?
That would have to be Toronto. I've lived here all my life and I love it here. It just feels like home.

What are you working on now?
I'm currently redesigning the corporate identity, stationery, and website for the company I'm working for and doing a couple of personal projects on the side.

How do you celebrate completion of a project?
A lot of the jobs I've been doing call for a quick turnaround time so they sort of just come and go. I don't really feel the need to celebrate after every project I do....unless it's a big, challenging job, then I think THAT calls for a celebration! It usually ends up being a combination of catching up on sleep and fulfilling my need for social interaction by going out and having a good time with friends.

Who or what inspires you and does it influences your work?
Anything that inspires me is bound to find its way into my work. It's hard to actually pin down what inspires me each time. I'll know it when it strikes. I get inspiration from anything: personal experiences, the letterpress, textured paper, the hardware store, shiny objects, high and low art, the beach, architecture, fashion, and the list goes on. Music is for sure a huge a source of inspiration. I listen to it all the time and it helps keep the ideas flowing. I visit design portals, buy lots of books and magazines, and carry my digital camera wherever I go in case I see something that inspires me, is bizarre, or is so ugly that it's beautiful.

What excites you in today’s design trends?
I find it refreshing to see the amount of diversity there is out there in the way of styles, thinking, and different approaches that really push the envelope. I like design that is clever and conceptually strong.

What you don’t like in today’s design trends?
The worst thing is people who are slaves under a trend. Following the trend is one thing, but following it just for the sake of following it is another. I believe that there needs to be a purpose and reason behind your work.

Have you ever fell asleep during a meeting with the client,
why, and what happened next?

Nope. Most meetings with clients tend to be pretty short. Sometimes i get emailed a project brief, which makes things a lot more efficient.

Did you ever said ‘no’ to a client, why and
do you still have that client?

The only reason I'd turn down a job would be that I am either too busy or the job doesn't suit me. It's really hard to say no to a client. If I take on a job, I want to make sure I am able to commit to it and do the best work I can for the client.

Do you play computer games?
What are you playing now?

I don't play any. From what I hear, they're very addictive.

What do you read in bed?
I sleep pretty late so I don't really have time to read in bed. If I'm in bed, I'm either there to sleep or working away on my Powerbook, which I sometimes conveniently fall asleep in front of. What are the odds...

What are your plans for the future?
For now, my objective is to work really hard and take in as many different experiences as possible that will allow me to grow as a designer. This can either mean working for a company, freelancing, traveling, and/or doing personal projects. In x number of years, I don't necessarily hope to become famous but I would like to have established myself as a respected designer in the field. Then, using all the knowledge and experience I've gained, I'll eventually start my own design firm.

How many hours a day do you spend on the computer?
Too many for my own good.

What is your favorite food?
Sushi and pad thai.

What music do you like to work to?
My taste in music is always changing. I generally like working to anything that carries a good beat and will keep me awake. Rock and roll, alternative, pop, retro 80's, indie rock, jazz...it's ALL good!

Apart from Google, what is your favourite
website at the moment?

www.newwebpick.com

If you had to choose a different profession,
what would you be right now and why?

At THIS moment, I’d love to be a professional beach volleyball player. Why? Because it's summer and what better way to spend it than to be on the beach playing volleyball, enjoying the sun and the feeling of sand beneath my toes! Then in the off-season, I'll train hard and get a job as a designer. You know, to help pay the bills and keep food on the table.

What image is on your desktop?
An abstract photo i took of a fluted metal texture covered up by several illustrator and photoshop files.

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