RGD HeadStart Conference: Part 2

The second half of the RGD HeadStart conference was just as jam-packed with useful information as the first half, plus with extra free goodies (seen above). The presentations exceeded my expectations and made me think about things I wouldn’t have otherwise considered such as how to be a successful freelancer. I also got much needed advice on how to approach interviews, and how to lessen the anxiety when it comes to networking. During the talks, we were encouraged to tweet pieces of information and quotes that we found valuable during the conference. To my utter surprise, I was selected as one of the winners of the contest. I received a book called Playing with Sketches: 50 Creative Exercises for Designers and Artists by Whitney Sherman. As a book lover and artist, I was over the moon. I now have a way to help combat art-block, and I can fill my sketchbooks with new ideas.

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RGD Headstart Conference: Part 1

abby-headstart

I was generously invited to attend the RGD HeadStart Conference by the kind folks over at Creative Niche. HeadStart is RGD‘s largest conference for emerging designers and students. There are various presentations and panels that discuss the latest trends in the design industry, how to land your dream job, how to start a successful freelancing career, and more! Their experienced speakers guided us through the process of creating a strong portfolio, and also gave invaluable interview tips. One-on-one portfolio review sessions allowed industry professionals to give us constructive criticism on our work. It also gave us the chance to practice our interview skills. It was a full, jam-packed day, and I learned so much that it couldn’t be contained in one blog post. Let’s begin!

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The Road Ahead After Graduation

alexander

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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It’s Always Sunny at The Weather Network

John

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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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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Show ‘Em Your Chops! (Design Chops, Not Pork Chops)

Norma and Brad

Brad Huffman and Norma Penner from Sapient Nitro came to visit us to talk about their experience in the design industry. They got us pumped for the work life ahead! Sapient Nitro is a design agency that focuses on connecting consumers with brands by combining brand advertising, digital marketing, experience innovation and omni-channel commerce. Unlike other agencies, Sapient is purely digital. They have 35 offices worldwide, and their Toronto branch has over 300 employees. The company takes on the personalities of their clients instead of expecting their clients to be like them. It works out in the long run because that would pretty much guarantee a satisfied client — who doesn’t want that? Their presentation highlighted the importance of showcasing your design chops. If you can cook some mean pork chops,  too, that’s also a good asset.

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