Chad Richard­son


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.

Be­fore, I was able to cut video but couldn’t re­ally do any text an­i­ma­tion, so the cour­ses re­ally helped me out with that. At OCAD, I took web art and de­sign, Adobe Af­ter Ef­fects, CSS3 and JavaScript frame­works. My spe­cialty has al­ways been Pho­to­shop, and when I started cod­ing, it opened up a new world. Now I’m re­ally fo­cus­ing on the devel­oper side of my job and re­ally want to pur­sue a ca­reer as a front- end web devel­oper.

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.

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