July 27, 2006
Imagine every business embracing the world of design
TORONTO-Imagine never having to sell a potential client on the importance of design, ever. Meric Gertler is helping make that dream a reality. The University of Toronto professor is the project director of a new report on Toronto’s creative economy, titled Imagine a Toronto… Strategies for a Creative City.
According to the report, “the goal of this project is to produce a strategy that addresses the current needs of Toronto’s creative economy, promotes its future growth and leverages these creative assets to enhance economic and social opportunity.”
The report was released on Monday at MaRS Discovery District, one of the study’s examples of successful creative convergence as brings the science, business, finance and art sectors together under one roof.
Toronto’s Creative Cities Leadership Team commissioned the study with support from the Ontario government and the City of Toronto and in partnership with Creative London, a similar initiative in the U.K.’s capital.
Case studies have also been conducted in Barcelona, Berlin, New York and San Francisco.
“If there’s one thing [Toronto] could learn in the design realm from our case studies,” says Gertler, “it would be that these are places (especially London and Barcelona) that have really embraced and recognized the value of good design in all of its various forms and profited by it economically.”
Although he’s seeing more recognition by the government of the importance of our creative economy, he says, “we have a lot of work to do in demonstrating to potential firms who could be making use of design services in Canada, in Toronto of just how much value this can add to their success.”
For more on this study watch for the September/October issue of Design Edge Canada. Contact: www.imagineatoronto.ca
International design students recognized at the ROM
TORONTOAn abundance of hors d’oeuvres and an open bar weren’t the only flashy elements on offer at the Adobe Design Achievement Awards last Wednesday. Displayed in the Royal Ontario Museum were 27 works, chosen from entries submitted by 1,800 post-secondary students from 24 countries. The winners of all nine categories including animation, motion graphics, interactive design, print: single page and multi-page, photography, digital illustration, environmental graphics and packaging, and live action were announced during the event.
Toronto designers Dominic Ayre, associate at Hambley & Woolley, and Scott Christie of Pylon Design were the masters of ceremonies for the awards presentation. They shared humourous anecdotes about comical clients and were joined by some of the city’s top designers to present the awards. In its sixth year, this was the first time the event was held outside the U.S. To see all of the finalists’ work, visit www.adobe.com/education/adaa/winners/
July 20, 2006
Lots of new business means more Taxi in Toronto
TORONTOAfter several successful projects with McCain Foods Canada, Toronto-based ad and design agency Taxi has been named its agency of record, according to PubZone.com. Taxi will now be responsible for the strategic planning, creative development, and production services of television, radio, and print advertising for the consumer food company.
This latest account comes after several new business wins that led to another recent announcement from Taxi. In addition to its offices in Calgary, Montreal and New York, Taxi will be opening a second Toronto office this September. The expansion follows the company’s mandate to keep staffing levels at 150 people or less per location. According to Report on Business, this thinking is based on the theories of British anthropologist Robin Dunbar who found that groups work best when their numbers are capped at 150 or less.
Taxi II will be run by creative director Lance Martin and general manager Jeremy Gayton. Clients will include BMW’s Mini, restaurant chain Jack Astor’s, and Coca Cola’s Fresca. Contact: www.taxi.ca
Students have arrived and the Adobe Design Achievement festivities have begun
TORONTOAdobe Inc. representatives welcomed the finalists of its sixth annual Adobe Design Achievement Awards during last night’s opening reception at the Park Hyatt hotel. The students arrived yesterday for tonight’s awards ceremony, held at the Royal Ontario Museum. Hailing from Europe, Britain and across North America, the finalists’ work will be displayed in the ROM throughout the day. Prior to this evening’s event, students will partake in design studio tours across the city.
The competition was open to students at post-secondary institutions in 24 countries around the world. This is the first time that these awards have been held in Canada. Last year, the event took place at the Guggenheim in New York City. Contact: www.adobe.com
Jim Henson designs to appear on merchandise collection
LOS ANGELES, Calif.Few are aware that legendary puppeteer and filmmaker Jim Henson of the Muppets and Sesame Street fame started his career as a graphic designer. After discovering thousands of his drawings housed in Henson’s New York-based archives a few years ago, The Jim Henson Company started looking for possible outlets for the designs. It has now joined forces with 4Kids Entertainment to launch Jim Henson Designs, a design-oriented merchandise collection inspired by the artist’s earliest archived sketches.
These lesser-known works of monsters and goblins are drawn on a variety of mediums such as sketchpads, restaurant placemats, and programs.
While attempting to maintain the integrity of his creations, the Jim Henson Designs merchandise program will include apparel, accessories, and housewares. Contact: www.henson.com
July 11, 2006
Editorial design awarded at Western magazine conference
VANCOUVERThere was a record number of entries at this year’s Western Magazine Awards, part of a two-day Magazines West conference that took place here last week. Of the 669 entries, there were five Gold Award winners in the program’s six design categories.
Best Illustration went to Mark “Atomos” Pilon for his piece in The Georgia Straight. Vancouver art director Randall Watson was awarded Best Art Direction of an Article and Sandro Grison and Chris Wellard won Best Art Direction of a Cover for issue 3.1 of their Vancouver-based skateboard culture magazine Color. Contact: www.westernmagazineawards.com
July 6, 2006
Original Trillium logo designer speaks out
NORTH SALEM, N.Y.As the Ontario Liberal government defends its decision to spend $219,000 on a new provincial logo, the Tories have launched a “Save the Trillium” website that accuses the Liberal party of changing the trillium symbol to one that closely resembles its own.
Far from all the controversy in Ontario is original trillium logo creator, Canadian graphic designer Norman B. Hathaway. Design Edge Canada contacted Hathaway at his North Salem home in Westchester County, N.Y. for his thoughts on this new design.
“It’s atrocious,” says Hathaway. He feels the published comments of his former colleague Keith Rushton are “absolutely correct.” Rushton, a professor of design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, has been quoted in the Toronto Star and CBC News as saying the new logo is “awful.”
“It was a drastic change. It’s a very aggressive, hostile logo,” says Rushton, who worked with Hathaway when he was president of what was then called the Ontario College of Art. Rushton also noted that the new detailed logo is unlikely to reproduce well in a smaller format.
Hathaway concurs. “It is structurally unsound. It does not have the basis of true graphic design. It’s more of an illustrative type of approach, which is not the basis that true graphic design should be. And it’s just typical of when the politicians get into the act.”
When Hathaway was commissioned to design Ontario’s first trillium-based logo, back in 1964, he was asked to create a logo that would typify Ontario’s involvement in the modern world. “Some ministers wanted to see gear wheels, others wanted to see lakes and rivers, and everything that you can think of that identified Ontario as a wonderful province. We wiped the slate clean and took what, to us, was a beautiful and understandable element, the trillium flower, and stylized it.”
Hathaway revised the logo in 1972 and apart from very minor tweaks in 1994 and 2002 that version has remained until now, and for a much cheaper price. Hathaway was paid a meager $5,000 for the development of the original 1964 symbol. Contact: www.savethetrillium.ca; www.mgs.gov.on.ca
CBC design jobs restored, for now
TORONTOBack in May, Design Edge Canada reported that the production department of CBC’s Toronto broadcast centre laid off 79 employees, including eight graphic designers. According to a recent New Democratic Party announcement, the layoffs have been delayed.
NDP Heritage Critic Charlie Angus says pressure from the NDP has delayed CBC English Television’s decision to outsource its drama production until next May. “We pushed…for the government to get off the fence and to tell CBC management that it can’t gut our public broadcaster’s ability to carry out in-house production,” says Angus in a released statement. He wants the issue resolved after the completion of the CBC mandate review scheduled for this fall.
“CBC Toronto plays a huge role in designing and producing television drama,” says NDP MP Peggy Nash in the same release. “We are fighting for the principle that English Television CBC must be able to have the ability to develop its own in-house production.”
According to Fred Mattocks, the executive director of production and resources for CBC English Television, in-house scenic design cost the public broadcaster $8 million a year. The dismissal of some graphic designers, set designers, carpenters, painters, props and costume makers was “part of an overall decision by CBC Television to get out of the scenic elements business,” said Mattocks after the layoffs were first announced. He was not available for comment on the current situation. Contact: www.cbc.ca
July 4, 2006
Make your design portfolio value-packed
MENLO PARK, Calif. The worst portfolios are ones that fail to demonstrate the business value that each piece provides, according to a survey by creative staffing agency The Creative Group.
Of the advertising and marketing executives polled, 38% said portfolios that bother them the most are ones that don’t show the value provided to the client. Unorganized samples within the portfolio irk 31% of the respondents.
Respondents were also asked what portfolio formats they prefer. Thirty-seven percent favour bound books, 29% like containers with separate pieces and online portfolios are preferred by 22%. Contact: www.creativegroup.com
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