Experience of being a designer

Alison Garnett’s avatar from Linkedin

Alison Garnett, a Toronto-based creative director with over 20 years of global and national design, advertising and digital experience, came to our protopic class to give us a presentation about her experience of being a designer.

What is this article about:

  1. Field Trip &Co.
  2. Company’s projects
  3. Her Story
  4. Her advice of being a designer
  5. Reference links.

Field Trip & Co.

1 year ago, She and her friend launched the Toronto-based creative studio, Field Trip & Co. Their team works collaboratively with clients to build out compelling brand stories and crafted design, across multiple disciplines and platforms.

Company Philosophy

We don’t wait for inspiration to come to us. We go out and find it. By letting curiosity take the lead, we gather new experiences that lead to new ideas.

Work / Projects

  1. Client: ICA Canada

Team Role: Branding

2. Client: Waterfront Toronto — — Pop Up Event

Team Role: Environmental graphics

3. Client: JK Reps

Team Role: Brand strategy, Brand identity, Packaging

Digital Work

  1. They also worked with Sapient Razorfish

2. “Meet the Tufties” website, mobile app (learn how to wrap a gift via a game)

3. Toronto Eaton Centre Mobile App

Her Story

Alison Garnett graduates from the program and also OCAD U. She is a creative director, designer, writer, account manager, good cop/bad cop, producer, wrangler, illustrator, information architect, negotiator, presenter, admin, and she buys the bagels on Thursday.

She won’t be spending 100% time designing. Design only occupies 10% of her time. She considers herself a juggler. She has to juggle spouse, kids, dog, work, etc. She takes pride in time management.

Her Education Path

OCAD → Sheridan

  • She graduated, but she didn’t want to be a painter.
  • Her parents asked if she wanted to go into the IMM program at Sheridan, and though she didn’t have design as a background, she put together her paintings.


First Job: ICE

She got her first freelance work in ICE, and she met Steve Mykolyn, Sean Patrick, Kaye Pulman.

She was doing print design as well. She liked illustrating, so she did some illustration. She was learning as much as she could, and getting tons of experience. Kaye was influential to her career in her first job.

Freelance Work

She also did some freelance work, like Critical Mass, Sapient Nitro etc

Her tips of being a designer

  1. DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE: what goes around does come around. it doesn’t pay off.
  2. Everything is an opportunity: it’s best to make the best of it.
  3. Surround yourself with good people and you will look good
  4. Raise your hand: show that you’re interested
  5. Follow Up: networking. any interview that you have, e-mail them to thank them that it was a great experience and thank them for their time
  6. Don’t steal ideas from Pinterest
  7. Work hard
  8. Keep on learning
  9. Go outside of your comfort zone
  10. Don’t be defensive

Reference links.