A Day in the Life of an RGD: Michelle Wilkin
Michelle Wilkin RGD sitting at a coffee bar.
RGD highlights the experiences of Michelle Wilkin RGD, Creative Director and Co-owner of Pilot Coffee Roasters.


1. The Basics
Name: Michelle Wilkin RGD
Company Name: Pilot Coffee Roasters
Job Title: Creative Director + Co-owner



2. When does your typical work day start and end?
Officially, 9 a.m. after we drop our kids at school, and home around 6 p.m. Unofficially, my work-life is blended, it sounds cliché but it’s true – is it really work if you love what you do?


3. What’s the first thing you do when you get to work?
Have a coffee. Goes without saying when your office is inside a Roastery and your work colleagues are some of the best baristas in the country!

4. List the 5 things you spend the most time on during a typical work day, and allot them a percentage amount (adding up to 100%).
40% - New creative concepts + projects
15% - Day to day design
10% - Project management + production
10% - Business meetings
10% - New briefs + creative direction of my team
5% - Brand strategy
5% - Website + Social Media direction
5% - Admin


5. Of all of the tasks you complete during the day, what is your favourite? What is your least favourite?
Being a Co-owner of a fast-paced and growing retail + consumer goods business the tasks come in quickly, and the turnover of work is rapid. Therefore, I love it when I can stop to take stock of the brand, work the long game, plan ahead and strategize what’s next for Pilot Coffee Roasters.
My least favourite is juggling my time, wearing two hats can sometimes be tricky, the needs of the business always come first, and creative needs can’t be rushed.

6. Do you have any strategies to keep up your productivity/inspiration over the course of the day?
Take breaks. Look up and watch the weather for a minute or get up and walk around your space. Often a simple micro-pause to settle the brain can give your cluttered thoughts time to realign themselves.
Guard your time. If you have a deadline looming and know you need uninterrupted time to meet it, block out your calendar in advance.
Find your personal creative clock. Mine is earlier in the week and earlier in the day, so I plan my calendar accordingly, taking business meetings and briefings later in the week and making sure my most creative hours are kept free to simply design.
If you’re not feeling it, simply stop. If I just can’t crack the code on a layout or a new brief, I’ll park it. You’ll get more frustrated and your ideas will suffer the harder you push yourself, so come back fresh and you’ll thank yourself the next day.


7. Are there any tasks that you like to do at the end of the day? That you feel you must do before you leave?
Clear my inbox and write out my to-do list for the next day. Being married to one of my business partners we naturally like to discuss work, new items often emerge over night from our conversations and they will jump the queue of my to-do list. Having the list in front of me the next morning keeps me focused on what the order of priorities is so if I get sidetracked onto another project, I can find my way back on track when my time has freed up again.

8. How has your job changed over the last year, 5 years, if at all?
5 years ago Pilot Coffee Roasters was still in start-up mode, and I was working full-time at an agency while working part-time for our business. The diversity of working across a wide range of brands with multiple customer demographics and over various industries was what I lived for. Today I am wholly devoted to PCR and love having one brand to put all my creative energy towards, whose customer I know implicitly and within an industry I am passionate about.

Finish these sentences

9. As a graphic designer, I can’t go a day without … Coffee, a fresh page in my note book and a fully-charged Apple wireless mouse.

10. One thing I wish I knew when I started my career is that … Nothing is ever perfect. Briefs evolve, trends change and talents improve. Designers are inherently perfectionists and we tend to agonize over the details. But if you can overcome the fear of not being perfect, change this mindset and settle for ‘amazing right now’, you will be so much happier with the result and be excited to improve upon it with a fresh outlook and new skills in the future.

11. In my job, I wish I had more time for … Market research and customer engagement.


12. Can you also provide an image of a project (or something else) you are currently working on?
PCR x Manulife Centre (our 7th location in Toronto) will open in Summer 2019. The recently installed hoarding graphics give passersby a glimpse into what is coming – as with all our PCR locations it will be a unique space designed to give our customers the ultimate coffee experience.


Pilot Coffee Roasters advertisement wall in the Manulife Financial Building in Toronto.