“It’s About Helping With Design”

Digital Design grad Ileana Hierro‘s Sandbox project required many hours of research, brainstorming, and hard work. As her final project at VFS (and now her portfolio’s centrepiece), she built an in-depth branding guide from the ground up, conceptualizing a global non-profit organization that aims to strengthen communities in the process.

Ileana knew early on that she wanted her final project to not only show off her skills as a designer, but also her passion to help others.

‘I wanted to show that, as designers, we can do commercial and non-commercial work,’ Ileana says. ‘Then I wanted to show that, with design, you can help solve problems’; It’s not just about selling design; it’s about helping with design.’

She decided to focus her project on highlighting the lack of children’s playgrounds in her hometown of Mexico City, and offered her solution to the problem: convert the city’s wasted and/or unused spaces into playgrounds.

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Grad’s Rebrand Wins an Applied Arts Award

Yuan You's Rebrand of Tapioca Inc. Digital Design grad Yuan You has brought a whole new life to tapioca. She recently won a student design award from Applied Arts – “Canada’s Visual Communications Magazine” – for her rebrand of Tapioca Inc., a Taiwanese-American bubble tea chain. You’ll see Yuan’s name listed in the Sept/Oct issue of Applied Arts.

In a rebrand, designers have the power to reinvent a business. Here, Yuan reconceptualized Tapioca Inc.’s look, and mapped out ways to brand everything from business cards to the storefront design and even a car.

Congrats, Yuan. Great work!

Grad Rebrands MuchMore

MuchMore rebranded - logo designed by Digital Design grad Nicholas Alexander Remember Nicolas Alexander? You should. While at VFS, the Digital Design grad was on the  team that made A Brief Guide About Bridesmaids, and he also joined forces with Yaniv Fridman on  Miniature Rocket.

Nick graduated last August. In the seven months since, he’s been busy, and his handiwork can already be seen nationwide. That’s because he went to work for MuchMusic, and was the designer tasked with the rebranding of MuchMoreMusic, the 11-year-old offshoot of Canada’s longest-running music TV channel.

Now called simply MuchMore, the rebrand launched this week. You can see it for yourself on the MuchMore website or just by turning on your TV. (That’s channel 35 to Vancouver Shaw cable customers.)

“I spent the last three months building the visual language and designed just about every graphic element on air right now including the new MuchMore logo,” Nick explains.

“Even though I did some animation work for the relaunch,” he says, “I had the pleasure of working with one of the best animation houses in Canada, Crush, who animated most of the promo elements and I must say, did an excellent job translating my styleframes, storyboards and typography work into animation.”

As if that weren’t enough, Nick’s recently started up a new design blog called Left Brain, Write Brain with fellow grads Jamie Peterson and Jadyn Aguilar, and he’s also working on reinventing his own blog, Good Morning Stranger, with the help of grad Pablo Kraus. (As Nick says, “Network, network!”)

Oh, and he’ll be featured in the next issue of Advance Photoshop Magazine for a retro art special. Well done, Nick. Can’t wait to find out what’s next.

Update: Some spirited debate on Under Consideration’s Brand New about the redesign. Like it or hate the new logo, it’s something that’s gotten people talking. (Thanks, Matthew.)

Dark Igloo : Branding the World

Some of Dark Igloo's recent work Pepsi. Doritos. Target. MTV. They’re some of the world’s biggest brands, and in recent months, they’ve all turned to VFS grad Mark Miller‘s Dark Igloo.

Since graduating from the one-year Digital Design program in 2005 — as part of its very first graduating class, in fact — Mark hasn’t had much in the way of downtime. He headed straight to New York and signed on with Firstborn Multimedia, where he spent a year creating Flash interfaces. From there, thehappycorp global.

Now, with momentum on his side, he’s slingshotted into a new challenge altogether — running the Brooklyn-based Dark Igloo with co-founder Dave Franzese. And in less than a year, they’ve worked with an all-star roster of clients. All the while, Mark’s somehow managed to continue his daily design exercise, stretch daily.

We’ve written about Mark before – notably to touch base on his work with thehappycorp. But we were craving an update on his new projects, and caught up with Mark to talk Dark Igloo, the bliss of MTV-fed nostalgia, and what the future holds for this designer on the rise.

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