Upcoming DD Talks event: Defining Your Voice

Our next Digital Design Talks event will be held on Thursday, September 1st at 4:30pm!

Roger Dario is a designer and art director in Toronto, Ontario. Currently, he is an Associate Creative Director at digital production company Jam3 where he leads design and conceptual strategy for interactive projects.

His clientele have included Google, Facebook, Spotify, Cartoon Network, Canon, Toyota, and Skittles, and he has received awards from D&AD, One Show, Cannes Lions, Clio Awards, FWA, Awwwards, ADCC, and FITC Awards, among many others. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver, and has been published in several books and industry publications such as It’s Nice That, YCN, Applied Arts, Grain Edit, FastCoDesign, and Gizmodo.

Previously, he was a full-time freelancer and has worked with agencies and startups such as Buck, Bruce Mau Design, AKQA, BBDO, Cossette, Free Agency, Leo Burnett, Tribal DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi, Bench, and Format.
Parallel to his role at Jam3, he runs Material Object, a community print studio he co-founded with Marisa Torres. The studio’s current objectives are to investigate new print technologies both as a medium for publication and as an economical model for dissemination, and to offer a communal space for artists and writers to experiment and publish their work through the physical manifestation of print.

Recap of DD Talks with Secret Location: Building Digital Experiences

On May 25th, Noora Abu Eitah, Executive Producer at Secret Location, flew in from Toronto to discuss “Building Digital Experiences” at a DD Talks event. Noora is an award-winning producer who oversees the overall management of operations and production at Secret Location. She has managed the production of several transmedia projects for broadcasters and entertainment producers and works with the rest of Secret Location’s leadership team on new business and original projects, with a focus on successful execution and deployment. Her presentation started out with describing the studio’s creative process and project team structure of 7-people pods. Secret Location employs an agile project management style which is also taught at the Digital Design program. They have daily standing-only scrum meetings to maintain communication between team members in a short and timely fashion. Secret Location makes use of greyboards to provide clients a visually more descriptive layout and look of a project compared to standard wireframes. This is part of a unique process that involves using grey boxes and shapes as an intermediate design step before creating final designs.

Secret Location is known for its work on emerging platforms such as virtual reality (VR) having won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media category for User Experience and Visual Design in 2015 for The Sleepy Hollow: VR Experience. Noora presented an overview of the process and challenges they faced in creating VR projects. She discussed the different types of available VR hardware and their latest mobile VR game, Blasters of the Universe. Noora ended her presentation by answering questions such as how motion designers play a role in prototyping projects and the importance of understanding compression and file formats for VR deployment.

Thanks, Noora!

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INDUSTRY IQ STUDIO TOUR: TRIBAL DDB

(guest post by J-P Crowe, DD35)

We were finally going to meet DDB! And I had many burning questions deep in my soul. Did you make the interactive Christmas tree for Canadian Tire? What are the salmon facts? And what the heck is going on with Translink?

But there were serious questions as well. One of my close family friends has done public relations for oil companies and tobacco companies, trying to defend people with a bad rap. How do you do that? What is it like in this day and age, when your corner candy shop selling fair trade Camino chocolates has become the neighbourhood McDonalds selling McWraps, and every guy has got to survive?

When we sat down, they were eager to elaborate on the Our Food, Your Questions campaign they did for McDonald’s where they promise to answer any question you have about their food. We also learned about their work for BC Hydro encouraging the public to curb their energy consumption in order to meet the needs of a growing population.

Their physical space is incredibly impressive. With few separating walls, it’s mostly an expanse of desks and computer screens with people dressed in chic business casual clothes. Surrounding this space are windows from ceiling to floor gazing upon the surrounding grey apartment buildings in every direction. Maybe it’s the futurist in me that can’t help but think about each mind behind each window in each of those buildings that designers try to understand and reach. As we headed back down the graffiti stairwell I was reminded that this digital agency is business on the outside and human on the inside.

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APPETIZERS: DIGITAL DESIGN CLASS 33 INDUSTRY SHOWCASE

On April 19th, we held Appetizers, our Industry Showcase event. Class 33 impressed faculty and industry guests alike with their presentations which included a diverse mix of interactive and motion design projects. Appetizers is the culmination of the many long hours required to complete the Digital Design program, but it also marks the start of the students’ transition to being professional designers. It is their three minutes to shine by presenting one of their favourite projects from the past year. The students’ preparation paid off with great performances by all. This event has proven to be extremely popular with industry due to its quick-fire format and the quality of work presented. Following the presentations, the graduating students were able to mingle and further discuss their projects and portfolios with industry representatives over drinks and snacks.

Congratulations to class 33!

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INDUSTRY IQ STUDIO TOUR: NOISE DIGITAL

(guest post by Victor Platon, DD34)

The final Industry IQ studio visit for Digital Design class 34 arrived on a rainy afternoon in February. With umbrellas in hand, we headed south towards Yaletown and over to Noise Digital marketing agency. Once we arrived, we made our way upstairs where we were greeted by Creative Director Brian Krenzer. He quickly showed us their spacious office area, and brought us to the very back where the designers, writers and producers work in an open concept work space. Brian tells us that this format allows everyone to collaborate and work together more effectively. We saw many interesting paintings hung up along with an eclectic mix of design-inspired decorations. They also have a mini photo studio that allows them to do in-house photo sessions for smaller scale projects (complete with green screen). We were then escorted to their boardroom where we sat facing a very large flat panel display. Here Brian introduced us to Jessica Liew (Copywriter) and Clayton Whelan (Visual Designer).

The three of them proceeded to show us samples of Noise’s previous work portfolio, an impressive list of clients ranging from Sony Playstation, BCLC, Sugar Crisp cereal to Sapporo beer. Throughout the presentation the trio would explain the process and design decisions that occurred behind the scenes. They encouraged us to ask questions about their techniques, and were very generous with sharing the ups and downs they faced with every project. It was encouraging to realize that a large and established design agency like Noise faced some of the very same challenges we experience as design students. They highly suggested that we pay close attention to who our target audience is and to ensure that we speak to them in ways that are clear and concise. They also showed us their love for using data as a driving force for their design decisions. They look to data to provide insight, and to measure success. They believe that without the ability to objectively measure your project for results, you cannot gauge how well you solved the initial design solution.

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