Tag Archives: graphic design

Into The Wild

26 Jan

This time last year I was preparing to finish my last year of design school. While most days were spent worrying about project deadlines and final presentations, I also remember being clouded by thoughts regarding what I was to do once I was forced to leave this comfy nest called art school. Where will I work? How will I get there? Where do I start?

A year later, now three weeks into my role as Art Director, I thought I’d look back at what I’ve learned since then and see if I can’t share it with the next crop of students. Having just gone into the wild – here are a few tips that worked for me and a few more I didn’t get the chance to try.


Often times people would say to me “Victoria is so small that all the good design jobs are taken”. The way I see it, the smaller the town the easier it should be to stand out amongst the crowd. So before you decide to pack up and move to that neighbouring metropolis, remember: you have to ability to make a mark in your small town, too. Find out exactly what your dream job is and make it your goal. Stay optimistic and keep focused. The unfortunate reality is that as time passes your competition will slowly drop out of the race. If you manage to outlast you’ll start to move up the ladder.


Don’t sit idle between dropping off resumes. Do something to get your work noticed. Start a design blog and post local content, re-design your school newsletter and offer to maintain it, pitch your designs to companies you admire. Take a chance and don’t be afraid to be shot down. Sure you could get rejected, and at first you probably will – but if you’re lucky you might at least gain a pro’s insight regarding your work. While these ideas might not get you paid, they’re all are great steps towards growing your portfolio with real world experience.


Don’t stress this one. Networking will come naturally, if you’re here reading this blog then you’re already doing it. Because most jobs aren’t advertised, networking can be your best bet to get your foot in the door. Consider a student membership to the Graphic Designers of Canada. Your local chapter has dozens of social events each year. Why not start by volunteering to check coats or take tickets at an event? These events are meant to be fun, so relax. Nobody’s there to interview you, try to have fun and enjoy yourself. Your personality should be on show, not your portfolio.


Get to know any potential employers in your area. Navigate your way through the company, introduce yourself to the staff, find out what the mood around the office is like. Now the fun part – don’t just tell potential employers that you’re creative, show them!  Go a step further by customizing a package based on what you’ve learned. Put aside the typical resume. Try a website, video or DVD portfolio.


Now is the perfect time to start seeking out internships, scholarships and awards. Internships are your best bet for work right now, it’s how mostly all designers start.

Check Applied Arts, Communication Arts and Adobe for student awards. They’re a great way to get regional and even worldwide recognition for your work. Another benefit of the GDC is that they’ll do much of the work for you. A student membership gives you access to up-to-date job/internship postings, scholarships and awards info.

Get yourself a website to showcase your work but keep it simple, and remember when it comes to a portfolio it’s always quality over quantity. Be sure to replace old pieces with new ones as your skills progress. And if your web skills aren’t up to snuff yet, there’s plenty of easy-to-use portfolio sites out there. Try Behance , Carbon Made or Cargo Collective.


You’d be surprised what opportunities that might arise from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to access all three. Each one is different, so learn which to use for particular content. They’re a great way to engage with people, and give them a reason to follow you. Share unique content specific to you: your opinions, your portfolio pieces, and discussions that you’re taking part in.

Thanks for reading, I hope that helps. I’ve included my icon pack for download if you’d like them for personal use. For now you can get to know us @YourCopeland. We love students.


Victoria’s Up and Comers, Part 5

20 Apr

This is the fifth in a series of 6 posts that hopes to bring some promising local grads and current students to the attention of the larger business community.

MIRANDA STREET: Cool name, cool graphic designer.

EDUCATION: Final year of Graphic Design program at Pacific Design Academy

FACEBOOK: Miranda Street Designs

TWITTER: twitter.com/MirandaSDesigns

Some people are just blessed with an abundance of natural talent and Miranda Street is one of them. Plus she’s got that name.

Not content to rest on her gifts as an illustrator, Miranda is preparing to make her mark in the larger graphic design world

Her 2-year program at Pacific Design Academy is almost done and the experience has convinced the Victoria native that her future lies in web design.

That’s good news for Victoria’s ad agencies and design shops, who are always on the hunt for great home-grown digital talent.

But a look at her Facebook page will tell you that her print chops are nothing to dismiss. She can really do it all, from her fanciful Madeline-like design for local cupcake chain Ooh La La, to the sophisticated blast of sound and vision that comes through on her posters for the TD Jazz Festival.

Her PDA cohort, our Zombie Intern Contest winner Danny Prew, has this to say about Miranda: “I couldn’t recommend a better designer or more modest classmate than Miranda Street.”

Natural talent and the coolest designer name going. Some people are just born for success.

In pursuit of a perfect idea

16 Jun

Bob Gill, the famously minimalist American graphic designer, believed that there was such a thing as a perfect idea. He even came up with a few of them.One_red_paperclip

A classic is a lunch invitation he was asked to create for the U.N. Gill simply grabbed some U.N. stationary and wrote an L before the U.N. and a CH after it. Perfectly simple, simply perfect.

I may have done one myself, perhaps not quite to Gill’s standards, some years ago with an entry for my then-agency McCann Erickson in a self-promotion poster contest. I simply put the letters M E in the middle of the poster.

Saw another this week in Ottawa for Firkin University. The university has a lower tuition than most universities. Their headline was “Say F.U. to student loans.” Brilliant.

It’s probably the best of the lot because the language speaks so beautifully to its intended target. Wish I’d done it.