The art of newspaper design

By Andrew Vowles

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  Photo Credit:  Lindsay Lapchuk

Photo Credit:  Lindsay Lapchuk

Matt French tells stories not with words but with design.

An award-winning page designer and assistant art director for The Globe and Mail newspaper, he aims to create eye-catching page layouts that give readers a clear idea what the story is about before they read a sentence.

“The designer is there to make the message as clear and effective as they can,” says French, adding that a skillful design draws attention to the article rather than to the design elements, including graphics, photos and typography.

Take the Globe’s front-page coverage of last fall’s final report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The story was illustrated by oversize numerals that punched out the key points: numbers of victims, witnesses and deaths associated with the country’s former residential schools.

“The story was the numbers, and the numbers are the impact,” says French, B.Comm. ’07. “It’s not about any highfalutin’ image or fancy colour.”

Most days, French, 30, helps design the newspaper’s front page, working with a “cast of many,” including editors, headline writers and the paper’s creative director. Over the past year, he’s designed more than 300 front pages and thousands more inside.

French’s design skills are self-taught, but his career path started at U of G. Always driven to do creative work, he pursued a commerce degree thinking he could “make a living doing something creative in business” such as working for a marketing agency.

During a summer job in a marketing department, French took a stab at creating promotional material for trade publications. Back on campus during third and fourth year, he then worked at Guelph’s student newspaper, The Ontarion, as photo and graphics editor, and layout editor. Recalling those days, he says, “You were able to cut your teeth doing what you wanted. Learning from your mistakes gave you the freedom to make mistakes.”

Following graduation, he worked at the Woolwich Observer. After three years there, he worked for 24 Hours, a Toronto commuter newspaper, and the Toronto Sun, among others.

French got called up to the “big leagues” in 2011. Up to 400,000 people read The Globe and Mail’s weekend edition.

Among his notable Globe projects, he points to an “Unremembered” series of articles last year about the suicides of Canadian soldiers and veterans who fought in Afghanistan, as well as the 11th-hour package of reports covering the 2015 federal election that vaulted Justin Trudeau’s Liberals into power.

Another favourite was the 2012 Remembrance Day cover, with the word “Remember” stamped over a soldier’s image. “It did what it was intended to do: cause the reader to pause and reflect.”

A fan of the Washington Post and the Guardian, French brings what he calls a simple and subtle but graphic approach to his work, as well as a refined sense of visual literacy — all without getting in the way of the story.

Sitting down to assemble a page, he knows that reporters and editors might have put months of work and passion into the article. “At the end, I’m the person responsible for taking it over the finish line, making it sing so that people connect with it.”

 

This story, reprinted with permission, originally appeared in The University of Guelph’s Portico Magazine. 

Painting the Town Red: Carly’s Work Story

By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa

We last saw Carly Silberstein in her first WorkStory back in 2012, when the Western University grad was working as a corporate event coordinator at KCI Management. Now, Carly comes back to share her journey on becoming a successful entrepreneur. She is the CEO and cofounder of a startup company, based in Toronto, called Redstone Agency . Being active members of industry associations, Carly and her business partner noticed that there was a gap in the market – younger generations were just not being represented or engaged by these types of organizations.

Redstone–  the youngest-run association management company in Canada– was created to fill this void.  

The agency provides its clientele with a well-rounded assortment of services that include event and association management, digital and technology solutions, and consultations. The business works with organizations such as TalentEgg, the Women’s Business Network, Women in Nuclear Canada and the Planning Standards Board to name a few.

Carly is truly passionate about her career and company! She especially loves the team that she works with and interacting with clients. Since Redstone represents a wide array of companies in different fields, Carly has the opportunity to wear many different hats and is required to perform a wide variety of tasks. She enjoys that every day is new and exciting.

The team at Redstone is constantly hard at work. Some days, they work on client events while other days are spent in the office, brainstorming and strategizing. Being a startup company, the Redstone team works vigorously to increase professional development and acquiring networking opportunities. The priority, however, is always to serve the client.

The success of Carly’s business is dependent not only on the hard work the team does, but also their ability to build and foster relationships. They always make a conscious effort to stay up-to-date on the constant pulse of the trade. The team also contributes to the field by volunteering, writing in industry publications, and participating in industry and non-industry events.

For aspiring event planners and entrepreneurs, Carly strongly recommends joining professional associations to create professional ties. She also stresses the importance of volunteering and internships/co-op, which she says are crucial because the experience gained is invaluable. Volunteering one’s time is a great opportunity to learn from others in the business. Carly’s closing remark was to always say “yes”…you won’t know what you’re going to love until you try it!

Making Connections in the Music Industry

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Tim Fraser has been the Events and Activities Programmer for the Fanshawe College Student Union for the last three years, taking over the role previously occupied by Pat Maloney. Tim mentioned that he is still referred to as “The New Pat” all these years later, however he has been successfully making the position his own by booking big name acts for the college such as Dallas Smith and Fred Penner. Tim has often been a guest lecturer for the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe (where he was once a student) and more recently he has also helped Sheridan College book performers for their events.

In addition to his work as the Events and Activities Programmer, Tim is the owner and Creative Director of Murdoch Music Management, a company he runs with his wife, Tanya Chopp-Fraser.  “We are an artist management and music industry consulting business. I kind of started it myself, as I come from the music industry.” Tim jokingly added that he made Tanya join him as a business partner. However, her marketing skills proved to be a real asset to Murdoch Music. “My wife is very, very smart. [Tanya] works in marketing…. She came up with the name of the company and the logo… so really, I kind of think it’s her company and I help her with it. That’s probably how it should be, but yeah, it’s just the two of us”, he explained. Together they have interviewed artists such as Frank Turner and Northcote for their Murdoch Music podcast, available on iTunes.  

Not one to be star-struck very often, Fraser said that his most memorable guest on the show so far was children’s entertainer, Fred Penner. Penner did a show at Fanshawe in 2015, and much to Tim’s surprise, he also agreed to an interview.  “I [got] an email from Fred! It was just like, ‘Hey Tim, looking forward to the show! I would love to sit down and chat with you!’…. I lost it. I screenshotted it, and posted it, and texted it to my brother and my parents! I was like, ‘Oh my God! This is weird! I can’t believe I’m at that point now where I’m getting an email from Fred Penner!”

In addition to Fred, Tim noted that having done interviews with people like Lindi Ortega, Eric Alper and the President of FACTOR have added credibility to his podcast and so it has become easier for him to interview other people in the industry. All he does is ask, usually via email. Fraser tries to reach out to the publicity contacts listed on an artist’s website, especially if they are on tour in London. “The worst they can say is no, and then you don’t get to interview them.”

On the managing side, Tim acts as the booking agent for singer-songwriter Ken Yates and the two-man circus freak show, “Monsters of Schlock”. Although he couldn’t mention the artists involved, Fraser is excited to expand his roster very soon, because for him, it’s the best part of his job! “I really love the artist management and consulting and helping people write grants. That’s the whole reason I started that company… to help artists with the monotony and the business side, because a lot of really creative people aren’t good at business. It’s a completely different mindset and work ethic, too.”

A life-long musician himself, Tim grew up playing classical violin and was involved in the Suzuki music program. At one time, Tim could be found playing in orchestras but he now only “dabbles” with the violin. He traded it in for the guitar, and later, a saxophone. “…High school hit, hormones started kicking in and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t land a girlfriend playing the violin! This is so nerdy!’ …So I taught myself how to play the guitar. I’m now in my 30s and look back on it, and I see people like Tim Chaisson who plays violin very well, and my wife wishes that I still played the violin.”

Fraser began writing and singing his own punk rock and ska songs in high school and eventually toured Canada as a member of the band, Angry Agency. Now as the person who is responsible for bringing acts to Fanshawe and other venues, Tim has been both the performer and the promoter. He uses his personal experiences to help make better events for everybody involved.  “It helps a lot coming from the performing side of things just because … I’ve been on the other side of it. So it helps with all the hospitality stuff and the planning of it. I know that when I was an artist touring around, what I would’ve wanted to know from the promoter…. I really do pride myself in how I treat artists and performers when they come on campus. I make a concerted effort to make sure they’re comfortable and having a good time…. A lot of people don’t realize [the performers] are actually people and they’re providing a service so you’ve got to treat them well,” Tim explained. Part of making an artist comfortable involves following their rider and using common sense. For example, Tim said that if someone asked him for a Diet Pepsi, he wouldn’t give them a Coke Zero.

Tim Fraser’s advice?  “Take any opportunity that you can get, work your ass off, do a good job and just be nice to people. Treat people with respect and don’t burn your bridges-- the entertainment business is a very, very small world where a lot of people know each other and a lot of people talk.  I’ve seen people lose clients and lose work.”  Tim gave up three well-paying jobs to work as an intern for True North Records six years ago in order to get a foot in the door. He has no regrets because the connections he has made helped him become “a viable member of the Canadian Music Industry”.

Food for thought: How my co-op at a local eatery led to multimillion-dollar success

By Katherine Murphy, General Manager, Nourish Kitchen & Café,  BCom ‘13

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     Katherine Murphy (left) and Hayley Rosenberg with a signature dish, “CultivateSharing,” made up of local harvest produce, cultured cashew cheese, beet pâté, herb pesto, buckwheat seed bread and house crackers. Delicious! 

Katherine Murphy (left) and Hayley Rosenberg with a signature dish, “CultivateSharing,” made up of local harvest produce, cultured cashew cheese, beet pâté, herb pesto, buckwheat seed bread and house crackers. Delicious! 

When I was first looking for my original co-op job before entering the BCom program at the University of Victoria, I was searching for a restaurant placement, with the idea of finding a business that was small and still in the start-up phase. My secret vision was to help grow the business as well as become involved in the creation of food culture in Victoria. Food has always been the cornerstone of my family and the main way we created connections, taught values and fostered a family environment.

 During that time, by sheer serendipity I met Hayley Rosenberg, the owner of Nourish. Nourish was located at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific in Saanich, had seven tables, casual counter service and a four-burner electric range.  It had been open eight months. With values that echoed my own, Nourish was involved in the local community, harvested some of the vegetables grown on site at the garden centre and was very much in the start-up phase. It was a perfect fit!

Launched with no capital investment, growing Nourish as a business has taken creativity, problem solving and a huge amount of determination every step of the way. From day one I was invited to be part of that growth. My first eight months were intensive and full time.

I began my first semester at Gustavson after those eight months and I remember looking around my class and wondering if anyone else knew just how relevant the course content was. I know for a fact that without my prior involvement in Nourish I would not have taken nearly as much value from my courses. 

Over the winter break, Hayley and I spent each day working our way through the marketing plan, a class assignment I had been given by Professor David Boag. We literally wrote the first official draft of the business plan based on that outline. The business plan allowed us to formulate our vision enough to re-open the following spring with the concept for the restaurant that Nourish has now become.

We now have two bustling locations, one in downtown Victoria and one still situated at the Horticulture Centre in Saanich. The Garden restaurant still has a four-burner stove, but has grown to 50 seats, offers full service,  and regularly sees 150 guests for Sunday brunch. Our inner harbour location sits in a beautiful three-story heritage home where we hope to host workshops and conferences, as well as fill our open and airy dining room with happy people. We have 35 employees between the two locations and I have been fortunate enough to grow with this ever-changing and exceptional business. (If you haven’t heard of us, visit Nourish visit  to get a sense of just how far we’ve come.)

At 25, I find myself the general manager of a multimillion-dollar small local business. Throughout my time at Gustavson, the single most valuable part of my education was the hands-on experience that I gained through my co-ops. There is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to be a part of this business from the beginning I would be in a very different stage of life now. 

This story, reprinted with permission, originally appeared in Business Class Magazine, a publication of the Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria.    Photo Credit: UVic Photo Services.

Drive Keeps Young Alumna on Right Track

By Madison Scaini

As Chantal Rapport looks out of her office window, the Distillery District in Toronto looks back at her. “Everything I have worked hard for has paid off,” she said.

Rapport is not an average 23 year old. A 2014 graduate of Ivey Business School [at Western University], she is now an analyst at Satov Consultants, as well as the corporate relations manager for Dancers for Cancer, a charity dedicated to raising money for SickKids Hospital in Toronto.

In addition, she is an accomplished entrepreneur. During her time at Western, she co-founded Tokynn, a food and beverage gifting app, and Covers4Change, an organization that sells laptop cases to fund the building of a house in South Sudan. She also represented Canada in the Global Vision Junior Team, a business trade mission in South East Asia.

“Growing up, I never thought that everything that has happened, would happen,” she said.

Coming from a poor neighbourhood in Ottawa, where she lived with her mom, Rapport was motivated to provide more for her future. Although both her parents were academics, she wanted to find her own path – her own journey – in the business world.

She applied to Ivey directly from high school, but needed a scholarship from Western in order to fund it. The need to maintain a certain average motivated her to work harder in her final year of high school, as well as every year after at Western. Slipping below it was not an option, she said.

Once at Ivey, she never looked back.

“Chantal was very dedicated and focused on the things she did,” said Krista Harris, one of her first friends at Western. “She put everything she had into it.”

Although Ivey tends to be known for its difficulty, Rapport thought it was more fun than anything. Her business education remains valuable, but she also emphasizes the importance of life lessons she took away from her experience. Those continue to guide her as she develops personally and professionally. Ivey taught her a lot about her strengths and weaknesses, how to interact with others and how to manage her stress levels.

“It was like tough love,” she said.

As Rapport reminisced about her time in university, she admitted she is still incredibly impatient, and always looking at what is next on her to-do list.

She was always involved in extra-curricular activities, including planning the Ivey graduation trip, being an Ivey mentor and an executive for Ivey Orientation Week, travelling to South East Asia to represent Canada and co-founding multiple businesses.

Tokynn and Covers4Change were started as passion projects, but became defining experiences that ignited her interest in entrepreneurship and philanthropy, she said.

Even after graduating, Rapport continues to channel her energy beyond her job.

Rapport beamed as she talked about her current involvement with Dancers for Cancer, a charity that she has been volunteering for since she graduated from university. The committee is working to raise $1 million by the end of the year to fund the development of a dance stage at SickKids hospital in Toronto.

Dance has always been something close to her heart. Although she does not dance as often now, it was a major part of her childhood. In Ottawa, she participated in a free dance class that also welcomed at-risk youth. She eventually became the teacher of that class, and was surprised with a party when she left for university, since she was the first person in that class to do so.

Rapport is not only a dancer, but also a traveler. She has travelled to more than 12 countries across four continents – Vietnam being her favourite.

“I’m naturally incredibly curious, and so I want to understand how the world and humanity works, especially in other cultures,” she explained. “I don’t want to live in a little bubble.”

With her parents being environmental scientists, Rapport grew up appreciating the world around her and views it as a learning opportunity.

Then again, she looks at everything in life as a learning opportunity.

“Take every possibility you can to learn from the people and world around you,” Rapport advised current students.

In 10 years, she hopes to have a family, travel more and own a business she truly believes in. Most importantly, she wants to know her purpose.

Despite all of the challenges she had growing up, she has managed to learn from her difficult childhood to build a future she has always wanted.

Rapport looks through her office window once more and smiles. “My two big things when I look at where I’m going next are, one, I’m doing something that matters to the world, and two, I’m having fun doing it.

“Life is way too short to not enjoy what you’re doing.”

Posted with permission, Western News /  Photo Credit: Justin Scaini