Once upon a time Alina and I sat at opposite desks and edited a lot of product photos for Roots Canada. We bonded over music, design, cats, and a mutual love for Aritzia. We've since moved onto different career paths, but she is a wealth of knowledge who makes a great cup of coffee so I try to work with her as often as I can.


Where do you look for inspiration?
I tend to find a lot of my inspiration online. I keep a close eye on a few people and studios I admire. I also really love flipping through books and magazines. I used to make an effort to go to bookstores, but now I work at a studio that has one of the best book and magazine collections I've ever seen. The other day, I found a book on dessert that looked like a bite was taken out of it! Living in Toronto, there is never a shortage of inspiration. You just have to pay attention.

What kind of work are you focusing on now?
At work my main focus is editorial design. We have two magazines that we design and art direct. I'm learning a ton about typesetting, which has been really satisfying. I'm also wrapping up a few branding projects and helping out with an interactive lookbook for a friend's brand this summer.


What sort of hurdles do you face as a designer/art director? How do you overcome them?
I think I get stuck often. It has a lot to do with overthinking what you're doing. There are so many great references online that it can be overwhelming to come up with something original. I overcome them by doing the work. You can work out a lot of issues during the process. I also ask for help by talking to people whose opinion I trust and value. The easiest way to overcoming a hurdle is a deadline. One way or another you always figure it out.


Describe your dream work space.
A place with a giant window and tall ceilings. Ideally a studio setting.  I hate working from home.

Current emoji of choice?
That is a tough question. How do you choose just one?! Heart-eyed emoji, maybe.

I know you've been practicing hand lettering. How has it affected the way you look at design (if at all)?
I don't know if it has affected how I look at design. I think I envy it because hand lettering gets you off the computer and forces you to use your hands to make something. It's a skill that takes a lifetime to perfect.

What's the best advice you've been given?
The best professional advice I've ever been given came from a meeting with Gilbert Li when I had just graduated from Humber College. He told me to find a studio I really wanted to work at, make a connection, and find an excuse to connect with that studio every six months. I literally did just that for two and a half years. A few months ago, that random bi-annual email turned into a job at his studio :)

The best life advice came from Conan's goodbye speech from the Tonight show, and I kind of live by these words. "If you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." 


Published on June 1, 2015
Interview & photography by Marlee Maclean
Homage Collective's branding by Alina Skyson