Meet Sherpa's Art Director

Meet Sherpa's Art Director

Big Ideas

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November 13 2020
Big Ideas

Tell us about your background and schooling.

Right after high school, I started art school at the University of Manitoba where I pursued my BFA, majoring in photography with a minor in graphic design. After my undergrad, I started working as a photographer at Lifetouch and took grad photos. At the time, I also worked at the Assiniboia Downs where I was shooting the photo finish of horse races. 

I didn’t enjoy that work and the next year I started school at Red River College where I took the two-year graphic design diploma. 

Prior to design school, photography was my main area of specialization. As a self-described introvert, setting up a business and the pressure of self-promotion intimidated me. Since I graduating from Red River, I’ve been working in the design industry, and couldn’t be happier. 


How did you land into graphic design?

I've always been a visual person. Initially, I wanted to be an Interior Designer, but my parents were worried the profession would have limited job opportunities in Winnipeg.

I feel like all parents with creative and artistic children worry that they’re not going to be able to make a living. Being the stubborn person I am, I was determined to find a way to prove them wrong. Growing up in the ‘zine era, I started getting more and more into print and layouts, and shifted my attention to photography and graphic design.


How did you end up at Sherpa?

I found my way to Sherpa through a referral by my friend (Dean) who used to work with me in the design team at my previous job. I joined Sherpa as a Junior Designer and eventually grew to become the Art Director. I have been here almost 11 years and still come to work feeling inspired. 


Why did you choose to work at an agency?

Prior to Sherpa, the companies I worked for had a strictly corporate culture, with in-house design teams. They weren’t a great fit for me. I also felt like in a corporate environment, your colleagues tended to be clock punchers, while I prefer to be around more passionate people who work as a team towards a common goal, and are always striving to make it the best we can. Everyday is a unique challenge in an agency, and we’re always working on something completely different from the day before. 


What do you love the most about your job?

I love the people here. I feel like we have an amazing group of people and professionals with diverse talents. Everyone fits in well and are almost like family. We all get each other’s sense of humour and are like-minded people.

Another thing I love about my job is that no two days are the same. I like being ready for anything that comes.


What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I genuinely like my job and am excited to come in and start a new day and tackle the next task. I like the camaraderie, problem solving, and seeing everyone’s take on the best way to solve a problem. As a team, we all have our own ideas and are inspired differently which makes the work and execution interesting. 


What does a Friday look like for Sherpa's Art Director?

I think I have my perfect Friday because that's the day I work from home. I can put the blinders up and get organized. This is when I get ready for the next week, try to clean up jobs that are lingering, and tie up loose ends. 

I try to take an hour of my Fridays to unwind and educate myself if I don’t have a lot of other things on the go. I will typically read articles on HR, team building, and management. Since I come from a creative background without a lot of training in business, I’m always curious to discover how I can do things better.


How does one survive an agency's design perspectives?

I think you need to have a certain mind-set to work in an agency. You have to maintain the “commercial” artist mindset, because you’re not making work for yourself, you’re making it for a client. I’ve worked with designers who are true artists and like to create to appease themselves, but have a hard time working according to the client’s perspective and needs.

Working in an agency you need to think creatively but also think about the analytical side of how this satisfies the client goals. We have a good crew that understands that and educates themselves on the clients' needs. A lot of artists don’t have that in them, they just want to create designs and art that makes them happy. In an agency setting, the key is to put yourself in the client's - and their customer's - mind.


Which one of your recent projects are you the proudest of?

The campaign theme we did recently for NexusBioAg’s new campaign is a highlight for me. I remember seeing mock-ups during our internal group critique and was hoping the client would pick them. I feel like there is a fine line of creating something that is perfect for a brand, but safe enough that the client isn’t afraid to choose it as a campaign. This campaign felt so perfect for their brand and messaging. The visuals we chose differ from the usual and clichéd ones in the ag space, and is sure to stand out and grab the potential customer’s attention. 


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