Graeme Spicer

For 2007/08, Graeme is lecturing in the Faculty of Design to Advertising students about agency management and business practices.

Ann Urban

For more than 25 years, Ann Urban has worked in the highest levels of Canadian Advertising.

As an Associate Creative Director at Ogilvy she helped build major multinational brands for American Express, Campbells, Duracell, Unilever, Kraft General Foods and many more.

Ann graduated from the OCAD with scholarships in both design and advertising, and quickly moved to senior positions at several major multinational agencies, including McCann and JWT.

Directions 2016 - The Advertising & Design Club of Canada Awards

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 4:30pm to Friday, February 3, 2017 - 4:30pm


The Advertising & Design Club of Canada (ADCC) is proud to present selected works from Directions 2016 – our 67th annual awards recognizing the best in Canadian advertising, design and interactive media. Judged by a panel of international creatives, this work represents the best in Canadian creative from the past year.


Venue & Address: 
Great Hall, 100 McCaul St
ADCC Awards Winners Show

A new take on the Vegas Golden Knights logo

Vegas Golden Knights logo
Vegas Golden Knights secondary logo

OCAD University advertising student Matt Doyle has a new take on the Vegas Golden Knights logo. 

"After watching the unveiling for the NHL's newest expansion, Vegas Golden Knights, I and many others were quite disappointed with the outcome of the logo. Dull colours and concept left the feeling of the logo very unappealing. For a team in Vegas, the colour and concept of the design should speak for itself with brightness and a simplistic complexity in the layout," says Matt. "I chose to not only do a primary crest, featured with the full knight figure, but also a secondary crest, featured with the circular layout that can be used for not only the jersey crest but also as a shoulder patch." 

"By brightening up the colours and adding some much needed complexity and 'loudness' to the design, I feel I have made a fairly decent attempt at a suggestion for a rebrand of the team," says Matt.

Primary logo


Secondary logo

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Unexpected connections

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Katie Liang and Greg Smallwood

OCAD University advertising students and creative team Katie Liang and Greg Smallwood have been making waves lately. Their Unexpected connections campaign project for Scrabble was recently awarded by the Advertising & Design Club of Canada's student competition. The campaign also won a student award from Applied Arts.

"With this campaign, the alphabet was our playground. Scrabble is all about forming something new out of the existing, and we thought there was a great opportunity to showcase how easily one thing can turn into another - literally. All in all, we wanted to showcase the playful side of an iconic game," says Katie.




Advertising students Greg Smallwood and Katie Liang


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Help needed to fold origami seagulls!

Monday, October 20, 2008 - 4:00pm to 9:00pm

This past summer a group of OCAD Advertising students, under the guidance of Advertising program Chair Tony Kerr, volunteered to create and produce an advertising campaign for the National Ballet of Canada's newest ballet, The Seagull.

Now they need your help! There are 10,000 fliers that need to be folded into origami seagulls, a job that would take one person 84 hours to complete on their own! On Monday, OCAD students, staff and faculty are invited to come and give whatever time they can to produce these fliers, which will be distributed across the GTA in a unique marketing campaign for The Seagull.

Delicious food and drinks will be provided complements of the National Ballet of Canada!

Venue & Address: 
Level 6 Open Studio 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

New York Art Directors 86th Traveling Exhibition

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Monday, March 17, 2008 - 4:00am to Sunday, March 23, 2008 - 4:00am

Every year the Art Directors Club sends its International Annual Awards Exhibition on a worldwide tour. From New York to Sao Paolo, to London to Beijing, the exhibition of Gold, Silver and Distinctive Merits are viewed by thousands.

Please join us in viewing it at Ontario College of Art & Design.

Venue & Address: 
Great Hall 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario
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Last Year's Winner

Fried 24 HRS by Gary Taxali.  Alkyd oils on plywood, 11 x 17.
Thursday, September 6, 2007 - 4:00am to Sunday, September 30, 2007 - 4:00am

Gary Taxali's work mixes vintage advertising vernacular with contemporary jest, simultaneously poking fun and embracing the sheer absurdness of human nature.
Taxali's original long forgotten characters are unearthed and altered through silkscreening, drawing and painting. The end result is an oddly nostalgic presence that evokes a disconcerting wit amongst layers of memory. The show also includes original collaborative art with musician pals Jad Fair, Aimee Mann and Danko Jones.
"The work of Gary Taxali takes a basically juvenile bibliophilic impulse - doodling in the leaves of borrowed books - to a more artistically sophisticated level. The books he appropriates aren't the precious kind one sees fashioned into delicate, romantic assemblage works but the thick, hardy sort that fill high school libraries and suffer the consequent abuse. He arranges their covers and pages in grids of varying sizes and embellished these grids with an entertaining cast of cartoonish characters, random words and phrases, and icons of one sort and another. There (sic) is an appealing sense of play, drawn from childhood but supported by a mature iconographic sensibility."
-Holly Myers, Art Critic, The Los Angeles Times

Venue & Address: 
Magic Pony 694 Queen St West, Toronto, Ontario

Advertising program boot camp kicks careers into high gear

Anton Mwew
Anton Mwewa. Photo by Guy McCrum

Anton Mwewa. Photo by Guy McCrum

Anton Mwewa once knew exactly where his career aspirations would take him: to a national newspaper as a staff reporter. But after earning a journalism diploma and dipping a toe in the tepid journalism job market, he knew it was time to rethink the plan.

Why not try advertising? It was, after all, his other love.

After researching college and university programs, he finally decided that OCAD University’s undergraduate Advertising program would give him the skills and knowledge he’d need to enter the field. Mwewa is the first to acknowledge, however, that he didn’t really know what he was getting into.

“I’m not going to lie. I was thinking I’d come in and it was going to be Mad Men and all fun and games,” says Mwewa, who graduated from the four-year program in the spring of 2015. “Instead, OCAD U gave me a good foundation for advertising. It’s more realistic and grounded.”

In other words, OCAD U is succeeding at what it set out to accomplish a few years ago when it revamped its offering to become responsive to industry needs: giving students vital conceptual expertise along with practical skills such as networking and pitching campaigns to clients. It’s a reimagining of some of the changes that occurred in 2002, when OCAD U gained university status and the program embraced the academic to become more theory driven.

Students can still choose to follow that more individual stream, pursuing a self-directed personal project in order to themselves go into entrepreneurship or to launch careers in industry. Or, if they anticipate working in ad agencies or marketing brands for a company, they can opt for a second more hands-on stream, which was introduced three years ago. The two streams offer much the same material for the first three years, but by year four, the new “Ad Concept/Collaboration” program turns into a high-pressure boot camp that has students working on ad campaigns with real businesses such as Scotiabank, Canadian Tire and Mercedes-Benz Canada.

It’s not a co-op or internship program, since the hands-on classes are held in the evenings, but the experience is similarly immersive.

Hit the ground running

It’s a formula that’s getting real results too, says Sandra Kedey, the associate professor who took over as the program’s new chair in July 2015. More than 50 per cent of graduates in the new AdCon stream have jobs lined up when they leave school, prompting Kedey to call the hire rate, “unprecedented.” The program is building on years of success, it being the launching ground for many top-tier creative professionals — from Nellie Kim, a partner and executive creative director of newly formed lg2 in Toronto, to Elspeth Lynn, now executive creative director at M&C Saatchi in London, UK. Bob Goulart, creative partner at Grip Limited in Toronto, and Ibraheem Youssef, who recently started a creative director position in Hong Kong.

The boot camp component, in which students work in small teams to create “mini agencies,” helps make those successes happen for today’s students, even if working under so much pressure also makes them sweat.

“You’ve got to learn to wow clients in three minutes,” explains Kedey, who originally co-founded the program with Ann Urban, another associate professor in the Faculty of Design. “So yeah, it makes for stress. That’s the working world. You’re going to have 20 projects at the same time. You’re going to have four photo shoots on the same day. How do you manage that? But that’s our experience.” She should know. Along with her two decades with OCAD U, she has worked with clients ranging from Campbell’s Soup to Kraft, and from Gatorade to the LCBO — both at top agencies and at her own company, SLK Communications Inc. Rachel Brown, a headhunter at fishRecruit in Toronto and former colleague of Kedey, consults for the program and has been instrumental in connecting OCAD U with big name clients willing to work with students. Corporate marketers give student teams creative briefs and expect real solutions under tight deadline. After students make their presentations, the clients give them feedback right then and there. It’s a pressure cooker environment — and more successful than Brown ever would have imagined.

“The work they came up with was smart and incredibly polished,” she says. “That’s what blew me away. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at!”

Whether the teams showcased witty tag lines, polished images or hilarious commercial vignettes, Brown says she was impressed by how savvy all the students seemed. “There was consistency there. It’s not like just one or two teams got it and the other six didn’t. They all got it. They had an instinct for what works.”

To market, to market

One client partner has actually decided to take an OCAD U ad concept to market. By the end of 2015, Canadians shopping in the frozen food aisle will notice a new packaging look and advertising push for Pizza Pockets, the microwavable convenience hand-pies from McCain Food Ltd. Not only will the winning student team split a licensing honorarium with OCAD U, which plans to reinvest its share of the money into new equipment, the students can add actual client work to their résumés. After all, not many people can say they’ve sold a creative ad concept before even finishing school.

That kind of practical business knowhow and confidence helps OCAD U’s graduating students stand out in the job market and gives them a unique advantage, maintains Brown.

“It really resonates with hiring managers. When they’re looking at a roster of entry-level applicants and one of them can say, ‘Hey, I was in a program that had me actually dealing with a real client and executing market-ready work,’ that gives them a leg up.”

Mwewa himself has experienced that employment boost. On graduation, he immediately landed an internship at J. Walter Thompson Canada in Toronto and the contract has been extended until the end of the year. Meanwhile, his portfolio of clients, ranging from Nokia to Goodyear, continues to grow. OCAD U helped him hone his minimalist, simple and elegant design sensibility, but the school also gave him a better sense of how to think like an advertiser.

While conceptualizing any project, he asks himself, “What’s the one thing I’m trying to say?” A few intelligent double entendres go a long way too.

“Graphic design is all about making an image look pretty,” he says. “Advertising is about people. It has wit. In advertising, you’re trying to make thoughts look pretty.”

The whole package

Brown agrees that OCAD U’s new focus on concept, design and business knowledge will cement its reputation as Canada’s top advertising program through its combination of classes in graphic design, branding, creative copywriting and career-building skills. Any new grad can be market savvy when looking for a new job, but a grad from OCAD U has also developed a keen artistic eye and creative expertise.

“OCAD U stitches all of that together in one program. That to me is just a phenomenal offering,” she says.

Marshall McLuhan may have once espoused that ads are the cave art of the twentieth century, but that hardly means the writing is on the wall for the digital advertising industry. Far from it. Visual advertising alone is growing by five or six per cent each year, says Kedey, as more companies are seeing the benefit of attaching eye-catching images to their products.

And as the industry continues to grow and evolve, the university’s Advertising students will not only keep up with the progress, but also push the boundaries. Integration, after all, is the key to industry innovation. At OCAD U, tomorrow’s top creative directors, designers and copywriters are learning how to create a convergence between old and new media — from shop windows to social media branding, and print ads to the next big thing online.

In fact, the program’s new direction may just as easily prove to become the next big thing for the university if enrollment numbers are anything to go by. Last year Advertising went 10 per cent over its quota, prompting the addition of another class.

“This is a very successful thing we have here that’s just growing,” says Kedey. “And it’s going to continue to grow gangbusters.”

Kira Vermond
Admissions Segment: 

Five OCAD U Students are finalists in 2016 ADCC Student Competition

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 6:45pm

Five Students from Advertising and Graphic Design were selected among the finalists in the 2016 ADCC Student Competition.

Winners will be announced at the Directions 2016 Awards Show on November 17, 2016 in Toronto.




The Trading Post
James Pacitto & Charlie Glassman – OCAD University

Unexpected Connections
Katie Liang – OCAD University

Wong Wing
Molly McKay, Charlie Glassman, James Pacitto & Chris Walker – OCAD University



Tiger Balm
Evelyn Wong – OCAD University

La Famille
Yisu Yu – OCAD University

All details are available on the website of The Advertising & Design Club of Canada