I was born/grew up in: St. John’s, NL
I now live in: St. John’s, NL
I completed my training/education at: College of the North Atlantic, Prince Phillip Drive Campus, St. John’s, NL
What I do at work
The activities that I do on a day-to-day basis vary. Sometimes I am meeting with prospective clients and help them identify the types of services that would be beneficial to them as they try to get their message or product out to their target audience. Other times I am following up with customers as our agreed upon plans are being developed or to help them troubleshoot issues that may arise during the campaign. I do a lot of problem solving when working with customers, especially those who come with their own ideas but which don’t really work for what they want to accomplish. This may occur when a customer wants a website designed. They have seen other sites and may want some of the features. But those features might not be the best ones to meet their needs. Sometimes it takes some figuring-out-time to help them see the issues and find solutions.
I use a lot of computer technology as I do all my design work on a computer. I have a large computer display that is specially calibrated so that the colors I print on my wide format inkjet printer are almost exact to the colors you see on the screen. With uncalibrated monitors, there are significant differences between the onscreen colors and those printed, color management is important part of my job to insure consistency in my product. Regardless of what I’m doing I use a lot of math and math skills. Many of the calculations I do when I’m designing print materials or websites involve using fractions. I use estimation skills and do a lot of mental math. And while I do my accounting and record-keeping using software packaged, you still need to know what the numbers are telling you or before you know it, you’ll be out of business!
My career path is
When I was in high school I wanted to go away to university and study photography in Toronto and work for myself but my parents were uneasy about this career path. They encouraged (maybe insisted) that I attend university. I attended university for one semester but I really did not enjoy it at all! I attended a graphic design showcase at the College of the North Atlantic with some friends and that is when I decided I wanted to do graphic design. I enrolled in a 2-year graphic design program at the College of the North Atlantic. I also completed a 3-month work term where I worked alongside an art director and picked up some practical skills that are important in the workplace.
While I was at the College I competed in the provincial graphic design competition held by Skills Newfoundland and Labrador. After winning I then competed at the national Skills Canada competition where I was successful in winning a silver medal during a worlds qualifying year. I really think the challenging contest, with the strict time limits, helped me hone my skills. After graduation I took a job with an advertising agency but the 9-5 was not for me. After two years I left and started my own company; Bold Creative. Even though I didn’t know this type of job existed when I was in high school, I now realize that I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do when I was a student – work in a creative industry and be my own boss!
I am motivated by
I really like the fact that I’m continually doing new projects; there is no same-old, same-old! You get to learn from the work you have done in the past as you learn new techniques and processes. I love seeing projects that other designers are working on, it motivates me to try to do even better work.
Because I’m working for myself I get to do all the jobs at some time or another. This is great because I often get to see a project through from the initial discussion with the potential customer, to refining the ideas when them as a client, to creating the final product. At the end of the day it is always very satisfying and motivating to have done a great job and that your client is happy with your work. It is even more rewarding when they then pass along your name or recommend you to others.
Sometimes you get opportunities to work on projects that you feel really proud of. For example, recently I teamed up with a fellow freelancer to create an advertising campaign for a water safety company who had a close connection with the LGBT community. The ad was going to be published in a magazine during PRIDE week. The underlying message was about coming out, but we framed it in a product that talked about water safety. This addressed two important messages and I was very proud of my work on this project.
How I affect people’s lives
Whether you are designing a full advertising campaign or developing a poster, it is important that the product you create helps get your customer’s message across and reach the correct audience. You also need to make sure it you do this in an appropriate way. A bad advertising campaign can be worse than no campaign at all if it offends the public.
Outside of work I
Like any self-employed person I work a lot of long days but push hard for a good work-life balance. In my downtime, I'm currently doing renovations on my house and writing a blog of my reno experiences (theuncommonlaw.ca). I also dance 3-4 times a week and volunteer with Skills NL and am a member of their board of directors.
My advice to others
Set goals and work toward them. Don’t be afraid to take risks or of failure; you learn from mistakes! Don’t wait for opportunities to come your way, they may never come, work hard and find the opportunities yourself. Most importantly, do what you love doing! Work hard and success will follow. Believe in yourself!