HeadStart Panel from RGD

Tonight while poking around the web I found myself on the RGD website. Lately in school it has been getting very full with work and I have been trying to get out ideas and sometimes they come easy and others I have to spend a while on. From these experiences I went to their video section and saw this video it is a HeadStart Panel called “How creative people arrive at ideas”.

When I saw this video it was very appealing from school but also because I wanted to attend this event but wasn’t able to go. So I was very happy to watch this segment of the event. I have always been very interested in how people who are designers work with shorter deadlines and how they manage with their process.

What I found from watching the video was most people do their brainstorming and ideation sections of design work very similar. How I am being taught in school right now is the actual way most designers do it (can you imagine that, something useful from school!). Vince Galante said “the part nobody really sees is having a mindset where your constantly thinking, and your constantly making yourself open to wild thoughts; that maybe carefree. Nothing comes from nothing.” I thought that was great to hear because I’m always hearing from my professors that we need to keep everything keep everything in a sketchbook, never throw anything out. This really picked at my mind because I’m always sketching too many ideas for one project and think ‘am I ever going to use this again’. Now I’m thinking I just might.

I found listening to this video was great because even if I knew some of this stuff it was awesome to hear from working designers and knowing this is what they stick to, and this is how they do things was worthwhile. I hope to start attending these conferences and I hope to do them more next year. 

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Never Stop Learning

Lately in school there’s a lot of talk of design companies and placements (especially the third years). Our teachers have been telling us to make contacts, and start trying to get out there, do research on places you might want to work in the future or for placement. I thought it would be a good idea to talk to someone about their experiences, thoughts and advice.

I looked at some places in Ottawa and came across Accurate. I looked at their website and their works and was blown away by how much stuff I’ve seen that they do. So I sent them an e-mail. They were very fast at e-mailing me back and had no problem with helping me out.

I got in contact with Marc Landry (Partner & CFO/CAO), who was unfortunately unavailable. I then got to speak to Caroline (Caro) Breau (Director of Operations) who was more then happy to help me out, but thought that Doug Jackson (Creative Director & RGD), was the right person to speak to about designing.

Mr.Jackson told me a lot of great advice about how he got into the business. He told me, “I had to knock on a lot of doors before someone took a shot. Don’t down play the importance of hard work. I had to do a lot of work on my own in the early days to prove myself and build my portfolio. Also, when I got into the profession I had to demonstrate that I wanted to lead in order to become a leader. That takes work too. No one ever succeeds in life without a measure of extra effort. That’s how you stand out.

The other thing I always did was try to be different all the time. Being unpredictable as a designer shows your adaptability to employers and clients. Coming up with the next big idea helps you constantly grow. Pushing out of your comfort level constantly pushes you to learn something you didn’t know before. When you leave school you should be ready to start to learn. I’ve been in the industry for close to 30 years and I learn something new and push myself to adapt everyday.”

As a student that’s building my portfolio now I wanted to know what people or companies (like Accurate) are looking for. He told me, “Creativity, and talent. I’m also looking for people that have demonstrated thinking and a range of styles. Designers that are new to the industry do not have a body of work or the experience to say they have a style. Also, limiting oneself to a particular style limits their employability to agencies that share their style. A portfolio full of work based solely on a student’s personal interests such as fashion or skateboards doesn’t show me they can work on corporate work or other retail. Designers need to be flexible and adapt their thinking to the client’s needs. They cannot force their interests or styles on a client that doesn’t share their taste. Not only that, it limits the number of clients they can do work for. Those that stand out from their class are typically the ones that followed the brief well but looked to try styles that were away from the crowd.” I found this SUPER helpful. When our professors give us the choice of picking our topic most people go to something they are interested in. I will definitely be keeping this in mind for the next one.

Finally, my last piece of information I would like to share with you is, as usual, what piece of advice would you give someone going into the business?

He said ”Never stop learning. School has given you the skills to step into the work world ready to operate a computer and understanding of design principles. You will encounter many challenges with technology that school could never touch in a short span. You will encounter many clients that will force you to adapt and grow. And, you will work with many people that have vast experiences, good and bad. Draw on them and learn like a sponge and you will succeed.”

I am so happy to have had the chance to speak to the people at Accurate, got to know the type of people they are, and Mr.Jackson’s experiences, thoughts and advice. I found this information SUPER helpful as a student, and hope that you can take as much inspiration away from Mr.Jackson’s advice as I have. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to be a sponge.