OCAD U changes the AD game

Ann Urban Applied Arts article
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 11:45am

Advertising Associate Professor Ann Urban was asked to submit an article about design education and she specifically mentioned the OCAD U ad program to the Applied Arts magazine on the occasion of their 30th anniversary. Applied Arts magazine is a high profile National magazine—and one of the major publications for Canadian advertising.

It's not yet on line as it's just out in print but will be shortly

The Toronto Star also called Ann for a sound bite about buzzwords in marketing, spedifically the buzzword "glow".  :  http://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2016/02/17/investigating-the-popularity-of-the-word-glow.html

How to get a job in advertising

What do advertising creative directors look for when hiring new graduates? Here are some answers to questions that all new advertising creatives have.


What is the top quality you look for in junior creatives?

NANCY VONK (co-founder, Swim; former co-creative director, Ogilvy & Mather)

“Passion like, ‘I’m on fire to do this, and it’s 100 per cent what I want to do.’ I think you’d find over and over again, most leaders would say that, strangely enough, talent is not at the top of the list. It really is mindset. It’s a tough industry; if you don’t have real passion for it, you’re not going to make it over all the hurdles. You don’t want somebody who is only part-way in. You want someone that’s all in. And that’s really evident when you interview people. It really comes out quickly.”

DEREK BLAIS (associate creative director, BBDO Toronto)

“Passion. If you’re passionate about cooking, and 90 per cent of the interview is about cooking, that’s amazing. I just want to see that passion towards being creative.”


Work by OCAD U advertising alum Neha Patel Work by OCAD U advertising alum Neha Patel

What do you look for in books (portfolios)?

JANE MURRAY (freelance creative director; former executive creative director, Lowe Roche)

“A breadth of ideas. You’ll have to work on a whole bunch of things, so if someone is just super into cars or apps, or apps for cars, that’s great they’re super focused. But, you might have to sell flowers or a bank. So a voice that can change properly for whatever the task is at hand is important.”

“Simplicity. You want to solve a difficult problem in a very simple way. I’ve had students come in and they’re like, ‘so there’s this video and then it takes you to the microsite’ and so on, and I’m like, ‘I would never do any of this.’ I would never get that far because you haven’t hooked me in with the idea yet. It’s impressive that you can work out how all the technology works, but there’s nothing there.”

NANCY VONK (co-founder, Swim; former co-creative director, Ogilvy & Mather)

“In a really good book, the work would actually solve the client’s problem. So many students will say ‘well, I’m just a student, so I can just show how creative I am.’ The creativity without solving the problem is worth nothing. I think there was a time when people let student books off easier. Now we want someone who is already there and in this business to solve problems. If it is not evident they solved a real problem, then I’m only so impressed by something that made me smile or laugh.

“Another feature of a really good book is that it’s media-neutral. It’s not about how many surfaces or screens you can get it on. The more the thinking shows that it would have transcended any medium and traveled into any space, the more you’ve got a home run. Something that’s never changed from when I started in the business to today is that the idea is king.”

Work by OCAD U advertising alum Anton Mwewa Work by OCAD U advertising alum Anton Mwewa


What is a good way to get your foot in the door?

DEREK BLAIS (associate creative director, BBDO Toronto)

“Get Marketing Magazine or Strategy Magazine and look at specific people that are working at different shops. If you see a campaign that resonates with you, look for that person’s name on LinkedIn and message them there. For me, personally, if I get someone reaching out to me directly, citing a campaign I’ve done, that starts a bit of a dialogue. I think LinkedIn is a great tool to meet people directly, instead of going to the website and emailing HR.”


ALLEN OKE (creative director, Zulu Alpha Kilo)

“Portfolio shows are great. I usually do about three of them. They’re a really great place to meet people. As for your book, be compelling and be yourself.”

Katie Liang
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How to start your own design company

Sure, you can find a great job. But, why not make your own? Fourth-year OCAD U advertising student Elliott Muscat and his friend and business partner, Chris Godfrey, have started their own design firm, 83 Annette.

Here are the three top lessons Elliott learned along the way:

Need a little pick me up?
Poster-ad for EM Fitness

Take a chance!

We didn’t think too hard about the logistics at the beginning. We were two friends who were both passionate about design, and we decided to put ourselves out there. Many people tend to exaggerate the difficulty of doing your own thing. There are a lot of challenges when starting your own business, but taking the first step shouldn’t be one of them. Just go for it!

Photo of woman with overlaid text reading Jan 8th The Hyatt in Delrey. Kristin Spencer
Event poster for Kristen Spencer Music

Be confident, be social.

First of all, the core of the business has to be strong. You’ve got to provide a great product or service. Once you have something you feel confident about, it’s all about putting it out there to as many people as you can. All our early clients came from friends, family, family friends, etc. Go to as many social events as you can, hound your clients for references and talk to everybody!

Illustration of two candy fruit slices
Social media content for Louie’s Fruities

Values are valuable.

Something you will inevitably learn along your path as an entrepreneur is that the values you want your business to portray need to be defined. As you take on different clients and projects, you’ll be tugged and pulled in every direction. Make sure you know what your business stands for, and keep your brand consistent. People will want to work with you for a reason, so make sure you know what that reason is.

Photograph Elliott Muscatt and Chris Godfrey sitting on black chairs.
Elliott Muscatt and Chris Godfrey

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Westside Studio is coming to OCAD U.

Monday, February 22, 2016 - 11:30pm to Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 1:30am

Tom Nesbitt, Chris Gordaneer, CatlinJeffery of Westside Studio will be coming to OCADU to talk business and photography! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity as they are one of the largest most prestigious studios in Canada.

Westside Studio serves both the advertising and communications industries in Canada. Westside Studio offers representation, production services and shooting space to a diverse roster of some of the finest image makers working today.

Venue & Address: 
Room 230 -- Central Hall 100 McCaul
Westside Studio poster with event info and photo of a woman superimposed on buildings beside a river

Illustration Speaker Series - Marcos Chin

Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm

Marcos Chin is an award-winning illustrator whose clients include: Google, The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, Starbucks, Target and more. He recently created the illustrations for the children's book ELLA, written by Mallory Kasdan.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Room 230 Central Hall
Free - open to the public
Marcos Chin illustration of a child on the back of a large red dog

Advertising Program success profiled in Globe and Mail

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 4:00am

The success of OCAD University’s revamped Advertising program has received positive coverage in the Globe and Mail.

The program was redeveloped three years ago based on extensive industry research by Associate Professors Sandy Kedey and Ann Urban. It addresses the rapidly evolving demands of the advertising industry, offering a thesis stream and an advertising concept stream.

Kedey, the newly-appointed chair of the Advertising program, says this has led to the unprecedented hiring rate of graduating students.

In the concept or “boot camp” stream, big-name businesses present creative briefs to students who work in teams to come up with solutions. The businesses give feedback and rate the work while the students gain professional experience before entering the industry.

The thesis-style stream allows students work independently to create ground-breaking innovative, integrated campaigns and a body of work connected to a brand or relevant issue.


Here and Now: The Art of Gary Taxali

Gary Taxalie prints
Friday, July 17, 2015 - 4:00pm to Monday, September 21, 2015 - 12:00am

Here and Now: The Art of Gary Taxali

Exhibition: July 17 – September 20
Joint Friday Night ART Live Summer Party: Friday, July 17, 7 p.m. with SHOW.15, Queen’s Square
Idea Exchange | Design at Riverside, 7 Melville Street South, Cambridge, ON

Seats available on bus from Toronto to Cambridge for opening night on Friday, July 17!
Departing from the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St W, bus parked on Beaconsfield Rd) at 5:30 p.m. sharp.
Returning to Toronto at the Drake Hotel at 11:30 p.m. (Departing from Cambridge at 10 p.m. sharp).
RSVP to Cherie Fawcett, Gallery Assistant at cfawcett@ideaexchange.org.
Seats are $5.

Internationally renowned artist Gary Taxali brings his colourful, poignant paintings, books, objects and installations to Design at Riverside for the summer and early fall. Gary’s work incorporates humour and well observed social commentary in his personal drawing style that references depression era typography, packaging and advertising, but which is firmly planted in the here and now. The exhibition showcases a wide range of Gary’s artwork and object/product designs including apparel, toys, books, wine labels and commemorative coin designs, alongside paintings, assemblages, limited edition prints and a salon style display of hundreds of drawings. Gary will create a one-off artwork for the five exterior facing windows of the gallery and the short documentary film Gary Taxali: the Art of Whimsy will also be on view.

Here and Now: The Art of Gary Taxali marks the first comprehensive exhibition of his work in Canada.

Image: Gary Taxali. Serigraph Assemblage #3 and #7, mixed media, 2012. Images courtesy of the artist.

Venue & Address: 
DESIGN AT RIVERSIDE 7 Melville Street South, Cambridge, ON N1S 2H4 T: 519.621.0460 Tues – Thurs 12:00 – 8:00pm Fri 12:00 – 5:00pm Sat 10:00am – 5:00pm *Sun 1:30 – 4:30pm *Closed on Sundays from May 17 – September 6
Admission is Free

OCAD University faculty members recognized for teaching excellence

Friday, April 17, 2015 - 4:00am

OCAD University is filled with outstanding instructors, and each year we honour the best of the best with teaching awards. The winners of OCAD U’s 2015 teaching awards were announced on April 15:

  • Sandra Kedey will receive the Price Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes the contributions of full-time faculty members.
  • Mark Tholen will receive the Non-Tenured Faculty Award, which each year is given to contractually-limited term appointment, sessional and continuing faculty for excellence in teaching.

Kedey and Tholen’s exceptional teaching contributions were recognized by anonymous nominations submitted by people from across the university, including students, fellow faculty, alumni and administrators.

A faculty member in OCAD U’s Advertising program (and a university alumna), Kedey is also a senior creative marketing executive at SLK Communications, where she specializes in strategic brand development. Tholen teaches in the Environmental Design program. In addition, he is the president of (and partner in) TYYZ, an award-winning architectural and design firm.

Avery Kua wins First Prize Scholarship from James Lee Foundation

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 5:00am

Third-year Illustration student Avery Kua was awarded the First Prize Scholarship from the James Lee Foundation, an organization established to recognize emerging non-professional creative talent from across Canada looking to enter the advertising industry.

The Foundation was formed by a partnership of advertising agencies, the AAABC, friends and family of James Lee, and has been awarding $5,000 scholarships since 2008. Lee was a copywriter for the award-winning agency DDB Canada. 2008 Illustration alumna Shen Plum was the first recipient of the Foundation scholarship.

OCAD University Names New Chair

Photo of Michel Frappier, Chair of the Board of Governors, OCAD U
Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 5:00am

Advertising expert and alumnus Michel Frappier has been elected Chair of the Board of Governors of OCAD University as of November 1 for a one-year term.

Frappier serves as the Chair of the Advertising Review Board of Ontario and has worked in advertising in senior executive roles with many firms including the JWT advertising agency, the Foster Agency, McCann Foster in Toronto. He also worked for Thomson Newspapers as Senior Vice-President, New Products Development and Marketing and was President of MDC Partners Communications Group. He led Desgrippes Gobé and Associates, a multinational branding and package design group. Frappier said the knowledge he acquired during his studies at OCAD University served him well in his career.

“OCAD University benefits from strong representation on our Board thanks to many creative and accomplished leaders who bring strength and inspiration to our efforts,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor.  

Dr. John Semple, Chief of Surgery of Women’s College Hospital, was elected First Vice-Chair and Sharifa Khan, President and CEO of Balmoral Marketing Inc., as Second Vice-Chair. Both will serve one-year terms. Carol Weinbaum was also elected to the Board for a three-year term starting November 1. Weinbaum is Executive Vice President of Operations of WJ Properties, a property management company and a founding member of Partners in Art, a non-profit group promoting visual arts.