About UFV

Located in the beautiful Fraser Valley just east of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is a fully accredited, public university that enrolls approximately 16,000 students per year. UFV has campuses and locations in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Hope and Agassiz, and a growing presence in Chandigarh, India.

Learn more. ufv.ca

Visit our program website

UFV Gaphic + Digital Design

Meet Nova Hopkins, GDD Faculty

Graphic + Digital Design Faculty
Brand Consultant and Graphic Designer; Nova Hopkins Studios, Abbotsford BC

Raised in Mission BC, Nova Hopkins joins the University’s Graphic and Digital Design program in 2013. Once a student of fine arts in the University of the Fraser Valley herself, as well as a graduate of Capilano University’s Graphic Design and Illustration (IDEA) program, she believes in helping others by inspiring neighbours and communities to come together through design, nature, placemaking and food.

Nova’s professional experience began at the Vancouver agency, Karo Group Inc., where she specialized in corporate communication and environmental design. Her portfolio of clients include Simon Fraser University, ICBC, Air Canada, Canada Place, BC Hydro and many large real estate developments.

Her life’s journey brought her back home to the Fraser Valley where she joined Relevention Marketing Inc. There, as creative director, she built the design department and specialized in brand identities for small and medium sizes businesses and non-profits including BC Agricultural Council, Silver Hills Bakery, FH Canada, Hardbite Potato Chips, Globe Printers and Canuck Place.

Now, as a local independent brand consultant and designer under Nova Hopkins Studios, she partners with small and medium size businesses—building strong relationships with the companies she represents, from concept to rollout.

Nova brings an organic view to design—as a certified Permaculturalist. Nova unites her approach to permaculture with her artist background looking at imaginative ways to create, design and build connections.

Away from the classroom or her design studio—you can find her amongst her mason bees.

Influenced & inspired by: Simon Sinek, Ken Robinson, Ron Finley, Stephen Ritz, travel and culture
Motivated by: helping others do cool things, thought leaders and doers, change makers, the power of ideas
Fuelled by: nature, design delight, passionate people, doing what you love
Entertained by: ted.com, music festivals, animals

Twitter | LinkedIn


Portfolio Show Abbotsford

A first for the design community!

A FIRST for design at The Reach Gallery Museum was embraced by Fraser Valley’s creative community with rave reviews for UFV’s first Graphic + Digital Design graduating students. UFV’s Graphic and Digital Design portfolio exhibition was complemented with a lively series of PechaKucha presentations emceed by Kylie Bartel, PR Director, Jelly Digital Marketing.

Vol. 3 PechaKucha  presenters gave unique perspectives on “creative balance” that were entertaining, compelling and thoughtful.  Adrianna Koc-Spadaro talked about balancing corporate vs. party profiles and Travis Collier, CLOU inspired us with his passion for empty parking lots and resulting success as an international BMX athlete. Jen Pride gave us a reality check about the arts and Janet Bright shared thoughts about identity and the masks we wear. Moving presentations by Dave Hopkins, Sandy Moulton, Katt Stearns, Tamaka Fisher and Ryan Romero punctuated how design can make change possible.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Richard Buckminster Fuller

Celebratory greetings and insightful reflections were shared by Councillor Dave Loewen, Deputy Mayor, City of Abbotsford; Simon Gibson, MLA Abbotsford-Mission; Pam Alexis, Vice President, Mission Chamber of Commerce; and Dr. Eric Davis, UFV Provost and Vice-President Academic. We look forward to seeing this new crop of designers grow, innovate and contribute to our creative community and some day share their stories too. Please click through the gallery of images highlighting the event. Photos by Stephen Bau

Thank you to Backyard Vineyards for hosting a wine tasting, Save-On-Foods, Abbotsford for great appetizers, and The Reach Gallery Museum and Jelly Digital Marketing and PR for their support in hosting the PechaKucha. Thank you to the portfolio show sponsors – The Cooperators on King Road and McCallum, The Student Union Society at UFV, Black Press and Glenmore Printing. Special thanks to Johnathon Strebly, GDC BC Chapter President, who shared the Buckminster Fuller quote but was unable to present at PechaKucha. 



Valerie Elliott: The future of design

Making Change

Valerie Elliott CGD Cert PR, GDC Sustainability Chair and Creative Director at iD2 Communications in Victoria BC gave us an insightful glimpse into the future from the past and present. The idea that what we think the future will hold is not too far off from reality was a great take-away. Think Skype, travel and futuristic cities. The bigger lesson from Valerie’s talk was about our responsibility as designers. She asks us to challenge mediocrity.

“The values we hold closest, those that are most important to us are what makes us unique individuals and designers. When we translate these values meaningfully to our work, we unravel a different future.”

This resonated with the audience and sparked thoughtful discussions on how design influences decision-making. Valerie shared her studio practices for probono work. Design for good, not for free. She left us with this statement:

“Keep your eyes wide open, be an authority by questioning everything. If you think differently, accept it.”

Valerie serves the Graphic Designers of Canada as the Sustainability Chair and authored GDC’s Sustainability Values and Principles. She is a juror for the ICOGRADA Sustainability Standards to be launched in 2014 that will help designers quantify and report on their sustainable practices and projects. The GDC, as a leader in sustainability, has worked with, and is part of a global partnership with AIGA in the “Living Principles for Design”  initiative. To find out more about sustainability in communication design, visit gdc.net.

Click through the gallery of images from Valerie’s presentation at GDD’s inaugural portfolio show in Mission, BC. Photos by Stephen Bau and Rick Collins.


Design of logos involves effective articulation and visualisation of communication concepts determined by the client's individual marketing goals. It involves analysing, problem-solving, strategizing, structuring, planning and creating images and text for specific purposes, including differentiating the client in the marketplace. Design affects a client's bottom line, motivates potential customers, captivates audiences, cultivates brand recognition, and influences public perception of the company, service or product. — Peggy Cady, FGDC

Lorne Craig: A Sustainability Literacy Presentation

How green is green?

GDD’s inaugural portfolio show was highlighted with a presentation by Lorne Craig, dynamic advertising professional dedicated to “moving socially sustainable business forward.” Lorne presented a wonderfully entertaining and informative talk about everything green complete with a ukulele rendition of Monty Python’s The Universe Song. For an overview of his speech, resources and video clips, please click here >

We were all delighted to hear Lorne’s story about his 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88 that moved him from Calgary to Vancouver in 1985, pictured above.

To get in touch with Lorne, visit Unicycle Creative


Design Mission!

Congratulations Grads!

A well attended FIRST portfolio show showcasing our FIRST GDD grads. A brilliant exhibition of grad design projects and motion graphics were on display at Heritage Park Centre in Mission, on April 16! Grads shared their impressive portfolios with the creative industry, UFV community, local high school art students, family and friends.

The evening was highlighted with a traditional Sto:Lo welcome by Eddie Gartner, Elder in Residence. Dignitaries Mayor Adlem, District of Mission; MLA Simon Gibson, Abbotsford-Mission; UFV President, Dr. Mark Evered; UFV Dean, College of Arts, Dr. Jacqueline Nolte; and Anne Harper, President of the Mission Chamber of Commerce praised the grads and the Graphic + Digital Design program with insightful words of acknowledgement. Featured guest speakers Lorne Craig, Unicycle Creative; Valerie Elliott, iD2 Communications; and Johnathon Strebly, President, Graphic Designers of Canada, BC Chapter shared perspectives on professional practice, sustainability and green issues. Click through the gallery of photos featured here. Photos by Colton Floris, Stephen Bau and Rick Collins.

Special thanks to our sponsors, community partners and business community. 


Packaging Project

Brand Identity, Winter 2014

Students were asked to create a brand identity program for food packaging—that would encompass a unique visual language. They then rolled out the brand identity program across the package, an infographic and a communication piece that would reach their target audience.


Student Project

Brennan Gleason: Featured on Lovely Packaging

A self-directed student project designed in the final semester of GDD was initiated with the goal in mind of creating a unique, eye catching identity and bottle for a craft brewery. High Seas Brewing Co. is a home brewed brand that Brennan and his roommate created to give their small batch beer an identity all its own. With a love of the high seas and crafty, simple, eye catching design Brennan saw this as a perfect opportunity to create something great. On Brennan’s career ambitions …

My goal is to combine my knowledge and love in the areas of my expertise, to deliver the foremost creative and user-friendly designs to my clients. I hope to eventually lead my own team of designers in a small to medium sized agency.  

Visit Lovely Packaging

View Brennan’s portfolio

20X20 copy

Portfolio Show Abbotsford April 24

Vol. 3 PechaKucha Fraser Valley

PechaKucha Night will take place on Thursday April 24, 2014 from 7:30-9:00 pm at The Reach Gallery Museum. The evening is a fun and informal hour and a half of culture, ideas, creativity, passion and opinions. It’s a place for innovators to share their thoughts, gather as a creative community and have a good time.

PechaKucha Night is complimented with a reception from 5:00-7:00pm featuring the University of the Fraser Valley’s Graphic + Digital Design (GDD) inaugural portfolio show, with appetizers and drinks. Find out more at DESIGNmission.ca.

To see the speaker line-up and attend PechaKucha Night, register at PechaKucha.ca

Sponsored by Jelly Marketing

Wine tasting by Backyard Vineyards




First Class Grads!

Meet our First Class of Graphic + Digital Design Grads!

GDD introduces 5 disciplines in the field of graphic design including communication design, visual identity, information design, dynamic media and interactive design.  A lot to learn in two short years! Grad portfolios feature a selection of projects that reflect the Valley’s own, including food packaging, promotional campaigns and visual identity projects.

Browse through the portfolios at DESIGNmission.ca



Dan and Kim
Katt Stearns

Industry Speakers

Experts from the Industry

This Winter Semester we were fortunate to have several industry experts speak to us on a variety of topics.

We would like to thank social media consultant, Katt Stearns, for teaching us social media etiquette on Twitter and LinkedIn. @KattStearns #UFVGDD

Thank you to Ann Harper, who addressed the GDD Professorial Practices class on managing one’s taxes.

A big thank you to local designers, Dan Ryu and Kim Elkington from Relevention. Dan and Kim enlightened us on what it’s like to work as a designer in the valley.

CLOU’s Travis Collier and Ryan Romero walked us through their branding process and give us the greatest advice of all—how to manage one’s creative balance. Thank you.

Julie Epp

pARTicipate Poster Results

Awareness of the Impact of Indian Residential Schools

The theme for this year’s Visual Arts pARTicipate poster competition was to bring awareness to the impact of residential school systems and the need for recognition, healing and reconciliation. The project was brought into GD161 Graphic and Digital Design, as part of a design methodology lesson — what transpired was a great lesson on First Nations, empathy and understanding cultural contexts.

Angelito Jimenez

Clark Giesbrecht

Sultankazy Jumataev and Kenichi Kajiyma

Rochelle Burt and Julie Epp

Giovina Brauer, Amy Hall and Adelle Renaud

Judges Comments 

Grace Tsurumaru (Visual Arts Associate Professor) on the first place winner:

Mending The Tears by Angelito Jimenez. The quality of the drawing caught my eye. The student has skillfully combined several of the key elements regarding the issue of Residential Schools which is a huge undertaking. The symbolic contrast of the hands mending together the pain and suffering endured by the children and families is powerful. The title compliments the layered and detailed drawing with a visually clear message making it easy to read. Very well executed.

Eddie Gardner (Elder in Residence, Aboriginal Access Services) on the second place winner Clark Giesbrecht:

Clark Giesbrecht presents a very powerful picture … you can imagine this person as a survivor of the IRS legacy, stepping out of the dark past and into the light, challenging us to face and accept the truth and working together towards understanding, healing, and reconciliation.

and on the third place winner (ex aequo) Sultankazy Jumataev

… a very powerful, eye catching and powerful image with headlines on the cover of Time Magazine format that sparks interest in looking for the truth, and recognizing the unfinished work related to healing and reconciliation.

Grace Tsurumaru on the third place winner (ex  aequo) Kenichi Kajiyma

The imagery is visually striking, and even though the title is familiar [If Only Walls Could Talk] , the words appropriately address the unspoken histories that may never be expressed and I thought this point-of-view separated it from the others. Very bold.

Nova Hopkins (Branding and Communication Design Instructor, Graphic + Digital Design) on Rochelle Burt, winner of the Jurors’ Recognition Award:

Burt’s, 150,00 people is extremely strong. Her use of the current Abbotsford population and the number of children in residential school helps build context to an issue that is unknown to most. The realization of the comparison of numbers is something of an “oh my” moment. Her wonderful selection of typography and images and the hierarchy helps tell a story—from 150,000 people, to the current population of Abbotsford—to the realization of her comparison. I can see this concept having legs—comparing current numbers and stats to stats involved around the residential schools.

Special thanks to Wenona Victor, Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies at UFV  for her guidance in supporting the students with their conceptual development, and to Aleksandra Idzior, Associate Professor, Art History for her vision and leadership in this project. pARTicipate is a biannual poster competition organized by the Visual Arts Department. This year’s theme coincided with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Indian Residential School Day of Learning held on September 18, 2014.


Community Project

Mission Folk Music Festival 2014

Event promotions are created to motivate and encourage audience participation. They include a variety of media including print, digital and environmental applications.

The objective for this first year student project was to introduce the design process (creative brief, exploration and research, content development) and to design promotional materials that inform and inspire. Francis Xavier Edwards, Mission Folk Music Festival Director, joined us in the classroom to give a creative brief – background and history, description of the artists and their music, the target audience for the festival, communications objectives and the deliverables.

What you see here are a range of solutions that explore the spirit and essence of the festival.


Join us at our inaugural portfolio show!

Green 2014 Portfolio Show

Green is new and fresh. It’s where we’re from, and where we’re headed. We are Green, the first class of graphic designers in the Fraser Valley. 

We invite you to join the GDD graduating class in April for our inaugural portfolio show. Meet the grads, be inspired by great guest speakers, and indulge in tasty refreshments. .


Wednesday April 16, 2014
Heritage Park Centre
33700 Prentis Avenue
5:00 to 7:0 pm: Meet the Designers
7:00 to 9:00 pm: First Glance, Speakers

Featured Speakers: Valerie Elliott, iD2 Communications and GDC Sustainability Chair; Lorne Craig, Unicycle Creative; moderated by Johnathon Strebly, Graphic Designers of Canada, BC Chapter President.  Graphic Designers of Canada


Thursday April 24, 2014
The Reach Gallery Museum
32388 Veterans Way
5:00 to 7:30 pm: Meet the Designers
7:30 to 9:00 pm: Creative Balance PechaKucha
A lively PechaKucha series of short “20 slide x 20 seconds each” presentations. Be inspired by unique experiences, diverse perspectives and engaging stories from our creative community.

Sponsored by The Reach Gallery Museum and Jelly Marketing. Register at pechakucha.ca and use the code “SPECIALVIP” for free admission.


GDC’s Graphic Design Education Kit for students, emerging designers and educators:


Recognition, Healing, Reconciliation

Submit entries by Friday January 31!

3rd Annual pARTticipate Poster Competition


The theme of this year’s competition coincides with the national event held in the fall of 2013 in Vancouver by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), whose mandate is to “engage the Canadian public and provide education about the history of the residential schools system, the experience of former students and their families, and the ongoing legacies of the institutions within communities.” On September 18, 2013 UFV held the Indian Residential School Day of Learning.

Communication Objective

To create awareness of the impact of residential school systems and the need for recognition, healing and reconciliation

Design Objectives

  1. Convey a strong message instantly. It must be easily read from a distance – concept, image and/or words.
  2. Simple concept or idea.
  3. Effective contrast, spatial depth and scale.
  4. Clear typographic application that emphasizes the message.
  5. Design is relevant, appropriate and engages the target audience.

Target Audience

The general public and the UFV community.


  1. Any mediums may be used!
  2. Poster design must be submitted in both print and digital formats
    Print: 16″ x 22″ / 56 cm x 44 cm in portrait or landscape format – flush trim, full size.
    Digital: PDF
  3. Include a written rationale with your poster submission (100 words in a word document).
  4. All print entries must reach the Visual Arts Office in C Building, UFV Abbotsford no later than noon, January 31, 2014.
  5. Email digital PDF and written rationale word document to: vicki.bolan@ufv.ca
  6. Be sure to include your name, student number, and contact information on the back of the poster and in your email submission.

Judging Criteria

  • Originality: Innovation and effectiveness.
  • Visual Hierarchy: Typography, image, colour and layout.
  • Final Solution: Impactful and creates awareness.


Members representing Indigenous Affairs, Aboriginal Access Services, Visual Arts, and Graphic and Digital Design.


Open to all current students at UFV.

Selected posters will be exhibited at UFV and featured on the GDD blog. Winners will be announced and awarded with a variety of prizes in February 2014. 


Graphic + Digital Design at UFV

Wednesday February 5, UFV Mission Campus

Come to our portfolio workshop + win an iPad mini*

Info Session, Studio + Lab tour
6:00 – 7:30 pm

Learn how to design logos, books, websites, motion graphics, iPad apps, posters, and much more! Find out what it takes to be a graphic designer and about UFV’s unique Graphic + Digital Design Diploma program and BFA Graphic Design Extended Minor.

Portfolio Workshop
7:30 – 9:00 pm

Do you like to create, draw, and experiment? Bring your sketchbook and artwork and receive constructive feedback. Learn how to build a strong entrance portfolio.

UFV Mission Campus (D227)
Heritage Park Centre
33700 Prentis Avenue

For more info, call 604 557 7607 or 1 888 504 7441 x 7607 or email Karin Jager.

* A draw for an iPad Mini will take place at the event. 

Designing Under the Influence

Innovative, inspiring and impressive!

A fantastic turn out for UFV’s first PechaKucha event in Mission! The graduating class of the Graphic and Digital Design program in Mission, BC celebrated the power of design with “Designing under the Influence” – 11 short “20 slide x 20 seconds each” PechaKucha presentations.

The speakers gave an impressive range of perspectives and insight on how we are influenced by design thinking, symbolism, music, cities, storytelling and culture. And how we can influence the future!


“I hope there will be more of this coming soon.”

“I’m not a designer and it really opened my eyes. I got different things out of each of the presentations.”

“The speakers are amazing! Love this PechaKucha presentation style!”

Here’s an excerpt from Ryan James, Domain 7:

Scroll through the image gallery to see more!



The Spirit of Hallowe’en

Designers at Large

GDD students celebrated the spirit of Hallowe’en with a potluck lunch, watermelon carving and pin the glasses on the skull. Scroll through the gallery to view our motley crew.

Poster designed by Brianna Williams, Grad 2014.

SAVE THE DATE: November 15, Clarke Theatre

Join us for an evening of engaging PechaKucha talks, good cheer, good company and some holiday fun!

Design shapes the world around us. It is influenced by our community and influences how we live, work and play. The Graphic + Digital Design students at the University of the Fraser Valley want to share that value of design. Be inspired by the people shaping our community. Find out how your creative industry, urban planners, local businesses, and change makers are making an impact and support the future of design!

Friday, November 15, 2013
6:30 to 9:30 pm
Clarke Theatre, Heritage Park Centre
33700 Prentis Avenue
Mission BC  V2V 7B1
604 557 7607

Admittance is by donation. All proceeds support the student graduation show.

PechaKucha Speakers:

  • Dave Perritt, Grab-a-Java: Café Femenino Story 
  • Sharon Fletcher: District of Mission, Mission Revitalization
  • Francis Xavier Edwards, Artistic Director, Mission Folk Music Festival
  • Summer Dhillon, Slap Communications, Abbotsford 
  • Tim McAlpine, Currency Marketing, Chilliwack
  • Julius Siebenga, Abbotsford Christian School, Rebranding
  • Crystal Lee and David Lam, Brambleberry Tales, Bringing indigenous stories to mobile apps
  • Patrick Cotter, Independent Writer and Editing Professional, Burnaby
  • Ryan James, Domain7 Seattle, User Experience Design
  • Johnathon Vaughn Strebly, President BC Chapter, Graphic Designers of Canada

“Powered by PechaKucha” events are one-off events that are separate from regular city-based PechaKucha Nights, and that are usually held as part of festivals and conferences, but can also act as standalone events. PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in 2003 as an event for designers to meet, network and to show their work in public. The concept has since gone global, with events happening in cities around the world. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit chat”), it rests on a presentation format based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds – keeping presentations concise and moving at a rapid and entertaining pace. 

Eager to know more? Check out everything PechaKucha here, or scroll through this PechaKucha backgrounder.




One month and 2 days until it’s time to re-engage your creative brains. The lab elves are already hard at work.

Holidays are enticing only for the first week or so.  After that, it is no longer such a novelty to rise late and have little to do. —Margaret Laurence


Opportunity Enables Success!

Mission’s active business community is keen to support UFV students and alumni!

The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Mission (BPW Mission) has established a $1000 annual bursary for a female student enrolled in the Graphic + Digital Design program (GDD) at the UFV Mission campus. This energetic group features monthly leadership presentations that are engaging and inspirational! To find out more, visit the BPW Mission website and the BPW Mission Facebook page.

The Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce will offer new graduates of UFV a one-year complimentary membership! Engaging with the business community is essential to career building. In 2014 UFV’s Graphic + Digital Design program will have its first graduates and this networking opportunity will no doubt open up many doors. Graphic designers play an important role in business success!

GDD UFV Design Mission Anniversary Event, left to right: Stacey Crawford, Economic Development Officer, District of Mission; Pam Alexis, VP, BC Winter Games Mission 2014; Heather Stewart, President, Business and Professional Women’s Club of Mission; Sean Melia, President, Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce.

INDUSTRY_0027 copy

Design Mission: Graphic + Digital Design

The future is here!

More than 70 guests joined the Graphic + Digital Design program students, staff and faculty in celebrating its first anniversary and UFV’s partnership with the District of Mission.

GDD students showcased an impressive selection of graphic and interactive design projects that they completed in their first year of study. The event was attended by local industry and community leaders; the District of Mission, Mayor Ted Adlem and council members; and UFV representatives from all campuses. The event was highlighted by Lucas Bergen’s moving reflection on his first year in GDD!

A big thank you goes out to the District of Mission and everyone who helped make this program a reality!

More images here.


Barbarian Press Field Trip

The Ultimate Typography Lesson

Students in the GDD program had a rare glimpse into the world of the private press at Mission’s own Barbarian Press. Proprietors, Crispin and Jan Elsted, shared their craft and knowledge of letterpress and the book arts in an all-day workshop. Jan introduced students to hand-setting metal type and the skills of inking and printing on a hand press, while Crispin covered the book arts and typography—sharing their amazing collection of books.

“Private press printing is a craft, not an art. The design and making of beautiful books is only secondarily a matter of self-expression; its first excellence is to serve the author and the reader.”
—Crispin and Jan Elsted

While many private press printers start out as graphic designers, Crispin and Jan have come into the book arts from a literary background. They discovered their passion for working with their hands while completing their doctorates in Kent, England. Drawing inspiration from the work of Graham Clarke of Ebenzer Press they initially hand-printed a series of their own poems to celebrate a friend’s 50th wedding anniversary. Clarke introduced Crispin and Jan to Graham Williams of Florin Press who furthered their education in typography and letterpress printing—and the rest is history!

“We feel that nothing should come between the text and the reader, and it is our view that typography should have, in Robert Bringhurst’s phrase, ‘a statuesque transparency’: like good film music, the best typography is effective to the degree that it is unobtrusive, supporting, not supplanting, the principal experience of the reader.”
—Crispin and Jan Elsted

With this goal, Barbarian Press was founded in the UK in 1977 and moved to its current location in Mission, BC in 1978. To date the press has produced numerous publications ranging from books on wood engraving, Victorian melodrama, classics, poetry, to new translations of poetry and prose.

Learn more about Barbarian Press and Crispin and Jan Elsted:

Nigel Beale Interview with Crispin and Jan Elsted

Hoi Barbaroi: A Quarter Century at Barbarian Press


Calligraphy Workshop

Martin Jackson: Creating Beautiful Letters!

Master calligrapher, Martin Jackson introduced the GDD students to the fine art of calligraphy. We put away our MacBook Pros and learned how to use a pen and construct letterforms! From uncials to italics, Martin covered the entire alphabet and letterform characteristics. We tried different tools, beginning with a modern day “double header calligraphy pen,” then moved onto traditional speedball nibs and ink, and then had some fun working with our own self made bamboo pens. Martin showed us how to construct a pen using bamboo and a pop can for some interesting results!

What we learned? It’s not as easy as it seems! And, to be good, takes a lot of hard work and practice.

We were in awe of Martin’s talent through his amazing demonstrations! We all left the workshop with a renewed appreciation for our typographic origins, the simplicity of craft, and for most of us—a desire to learn more. A lot more!

Martin Jackson has been practicing calligraphy and lettering for more than 50 years. He is one of the best in the world, and has taught and lectured across Canada, United States and Europe. His commissions include pieces for Barbarian Press; the Alcuin Society; the Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales 1986 visit to Vancouver, and the visit by Pope John Paul II in 1984. He also produced the calligraphy for the wedding reception of Bill Gates.

Graphic + Digital Design Celebration

Thursday, March 28
12:30 to 2:00 pm 

UFV Mission Campus (D227)
Heritage Park Centre

33700 Prentis Avenue

Please join us in celebrating the first year of UFV’s Graphic + Digital Design program at the Mission campus. Learn more about the program and help us recognize our partnership with the District of Mission.

Light lunch provided — catered by Mission’s own Blackberry Kitchen.

Please RSVP to Caitlin at Caitlin.Gleboff@ufv.ca or 604-854-4595 by Monday, March 25.

Design Research

Supporting Design Research in Canada

GDC is embarking on new ways of supporting both practice and academia in the development of knowledge.

The evolution in graphic design practice has inspired a disciplinary research culture for design in the academic environment through the introduction of graduate programs. In Canada, design and design-related graduate studies offer both practice and pure academic research based opportunities, with more graduate program development underway.

Meredith Davis, in a recent RGD Ontario webinar shared her views on  “building a culture of design research” and identifies several gaps that exist between the profession and academia.

Meredith states, that while 81% of professionals say they engage regularly in research, 70% do not collaborate with students on research that matters to their business; and 72% only shared their research within their offices or not at all (Metropolis Survey 2005, cited by Davis).

Davis further intimates “a total disconnect between the research done in design firms and the scholarship of faculty and doctoral students in universities.” Graphic design as an academic discipline is still developing and this certainly contributes to the gap within the field, but as Davis points out, the bigger problem is in the lack of a research database for design.

Today, most of the research conducted by faculty and graduate students can only be accessed through their respective institutions, and very little is actually published. How can we make this work accessible? A common knowledge base needs to be developed for research contribution. More collaboration and partnership between professional practice and design programs will help bridge this gap. We all share a common understanding of the value and the desire to support this goal.

As Canada’s professional association for graphic and communication designers, the GDC is embarking on new ways of supporting both the practice and academia in the development of knowledge. 2013 will be a year of many firsts.

• The GDC Foundation offers its first academic award for graudate students. The Marc Brisbourne Scholarship will support a student undertaking graduate studies.

• Canadian graduate design programs are now listed on the GDC school listings page.

• The GDC Journal will be relaunched in 2013 and is currently assembling a peer review committee. Interested parties should contact Matt Warburton CGD, FGDC if they wish to get involved, or if you have a research article you would like to be considered for publication.

• The GDC Gibson Fund will provide support for design education with a call for proposals later this year.

For more information, please email education@gdc.net

Karin Jager, M.Ed., CGD
National VP Education, GDC
Educator, University of the Fraser Valley, Mission, BC

Davis, M. (2008). Why do we need doctoral study in design? International Journal of Design, 2(3), 71-79.
Davis, M. (2013). 
Building a culture of design research. RGD Ontario Webinar, January 16, 2013

March 14, 2013


Design in the Valley

Past, Present and Future

Nova Hopkins, local designer, shared her experience about working professionally in the design industry, as well as a little local history in the valley. Nova brought some beautiful hand lettering pieces created by her uncle, Gary Hopkins, who worked as a graphic designer  in the 50′s and 60′s. The artwork pictured here are just a few examples of concepts and mockups for store signage and local billboards.

Nova’s expertise is in brand service — creating brand identity, packaging, corporate communication, information design and marketing materials for a range of clients including Silver Hills Bakery. She talked about the considerations around designing food packaging including how consumers interact with products and their decision-making, target audience, government regulations and the importance of “shelf space allocation” in the retail environment. It was insightful to hear about the expansive role of a professional graphic designer in meeting these challenges!

What was particularly inspiring is her enthusiasm for the growing design industry in the Fraser Valley and for our own GDD grads. The future holds incredible opportunity! Nova states,

“Watch out Vancouver, there’s some amazing talent brewing in the valley.”

Nova is an alumn of UFV’s visual arts program and graduate of the IDEA program at Capilano (2007). She began her design career at KARO — Western Canada’s oldest creative agency — then in 2008, she started working in Abbotsford as the Creative Director for Relevention Marketing. Nova now has her own practice specializing in branding, print and online communication design.

Will you be my Valentine & guess my type?

With Valentine’s day fast approaching, GDD is in the mood for love—love of typography that is! Our students are exploring that age-old question: What’s your type?

Are you in the mood for modern?  Do you gravitate to grotesque?  Is transitional more to your taste or are you hot for a humanist sans?

Perhaps you aren’t into looks and only care about personality (I’m looking at you, #1).

Join in the fun and identify the 21 typefaces used in our Valentine’s Type Poster.

We’ll give you extra credit if you submit a type-ish ode or sonnet!

My Type Answers


Great Turnout for GDD’s Portfolio Workshop!

More than 40 people attended GDD’s first information session and portfolio workshop at UFV’s Mission campus. The evening began with an introduction to the design industry and the new Graphic + Digital Design diploma program. The portfolio workshop gave tips on how to put an entrance portfolio together. GDD students and faculty offered their knowledge and experience to the many participants sharing their work and amazing talent.

The GDD diploma program is now accepting applications for Fall 2014.

UFV GDD Diploma

GDD Portfolio Guidelines

GDD Important Admissions Dates Fall 2014



GDD projects

Engaging the community

GDD 1st year students were immersed in work that involved the local community including a zine project for Fraser River Heritage Park and a branding project for Grab-a-Java — a local fair-trade, organic coffee shop and roaster — owned by UFV alumn, David Perrit.

Are you a community member with an opportunity for collaboration? Email our program co-ordinator Karin Jager with your proposal.


Typography Portrait Critique

The GDD 154 Typography class had their first critique of the semester today. Students were asked to create a portrait using one type family.  Stay tuned, more pictures to come.

Interested in Graphic + Digital Design at UFV?

Info Session, Studio + Lab tour | 6:00 – 7:30 pm 

Find out more about UFV’s Graphic + Digital Design Diploma program, BFA Graphic Design Minor and Extended Minor.

Portfolio Workshop | 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Bring your sketchbook or digital samples and receive constructive feedback. Learn how to build a strong entrance portfolio.

Room D227 Mission Campus — 33700 Prentis Ave., Mission, BC V2V 7B1. For more info, call 604 557 7607 or 1 888 504 7441 x 7607 or email Karin Jager.

While Canada has a multi-cultural and indigenous population, I left the conference thinking that the depth of knowledge and tradition that exists within each culture can be addressed more deeply in design education — not only for project-based learning — but also for more meaningful experiences within the classroom.

GDD Program Co-ordinator Karin Jager (who is currently the VP Education National, Society of Graphic Designers of Canada—GDC) recently traveled to sunny Honolulu to attend AIGA’s education conference geo/graphics.

Geographics: Design, Education and the Transnational Terrain
A Canadian Perspective

Transnational: extending or operating across national boundaries

AIGA held its education conference in beautiful, warm and sunny Honolulu, December 13 to 15 at the University of Hawai’i Manoa — centrally located for the 150+ educators who attended from around the world. It was an amazing experience to be in the midst of these highly motivated people who shared their research, pedagogy and discourse on the theme of transnational design.

The conference began with a keynote presentation by Ella Shohat (NY), whose research focuses on issues of post colonial and transnational approaches to cultural studies. Ella spoke of indigenous peoples as being a catalyst for our Western thinking, and, of their influence on our cultural geography. With this in the back of our minds, over the next two days, more than 75 papers were presented under the broad categories of design institutions, design ideas and design projects.

It is impossible to generalize the conference, but it is certainly safe to say that design educators have expanded the physical classroom into a virtual world, connecting students across the continents through social media for typography, branding and video projects (Aidan Rowe CGD, AB; Tom Klinkowstein, NY; Christoph Lemmer, Hildesheim, Germany and John Frances, Boise, ID; Aaron Schmidt, Thailand and Karen Gutowsky, Seattle, WA). A focus on process rather than the artifact was a common theme in design pedagogy — but more open interdisciplinary approaches were also introduced — as in teaching interactive design using groups, discovery, iterative, and collaborative methods (Nelson Wei Tan, IN).

As a Canadian, I was particularly moved by the presentations that focused on cultural differences and western thinking, and how communication design is being taught in this context. While Canada has a multi-cultural and indigenous population, I left the conference thinking that the depth of knowledge and tradition that exists within each culture can be addressed more deeply in design education — not only for project-based learning — but also for more meaningful experiences within the classroom.

To bring this into the Canadian higher education context, we see most post-secondary institutions in Canada having an increased international student base with many entering design programs. In a communication design course, student participation, critique and interaction is an integral part of learning and diverse perspectives impact the dynamic of the classroom. They inform the student’s sensibility in creating design solutions, but also provide the opportunity for educators to expand on cultural contexts. For example, several of the conference presenters discussed the differences between the “group” orientation of Asian cultures versus the individualistic orientation of North American cultures (Sharon Poggenpohl, Brooke Scherer, Helena Wong), or the focus on family at the “center” as in Qatar (Peter S. Martin) and how these orientations influence design education and design practice.

Since culture is innate, the presentations that focused on aboriginal themes brought to light the whole notion of heritage and authenticity — demonstrated in design (e.g. names and iconography) — and prevalent in Canada, the US and in Australia with their aboriginal roots (Russell Kennedy, Australia; Myles Russell-Cook, Australia; Angela Norwood, ON; Anne Beekman, OH). At the end of the conference, a proposition for a common design vocabulary resonated amongst educators as a way to bridge gaps for students and educators alike — perhaps a fitting theme for an upcoming education conference?

Design educators and administrators from North American and European higher education institutions discussed how they have expanded their borders into Asia, collaborating with Qatar, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, and Singapore, offering full design programs. New ideas for student exchanges were also introduced as well as ways to engage and inspire students in programs that have localized educational communities.

We were enlightened, challenged and inspired. That’s really what a conference of this type can achieve; a stimulating experience. One that rejuvenates and moves us forward into the new year!

Some of the papers will be published in Iridescent: ICOGRADA Journal of Design Research, a peer-reviewed online journal.  

AIGA Design Educators Community

January 08, 2013


We’re here!

Welcome to the new Graphic + Digital Design (GDD) program blog. GDD was launched in September at the UFV Mission campus with a curriculum of communication/graphic design, interactive design, dynamic media, visual arts, and illustration. The courses are taught by industry professionals in state-of-the-art Mac labs and well-equipped studios where project-based learning, industry skills and knowledge are integrated. We engage in the professional community through industry events, conferences, studio visits, mentors, and guest speakers. Here, we’ll be sharing our projects, experiences, and news.

With thanks to Anne Russell for the photographs.


Meet Jason Neve

Graphic Designer and Art Director; Boardroom Eco® Apparel, Vancouver BC
Sessional Instructor; 159 Digital Design II

Born in Stuttgart, Germany, and raised in Ottawa, Jason attended Trent University in Peterborough Ontario and has a diploma in Graphic Design and Illustration from Capilano University in North Vancouver, BC. Before signing up to work for Boardroom Eco® Apparel—then later coming to Mission to teach Graphic Design—Jason was a university student, a tree planter, a construction worker, a ski bum, a prep cook, a professional painter, a bagel-maker, a high-rise renovation worker, and then finally an art school graduate, art director and a university sessional instructor.

When not desk-bound and pushing a stylus or teaching students Adobe InDesign, he likes to travel by bike throughout Vancouver visiting the patios and beaches, spending time with friends and family, pointing his camera at stuff, skiing, skateboarding, traveling, cooking, making music and making stuff.

Jason is an in-house graphic designer. He works on apparel, catalogs, websites, marketing materials, p.o.p and signage, and just about anything else.

“My goal as an instructor is to express that, as a designer, you will bring to the table your life experience and that the job demands more than robotic technical skill, although that is good too! Today’s graphic designers need to understand the concepts behind design, how design applies to business practice, and be future-thinkers—anticipating change and driving innovation.”

Influenced by: Action sports, music, entrepreneurs, travel.
Motivated by: Everyone doing everything better than me.
Fuelled by: FUN!
Entertained by: Friends and family, books, the internet, music, movies.

www.boardroomclothing.com | LinkedIn


GDD Outing: Practivism

Another highlight this semester was the introduction of social responsibility and sustainability. Students engaged in research and explored sustainability myths prevalent in the creative industry today, and designed posters and web graphics to bring new ideas to light. The myths were based on Valerie Elliott’s “10 Biggest Myths of Sustainable Design.”

The students attended the Society of Graphic Designers (GDC)’s  “Practivisim” event on November 5th where notable speakers shared sustainability projects and insight. This supported the students’ design process and shifted their thinking into new realms. They will never look at the world in the same way again!

Practivism* is about more than choosing recycled paper; it’s about envisioning and mobilizing a better future. Join us for an evening of design storytelling. Connect with others. Create change.

*Practivism = Practical methods for radical sustainability in design


Happy Holidays from GDD

This Christmas, please give the gift of networking and follow @UFVGDD on twitter! We’re kicking off our social media presence with The Night Before Christmas in the GDD labs:

‘Twas the night before #Christmas here in the lab,
not an iMac was stirring—not even an iPad.
Design comps were hung on the wall for critique,
in a tireless search for creative mystique.

With students at last reunited with family,
and wishing for gifts of hardware & eye-candy.
Staff at their studios, and faculty at home,
the only one left here is me, all alone.

I’m turning out lights and locking up rooms,
when an ominous “ding” sounds in the gloom.
The ill-boding chime of a notification—
just as i’m leaving for #ChristmasVacation!

It might not mean much to a casual observer,
but the #GDDProgram just lost it’s type-server.
The fonts are offline—Designers, beware!
I sprang from my @hermanmiller #AeronChair.

But what might have caused the server to crash?
Had I forgotten to rebuild the cache?
Did we have too many fonts activated,
to keep all our budding typographers sated?

On Bembo! on GaramondBaskerville and Caslon!
@AdobeType Library has been re-installed.
Now en-dash, now em-dash, now dash away all!

With that problem solved and naught left to do,
I start to log out—Command+Shift+Option+Q.
And just when I think I can finally go—
there’s a crash and a bang and a loud “Ho, Ho, Ho”.

He had to be #Santa, but something looked… wrong.
He was dressed all in orange, but I played along.
“Please help me,” he said, “It’s all such a mess—
my graphic designer spec’d the wrong PMS”

I reached for my @Pantone swatch book for a fix.
“Here you go, Santa, it’s red 186.
And everyone knows you can’t take the the skies,
with ‘Seasons Greetings’ at 72 DPI”

“What’s more, your letter-spacing’s quite concerning.
I’ll go right ahead and tighten that kerning.
Your Christmas list shouldn’t be centre aligned—
no wonder you’re checking it so many times.”

“Those sleigh-wrap graphics look really absurd—
were they created in Microsoft Word?
Say what you will about ‘best laid plans’
’til someone is naughty with #ComicSans.”

“So what? Your elf’s nephew took one course online.
Doesn’t mean he can handle your full redesign.
Let #GDD make you a true branding guide,
to help you approach each and every Yuletide.”

Ready at last, as he headed for the door,
he said, “Here’s something nice from the @AppleStore.”
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team sent a tweet.
Yes, even St. Nicholas uses @Hootsuite.

“You’ve helped me to see that my level of ‘Ho-Ho’
Doesn’t depend on the size of my logo.
And thank-you for getting my tagline just right—
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night™’”


Creative Hallowe’en fun

GDD Outing: THE {New/Old} BOOK

A highlight of the first semester included our “field-trip” to the the all-day Alcuin Society symposium on the printed and electronic book (…more) held at the Vancouver Public library on Thurdsay, October 18.

The students had the opportunity to hear celebrated book designers and publishers Crispin Elsted (of Mission’s very own Barbarian Press), Marian Bantjes, Shelley Gruendler (founder of Type Camp), Peter Cocking (Art director at Douglas & McIntyre), and Chip Kidd talk about their practice and share their knowledge.

At the end of Chipp Kidd’s talk, a GDD student asked for advice for emerging designers and Chip responded with “1. Talent, 2. Luck, and 3. Work, work, and work!” This resonated with the entire audience!

Karin Jager: GDD Program Co-ordinator

Karin is the program head for the new Graphic and Digital Design program and a strong advocate for the design profession. Karin’s career in design began as principal of Jager Design Inc. specializing in corporate communication and information design. In 1995, she began teaching communication design at Capilano University where she established the highly successful 3-year IDEA diploma program as well as serving on many institutional committees, including the University senate. She is a CGD certified member of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) since 1989.

As the current VP Education National for the GDC, Karin promotes student involvement in the professional community through events, scholarships and GDC membership. Her current focus in graphic design education is on program development at UFV and in academic research. She has a Master’s Degree in Education, majoring in post-secondary leadership from Simon Fraser University, complementing a 4-year diploma in graphic design from Emily Carr College of Art and Design she received in 1985.

Karin’s current research explores graphic design education in Canada where her findings point to a need for a more symbiotic relationship between education and the design profession. She has presented at numerous professional forums and looks forward to continuing to advocate for the profile of the graphic design profession and design education in Canada.

Influenced & inspired by: Jessica Hische, Armin Vit, IDEO, Meredith Davis… Lots of people!
Motivated by: Design thinkers & doers, deadlines, and my students.
Fuelled by: Peppermint tea, boot camp (yes … exercise!), design conferences and happy children.