We visited a fantastic line-up of 5 Vancouver studios ranging from specialized design boutiques to full-on advertising agencies as part of our GD369 Professional Practices course. With an early morning start on the West Coast Express, our action-packed day was filled with inspiration, great advice, and sunshine!
Our first stop was at Free Agency Creative, visiting their new studio space in Strathcona. Don Williams, introduced design for urban experiences and then gave an empowered reflection on breaking into the industry while sharing his own journey. We were delighted to see Emily McLean, GDD grad 2015 working there as a designer! The next visit was in Mount Pleasant, at Carter Hales Design Lab, where we were visually intoxicated by beautiful and tactile design. You could sense the passion for craft in their work and throughout the space. Sean Carter introduced everyone in the studio giving us an appreciation for individual talent and in how designers work together. After a quick lunch break, we stopped at Archive Digital, tucked behind a brewery in a unique industrial loft. Here, Daniel Crough and John Morton gave an intensive and passionate intro to SEO. We were pleasantly surprised at how interesting this field of practice was, and in how invaluable data collection and search engine optimization strategies and techniques are to reaching an audience. They are true to their credo … making data human. Our big takeaway … sell design from a business perspective. We then had a short walk around the corner to Town Hall Brands, a boutique studio specializing in lifestyle branding. We were welcomed with open arms, and introduced to their impressive work for wineries and … baseball teams. A great presentation included sage advice for aspiring designers. Heading back into downtown we visited Spring Advertising and had our first experience in the agency world. Rob Schlyecher gave us an intro to advertising, and advice on what to include in a portfolio. We were impressed with the range of media they work in.
Advice for our emerging designers … with any portfolio project, include many touch points!