2015 ADOBE DESIGN ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS: Social Impact Design winners

(guest post by Kirstin Smith)

If you want to strike fear in the heart of any young hopeful, just remind them that life on the outside will be nothing like the experience of studying and that they are completely unprepared. During most of my years as a student this sentiment was the norm. It was all too often that an instructor referred to something called the ‘real world’. They explained that when we get out there it won’t be anything like the classroom.

My experience in Vancouver Film School’s Digital Design however, was unlike any I’ve had before. In the Digital Design program, we had the opportunity to work with a client; that’s right, a ‘real’ client. The experience instilled confidence and know-how that other assignments simple couldn’t have.

The class in which we worked with Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is called The Big Idea. The intention of the class is to allow students to have an experience working with a client and using their design skills to contribute to a good cause. The team at Digital Design assigns the client, always selecting a non-profit for students to work with. DD30 were lucky enough to work for Canuck Place, a children’s hospice with a small team and a big heart. We were all excited by the opportunity to work for them and immediately felt an emotional connection to the project.

The brief included both a micro-site and a promotional motion piece. With the encouragement of the staff at DD, each team began by researching our client.

My team was made up of Shafakat Reshamvala, Ignacio Osorio, Stephanie Leung, Amrit Dhadly, and myself, Kirstin Smith. We called ourselves Blue Lobster and got to work. Like all the DD30 teams, Blue Lobster became very invested in the project the more we learned about the people affected and wanted to represent Canuck Place properly. A few DD students attended the Canuck Place Adventure Race to see the organization at work and speak to the staff and volunteers. We learned why they love what they do and tried our best to translate that to the work we did for them.

The Blue Lobster motion team consisted of myself, Shafakat and Ignacio. The three of us decided on using the phrase ‘Small But Mighty’ as our controlling idea because both the organization and the people affected by it fit that description. Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is a relatively small organization that does so much powerful work and provides incredible support. The children and families Canuck Place supports may also be small but they are unbelievably strong.

The hospice has a very personal touch so we chose to use frame-by-frame animation in order to convey that feeling. It is hand drawn in Photoshop and hand crafted with a similar personal touch that Canuck Place has. We worked for 2 months on the project, late nights and early mornings.

Canuck Place chose to use several motion pieces as promotional material on their website and social media. Knowing that something we made as students will be used to benefit an organization we had come to admire was award enough for our hard work. Months later, however, we were humbled to have the same work, Canuck Place. Small But Mighty, recognized with an award from Adobe.

The Adobe Design Achievement Awards (ADAA) is an international competition for students in creative arts. We won in the category of Social Impact Design. This category includes designs intended to raise awareness of or provide solutions for some kind of socially impactful concept. We are very flattered and excited to be included alongside some very deserving work from around the world.

Myself, Shafakat and Ignacio are now all working as motion designers in Vancouver (a.k.a. the real world) and we are all looking forward to doing more projects that have a positive social impact. It is very nice to be recognized for doing this kind of work because it is ultimately what all three of us hope to continue to do.

Although, we worked hard, we cannot take all the credit for this award. Canuck Place Children’s Hospice allowed us the opportunity by trusting the DD students to do the work and the staff at Digital Design ultimately contributed to our success more than we can put into words.

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