Blast Radius, the interactive agency which was founded by a gaggle of Digital Design (then a 40-week multimedia program) alumni in 1996, was acquired last week by WPP Group PLC – a sign of just how successful it’s become, to the tune of $41.8 million in sales last year. It’s been a fixture of the Vancouver scene since the mid-’90s, and has always been home to a lot of VFS grads. The next step towards global Digital Design domination? Time will tell.
Anyone who goes through Digital Design knows the philosophy of the program: a good designer is a provider of creative solutions, who can work in any medium, and is equally adept freelancing or working as part of a team at a large studio.
Graduate Renee Alarid couldn’t embody that philosophy any more if she tried. We caught up with Renee to hear about her career thus far, from the Discovery Channel to AOL.
How do you describe yourself as a designer?
I describe myself as a multi-functional designer… some days I am a print designer, or a web designer, or a motion graphic designer. It really depends on what job I need to accomplish. I love all three and I can’t really focus on one aspect of ‘graphic design’.
What kind of design do you enjoy most?
Oh, that’s a toss up… for me, print is the most enjoyable part of design. A lot of people forget that print design is still a huge part of the industry. I love it… I find it to be very creative and rewarding. I had an ad that was in Time, Newsweek and The New Yorker; let me tell you, it was such a thrill to see it in those magazines. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was at Barnes and Noble jumping around like a child at Christmas’¦ needless to say, I bought four copies of each, and told everyone that I created those ads.
How did you first get started doing work for the Discovery Channel?
I started working at Discovery Channel on a two-week contract in March of 2006. I was hired to work on the Affiliate campaign of Shark Week. From there, my contract was extended, and I worked there for a year and a half.
There’s never a boring day at VFS. Case in point: This week the school had one of the world’s most audacious and innovative web designers over for a visit. Ever since the launch of his seminal website Praystation and its even more experimental offshoot Once-Upon-A-Forest, Joshua Davis has been considered a true artist in the world of Flash-based graphic design. Joshua’s work incorporates chaos theory, interactivity, and randomized content to create stunning, organic imagery generated by Flash Actionscript at runtime. In other words, each time the code is executed in Flash, Joshua makes a totally unique image.
Buzzing on his own incredible creative energy (plus at least two cans of Red Bull in the space of an hour), Joshua took Digital Design students and guests through a step-by-step Flash presentation that laid out his entire creative process from early code experiments to final results for clients like BMW and Adobe, as well as contemporary art exhibitions across the globe. Many examples of his process can be found at his workshop page, and it’s all open source so you can figure out for yourself how he’s done it. Joshua’s unflinching honesty, unsoaped vocabulary, DIY ethic, and willingness to answer any and all questions made his visit to VFS a unique opportunity to look into the mind of a true master.