Digital Design 2012 : Memorable Moments

January & February

The year got off to a quick start as the students at the half-way point of their studies focused on their project to work with non-profit organizations, giving them a taste of what it takes to be an effective designer in the ‘real world.’ In the What’s the Big Idea — Clients & Collaboration class, students explore and are challenged to create digital strategies that align with their own growth opportunities, while still meeting the core needs of the client. This becomes a test of, not only their conceptual abilities, but their ability to execute a precise strategy within a strict timeline.

We once again paired with Brainstreams.ca to help produce a new interactive experience, capturing stories of the many people who have experienced brain injuries themselves or who have a loved one who has.

Students also teamed up with the Association for the Children of Mozambique (ASEM); a charitable organization founded in 1991 by Barbara Hofmann in order to help children and young adults of Mozambique who are living in difficult conditions improve their chances of survival and even, blossom within their communities.

ASEM serves orphans, abandoned children, children in extreme poverty, and victims of HIV/AIDS. Even today, thousands of children still live in the streets, abandoned, homeless, without food or shelter, and without any protection against violence and sexual abuse.

March & April

Flashback to 1996: Four Digital Design grads are sitting at a bagel shop in Vancouver (Benny’s Bagels). They have four distinctly different personalities — but they converge on a single idea: that the internet is about to change everything. Gurval CaerLee FeldmanFrancis Chan, and Gary Stuart knew they had the right combination to create an agency, and they did: Blast Radius.

Fast Forward to March 2012: Ever since the inception of Blast Radius, these Digital Design alumni have given back to their alma mater by informing curriculum development, mentoring students, speaking, instructing and hiring grads. As part of its ongoing involvement in our community, they recently hosted our Term-3 students on an agency visit. As always, it was informative, inspirational and… a blast!

Students were greeted by Senior Recruiter, Harry Tran, who introduced them to key Blastees throughout their Yaletown warehouse, which spans multiple floors. It’s a truly open concept — even Gurval, the CEO, doesn’t have an office. The space is arranged in zones: Project Management, Strategy, Creative, Technology. And then there’s Academy, the content creation studio/digital think tank within Blast Radius, which also serves as part innovation lab.

One of the best aspects of these tours is seeing friends and former students. We didn’t get to see all our alums who our now at Blast Radius, but we got a chance to catch up with Teresa Chang (DD19), Jake Graydon (DD13), Sumit Seru (DD02), Alex Rupert (DD02), and Mitsu Yajima (IM53).

In April, for our Quarterly Design SLAM, we had the pleasure of teaming up with iQmetrix. Founded in 1999,  iQmetrix is the leading provider of retail management solutions for the North American wireless industry. They strive to create the ultimate retail experience for the consumer, the employee and the business. Many of the experiences they deliver include cutting edge technologies, such as the Microsoft Surface.

For this SLAM, students were challenged to conceptualize a retail experience for one of the following verticals: Hardware, Technical Clothing, or Footwear. The theme was transformation, and students embraced the idea of becoming transformers.

Ayogo + VFS Digital Design Career Jumpstart

April was also the month that VFS Digital Design and Ayogo Games launched a new partnership program. The Ayogo Games + VFS Digital Design Career Jumpstart Program is open to every graduating class. Each intern will be assigned a mentor based on his or her background and role in the company, with ongoing guidance and mentoring by Ayogo Games, Inc. Creative Director, Jesse Spink.

“We’re really excited to announce the launch of our internship program with the Digital Design program,” says Spink. “We’ve had a great experience working with and hiring students from VFS in the past and it seemed like a logical next step to better align ourselves with both the school and the program.”

For the final key event for April 2012 we were proud to graduate the 21st class from Digital Design (Which was actually the 75th graduating class of this program, formerly known as New Media and Interactive Media.)

May & June

The Branding Instructors Maria Kennedy and Monica Martinez made an immediate impact on the students in May; especially Laura Cortes. When faced with the challenge that the Branding course presented her, Laura said, “Being from Portugal gave me a lot of inspiration, because European culture (especially Mediterranean) is already distinct. And when it comes to food, the Southern Countries have a really rich cuisine.” So, Laura realized she needed to create a branding project related to Portugal and one that was memorable and unique. With her ideas for Cozina, she certainly proved she could rise to the challenge.

Cozina Menus : 4 Variations

Green Cozina Bags

Students did well in the awards category in May, with students Andrea Garza and Vanessa Aldana winning a Salazar Award in the Video & Motion category for their title sequence project, Calin Island.

And Amrit Pal Singh received recognition as a finalist for his grad project, Mr. Bumbel’s Museum Of Toys.

Mr Bumbel Poster and Recognition Notice

Sometimes here at Digital Design we just look for a little inspiration, while also applying efforts to defeat and conquer what seemed like endless rain last May…. and we won! The rain didn’t show up at all — but 80+ eager Draw By Night participants did! We drew sea monsters, mermaids, fishmen…even a unicorn-maid made an appearance at DBN #22 — AquaVelvet.

In June, grad, Simon Vieira became Art Director at a new Start-Up called Storypanda, which launched to a bit of fanfare. Part of 500 Startups, Storypanda develops storytelling for families using a variety of platforms: mobile, web, TV/film, games, toys, and educational. The childrens’ books are structured for interactive collaboration, allowing children to engage in the creation of the story, which they may then share with their family and friends. Simon also paired up as a mentor with one of Digital Design current students, Kevin Hubbard, and will be using his expertise in interactive design, illustrations and publishing to help Kevin realize his graduate project vision.

storypanda banner

July & August

In July, Digital Designers shone again on motion and communication fronts. Our 22nd Class let their personality show in the funky, quirky assortment of works they produced for our Communication Design 5 – Packaging course. Colour, boldness and vibrancy was a consistent theme for them, whether the packages they designed were for whimsical children’s fashions and games, for sophisticated beer bottles and carriers, or for elegant tea boxes and distinctive juice bottles.

In July, Dominik Grejc and Nicholas Maykot Ferreira showcased their Motion Graphic piece, MOVA, to an impressed audience at Digital Design Talks. The piece also won the prize for Best Motion Graphic at the 22nd Digital Design Graduation Awards (in August) and was more recently featured in Stash’s issue 96 and on Motionographer.

MOVA Screenshot

On August 15th, students from VFS’s 22nd Digital Design Graduating Class presented their final projects at Appetizers — the main event at the end of their study, where Industry members are invited to meet the next generation of Design Professionals.

A wide range of stunning works were shown to the audience, who included representatives from such local and international companies as, DDBMicrosoftHabaneroDesign StampTaxiEngine DigitaliQmetrixSequenceRelicEAVanCityFilter and Ayogo Games.

22nd Graduating Class Digital Design

We were happy and honoured to celebrate the great achievements of our 22nd graduating class!!

September & October

In September, Digital Design grad Owen Chen embraced one of our core philosophies at VFS – Pioneer and embrace failure. He entered into the Start Up Weekend and was able to team up at the event with two other VFS alumni: his classmate Saadi Alkouatli; and Yu Wen (Nancy) Sun, who is currently working at iQmetrix. The Startup Weekend marked the first time he heard the phrase Fail Harder and learned its real importance. He kicked off his final pitch with the following slide:

4 Pivots,
2 Days,
1 Missing team member.

…which should give you some idea about how hard they failed during the 2 day period.

John and Owen doing the pitch

They changed their original idea so much that the end product had nothing to do with their original idea for business cards. Their concepts were shot down completely after doing basic user testing. They came up with their final idea when they were 6 hours away from the pitch and had to start again from scratch. They also had an important team member who didn’t show up on the last day, due to previous disagreements about ideas. On the last day, they debated whether to pitch their idea at all. Basically, everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong. But what a wonderful learning experience!

Owen Chan About Page image

 Our Team — just before the Pitch

Read the full story

Slide from thelearnstartup.com principles

A large component of our program is introducing students to the business of design, whether it is by creating opportunities to network with industry professionals, or presenting their ideas in talks. Creating whole-brain design leaders is a key part of our program.

When starting a business, most of the owners will have a small client base already in place, but what makes your business successful and allows you to continue and grow is totally a different story. The theme of October’s Digital Design Talks was Launch Pad. Our speakers took students through their personal journeys as first-time business owners in the design world.

We invited alumnus Carter Gilchrist, and current Digital Design student Novita Prasetia (a.k.a. Vivi), to present their amazing stories to us. Carter Gilchrist has over 13 years of web experience and has worked on a diverse portfolio of projects. In 2009, he co-founded Unbounce with 5 other colleagues, and is currently the Director of Product and User Experience. When Vivi was in high school she was not sure which path exactly to choose for her future, but she knew that she wanted to be in a creative environment. After a while, she chose Film Production and got her Bachelor’s with Honors in Film and TV from Limkokwing University of Technology in Malaysia.

November & December

In November we held one of our most anticipated Digital Design Talks, with students unveiling a nine-month initiative, followed by a presentation by Mark Raham, the Creative Director for the Vancouver Canucks. Digital Design students, Ryan Ali, David Calderon Navarro, Ivan Aguilar, Alejandro Davila, with sound design by Logan Smith, and with critical technical assistance by Colin Gray, presented their Projection Mapping Project Surface. This amazing piece of work was a grand collaborative experiment conducted by the team outside of any specific program requirement, but wholly in the spirit of the program’s principles.

Mark Raham with slide Vancouver-Canucks-Layered-Experiences

Mark Raham speaking at Digital Design Talks

November also had one of the Big Idea teams create a campaign to help promote the The World Kindness Concert, which took place at The Centre in Vancouver For Performing Arts on Friday, November 16th 2012. Bhoomika DuttaGrigor CheitanovNovita Prasetia, & Michael Qin presented a thorough campaign strategy to Brock Tully, founder of The World Kindness Concert, and Jeanette O’Keeffe from MoonCoin Productions

Brock and Jeanette were so impressed by the students Pass It On campaign ideas that they went straight ahead and implemented them. On Friday, November 2, 2012, at Noon, along with fellow MoonCoin co-founder Jonas Falle, plus a group of volunteers, they gathered on the front steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, just by Robson Square, and handed out 50 umbrellas to people passing by, emblazoned with Team Click’s logo and tag-line: Pass It On!

Congratulations to Bhoomika Dutta, Grigor Cheitanov, Novita Prasetia, & Michael Qin for their great work!

Check out the Pass It On Twitter and Kindness Concert Facebook sites — And if someone hands you one of these yellow umbrellas, take a picture, post it online and then remember to Pass It On!

The Pass It On Umbrella campaign umbrellas open

In December, with the festive season upon us, we decided to hold our first annual Gingerbread House Party. Members from each of our current three classes participated in a spirited Ginger Bread Bake-off!

VFS Bootcamp?

At the end of the year students nominate an instructor and a student speaker(s) to speak on their behalf. Our 23rd class graduated with one of the most entertaining student grad speeches we have heard to date. This class kicked butt all year as design commandos.

We proudly celebrated the hard work of our 23rd graduating class of the Digital Design Program!

Digital Design's 23rd Graduating Class

Thank you to all the wonderful staff and students who made 2012 such a memorable and remarkable year!

View our current Digital Design Curriculum

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