The Road to Success is a Non-Linear Path

mirandaMiranda Urbanski, manger of web marketing and communications at Bell Mobility, came to our class to talk about her non-linear career path, and the fact that there’s more than one way to get to where you’re going. Like many of our guest speakers, she is a graduate of Sheridan’s New Media Program (now called Web Design). She holds various degrees such as a Bachelor and Masters of Fine Art, in addition to many certificates
in Business and Web Marketing. Despite all this, she said her one year at Sheridan was the most useful. This is a comforting thought for us as we finish off the school year. Miranda gave us great advice when it comes to sampling different jobs and weaving our own career paths. Not one path will be the same as another, and Miranda’s is truly unique!

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The Road Ahead After Graduation

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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.

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SEO Ninjas and Conversion Rate Optimization

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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.

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It’s Always Sunny at The Weather Network

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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.

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Information Visualizations: Changing the Way We Look at Data

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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.

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The Highs and Lows of the Web Design Industry

ImageOur 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.

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Squeezing Fitness into the Busy Life of a Web Designer

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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.

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Behind the Scenes in the Digital Production Industry

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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.

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Interactivity, Transmedia, and the Things You Can Do With HTML5

Pietro

The Secret Location‘s very own VP and Creative Director, Pietro Gagliano, dropped by our class to talk about interactive digital story telling and transmedia. Pietro showed us extensive and impressive case studies of past projects, including process work, wireframes, mood boards, competitive audits, and reels. I was blown away by the amount of interactive game-related work that his company produced for big clients like The Amazing Race Canada and Big Brother Canada. Next time I watch these shows, I’ll remember the hard work of Pietro and his team.

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The Ever-Changing World of the Web

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Sabaa Quao came to speak to us about the changing landscape of marketing and web design. He is the co-founder and President of /newsrooms, a company that started in 2012 and since grew into a network that builds continuous content marketing and social media coverage for brands like TD Bank, KPMG, Citrix, Audi, and more. The most important lesson I took away from Sabaa’s talk was that we shouldn’t get too comfortable with the technology we’re using today because it will soon change. Adobe CS6 will evolve into a new version, as will all our other programs and devices. The question is, will we keep up with the change?

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