DIGITAL DESIGN TALKS — Digital Chefs: Somin Heo, Gary Sylvester & Karen Whistler

The Theme of Digital Design Talks this time is Digital Chefs, since all of our speakers are going to talk about food and design! Two interesting subjects that we all love.

 Somin Heo: Our first speaker is one of our current VFS students in Digital Design. She turned our heads when she presented her branding project at the end of term 3. Somin is presenting A Healthy Design, which is an Identity and Branding package for a mobile food truck. With a background in Fashion Design, Somin has consistently showcased her talent and strength in design, since the beginning of her journey here at VFS Digital Design. We’re really looking forward to her presentation!


 Gary Sylvester: Our second speaker of the night is a Digital Design Alumnus. Gary is an Interactive and Branding Designer with a passion for food! He’s working as an Intermediate Designer at Noise Digital and Media Planet. He’s going to present The Sandwich Lovers, which is a multi- platform experience for people who love sandwiches. It seeks to create a unique community of people who share a passion for making and sharing delicious sandwiches and their recipes. Users will have a unified place to engage with like-minded people in a sandwich-only conversation. The best of the site content during a year will be published in both a interactive iPad and print magazine.


Karen Whistler: Our last speaker grew up in the Seattle area and attended Seattle Pacific University, double majoring in Visual Communication and Studio Arts. Early in her career, Karen worked on a wide spectrum of print and web design that included publications, advertising, brand strategy and development as well as marketing for a large digital agency. A few major clients included Expedia, Microsoft and T-Mobile. Karen recently completed her MA in Design from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, graduating top of her class as the valedictorian. During her Masters, she incorporated systems thinking into information, experience and interaction design. Her Masters’ thesis project used participatory design research practices to create a system for parents and children to collaborate with, making dinner together on busy weeknights. Currently, she is an Instructor at VFS and is working as a freelance designer for clients in Vancouver and Seattle.

Digital Design Talks is happening Wednesday, May 16th at 4:40pm in the Main Theatre at 420 Homer Street. Looking forward to seeing lots of designers there!

Digital Design Talks ‘Chops’ with J.R. Canest and Peter Gikandi

VFS Digital Design Talks Chops

The Digital Design Talks lecture series is changing it up this week. We have two heavy-hitters on the roster instead of the usual three. This will allow them both to dive a bit deeper into their presentations. The theme is ‘Chops’ and the bodies of work that our speakers have created proves unequivocally that they  have them.

Peter Gikandi, an environment and character artist working at Big Park Studios is returning for an encore presentation. He blew the students away a year ago when he did a live, improvised character-design tutorial. He had the audience shout out suggestions as he created a character from scratch, allowing their ideas to be his inspiration and walking us through  his approach to creating unique and memorable characters, impressing everyone with his technical prowess and showing everyone a few new tricks along the way. What will the results be this time? You’ll have to attend the presentation to find out!

J.R. Canest (Jorge R. Canedo Estrada) came to VFS as one of the VFS Youtube Scholarship winners. Crazy Enough (his title sequence project) started winning awards while Jorge was still a student (including being a finalist in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards) and  and has been featured on numerous Motion Design blogs. After graduating in 2009 he moved to LA to work at Buck in LA where the praise for his work continued on projects that he did for  Google Talk and the acclaimed documentary Waiting for Superman. We’re thrilled to have him back in Vancouver where he is now working at Giant Ant.

The event takes place on Wednesday March 14th, starting at 4:30pm in the Main Theatre at the 420 Homer Street Campus of VFS. Although it is part of the Digital Design curriculum it is open to the public. If you are interested in attending please send an RSVP to

Digital Design Talks: Originality

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We’re very fortunate to be starting the event with Tim Shetz, a bay area designer, instructor, and mentor who’ll kick off the evening with a presentation called ‘Be An Originator, Not a Duplicator’.  Tim has been working in the design industry in the San Francisco area for over 18 years. He currently spends most of his time providing guidance and inspiration to motion designers at a couple of design schools (including VFS) and through, the web-based video tutorial site he founded.

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