Here’s what goes on behind the scenes whenever I draw a new guest speaker illustration. I thought it’d be fun to record my screen as I worked. This illustration is of Design Lab CEO, Alexander Younger. Enjoy!
Alexander Younger, the President and CEO of Design Lab, came by to give us excellent advice regarding the job search process. He talked about the importance of company culture, and the difference between the waterfall and agile working process. Design Lab is an agency in downtown Toronto that has a strong corporate culture and has won many marketing & communications awards. All of their computers are powered by the sun, and they even have a useful green mini site and energy calculator that can help you cut down on energy consumption and costs. Overall, Alexander’s presentation made me more optimistic about job searching.
Our next guest speaker was Justin Cook, the Director of Internet Marketing at 9thCO. The company is a web design and marketing agency in downtown Toronto that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) to drive traffic and leads to client websites. Justin gave us a thorough overview of the different roles in an internet marketing firm, and presented many case studies of successful SEO and SEM he experienced with his clients. I’ll be focusing on two topics Justin touched on: SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) — if you haven’t already guessed, there’ll be a lot of acronyms in this post.
No one’s ever too old for a field trip, and our class did just that when we visited The Weather Network‘s headquarters in Oakville. We were blown away by the hospitality and kindness of all the employees who work there. The Vice President of Design & UX, John Gallant, welcomed us with open arms and gave us a thorough presentation about the company’s work. We were even treated to a pizza lunch, tour and gifts. We couldn’t ask for more, and we certainly got more than we expected! The trip opened my eyes to the hard work involved in delivering the weather every day.
Isabel Meirelles gave a presentation at Sheridan College’s lecture hall about why we need information visualizations. She is an information designer, author and associate professor of graphic design at Northeastern University in Boston. Her presentation looked at information visualization from a research and historical perspective. She gave us an overview of how information visualization was used in earlier centuries by scribes, doctors and more to convey complex information in a simpler form. What I found most interesting was how web design and interaction design play a huge role in making information visualizations more compelling and easier to understand.
Craig Hodges and Adele Wootton came to visit us from Creative Niche, a recruitment management company that helps connect employers with the top talent in the creative industry. Adele is the Director of Client Services, and Craig is the Relationship Manager. They both have many years of experience working in creative recruiting, and shared valuable tips regarding resumes and online portfolios. They covered how to conduct yourself in an interview, soft skills and hard skills, and the difference between working for agencies versus client-side. If you’re looking for a job in the near future (like me), you might want to read this!
Our first guest speaker after winter break was Lily Varga, the Digital Art Director at TraffikGroup. The company is an integrated advertising agency located in downtown Toronto. They develop strong marketing strategies for clients like Diageo, Canada Dry, Xbox, and many others. Like the majority of our guest speakers, Lily is a former graduate of Sheridan’s Web Design program, and had a lot to say about what life is like after graduation. Before landing her current position, she dipped her feet into various jobs and had many horror stories to tell. Thankfully, her stories all have a happy ending.
It’s that time of year: the final week when all our projects are due and you think you can’t possibly finish them all. Breathe. Breathe. We can vanquish those monstrous bugs in our code, we can motion-tween our way through gruelling Flash assignments. The end is near, so fight on fellow web designers, fight on! We can do this. We are <strong>
…see what I did there?
Long hours of staring in front of a computer screen all day takes a toll on a web designer’s body. You’ll feel it in your wrists, back, hips, neck–and pretty much everywhere. I’m grateful that our class got to go to the gym at Sheridan’s Davis campus where we got a personal fitness assessment by the students of the Sheridan Sports Injury Program. We also learned about proper posture and exercise techniques that we could incorporate into our hectic lifestyles.
The Creative Director of Colorfield, Michael Gramlow, came to speak to us about the digital production industry and the importance of getting your work recognized in a rapidly changing environment. Colorfied’s clients are generally ad agencies in the U.S. (hence the reason why their name doesn’t have that oh-so-Canadian “u” in “colour”) even though they’re based in Toronto. Their creative work involves everything from web design, animation, development, production management, sound and design production, shooting, and tons more. Their clients include Chevy, Ford, Subaru, NBC, American Express, Google, Old Navy, amongst others. As designers, we don’t always have to work for agencies, there are other options out there, one of which is the fun (but highly work-intensive) world of digital production.