Digital marketing designer and developer, Warner Music Canada
My job involves creating websites, contest pages, magazine ads, posters, billboards, online advertising, YouTube ads, TV commercials and audio advertising for our artists.
I took the advertising program at Durham College. There was an element of graphic design in the program, so that’s where I learned design principles. The web stuff I learned from being in a band called Hail the Villain – we were nominated for a Juno for rock album of the year. We needed a website and album artwork.
I’d always wanted to go to university, and I knew OCAD University had a great design program. The hours for continuing ed classes were flexible with my work schedule, so I’d take the subway down and do an evening or Saturday afternoon course. I wanted to bring my video editing up to a higher level and add more professionalism to the videos I was doing, mainly for the YouTube ads because you get only 15 seconds to make it pop.
Working with artists is great. Most of them are creative, have a vision and are able to describe what they want. When I make something for an artist, whether it’s album art or an ad, and I get feedback that they love it, that’s the best part of what I do.
In the music industry, education gets you in the door. It’ll get your resumé taken seriously. But being able to deliver is the hard part. Being in a band or knowing how bands or artists and their management operate helps, but if you’re an amazing designer, it doesn’t matter.
We hired two people within the last six months and we’re testing them, so we set up a creative brief, and they have to go through and create an ad for us. We do this because in the past we’ve gone through people’s portfolios and they look amazing, but later we find out they can’t do the work.
It’s important to stay current with new software and skills because the industry is always evolving. A continuing ed course will cram your head full of stuff you need to learn, but unless you go home and dive into it, you’re gonna forget. You have to learn by doing it until it becomes second nature.
I plan on remaining a student as well as a working professional for the rest of my career.