Shopify Scholarship Recipients share Insights from DesignThinkers 2020

Kate Bradfield Provisional RGD

What was the most valuable/meaningful part of DesignThinkers 2020 for you?
I really enjoyed the conversational and collaborative nature of the roundtable discussions. In other years of attending DesignThinkers, I had not attended these. Being virtual and on their own day this year made them far more accessible to me! I took away many valuable pieces of both information and inspiration from these and was able to make a few connections! 

Natasha D'Costa Provisional RGD


What did it mean to you to win the Shopify scholarship?

This year I began my journey as a Freelance Graphic Designer and it definitely proved to be a challenge. I was having a hard time feeling motivated. I was at a roadblock and winning the Scholarship from Shopify was encouraging! It was an indication to me that the world was telling me not to give up. Having the chance to hear other designers talk about their challenges and personal design processes helped me realize that I am not alone on this journey.
What were your biggest takeaways from DesignThinkers 2020?
I left feeling inspired, curious and motivated by everyone, from seeing the interactions on social media to the conversations held on Discord. It was comforting seeing people come together in a new way. I found Sara Wachter-Boettcher's Brave Conversation talk so helpful in navigating how to have difficult conversations with a teammate. Bruce Mau was humble and inspiring, his comment on "starve the things we hate," really resonated. Boost Creativity in Your (Home) Workplace by Robert Smith RGD helped me understand new ways to be creative while working at home. Let's Talk About Value had so many great panelists discussing the value of design. I believe it was Chris Do who said, "It's important or it's not. It's going to cost money or it's not. It can't be both at the same time." Honestly, every speaker was great and I'm happy I have the chance to watch the ones I missed since they were all recorded. 

Mary-Margret Degraaf Student RGD


What did it mean to you to win the Shopify scholarship? 
I was so proud to receive the Scholarship from Shopify. I have always been a fan of the DesignThinkers Conference, but from afar, since I have never had the opportunity to attend. This year's online setting was perfect for someone like me in a more remote area. I was able to meet and chat with designers from all over from my own home office, which was incredible. During the conference, I was studying full-time, so I missed a few sessions but the online setting was perfectly flexible, with an option to watch videos later. Overall, a great learning experience!
Tell us about your favourite session/speakers at the conference
My favourite session/speaker was “Pencils before Pixels: Boost your creativity in your (home) Workplace” by Robert Smith RGD. This session I learned practical techniques to use in my daily work to make my “at home” workspace feel more inspired! It felt very immersive, with questions being asked from Discord and answered almost immediately. One of the best tips I got from Robert was to “Consider your Environment”. Robert talked about having two desks. One desk for your electronics and things you need for executing your final outcomes. The other completely empty other than paper and pencil to reduce distractions and improve creativity during the rough sketch process. This is something I looking to implement in my own workspace. 

Phoenix Mounce Student RGD


What did it mean to you to win the Shopify scholarship?
This meant the world to me. I was introduced to DesignThinkers back in my first year of college and I have always wanted to attend. I got to learn more about the graphic design industry and receive lots of useful information that will help me become a more successful designer in the next five years. 
What are your biggest takeaways from DesignThinkers 2020?
I got the privilege to learn more about the career that I have dreamt about doing for the rest of my life for nearly my whole life and I heard so many useful stories from different graphic designers that I can use as a guide for to become as successful and experienced as they are.

Sanjay Pinnock

Why was it important that you received a scholarship?
Winning a Shopify scholarship and attending DesignThinkers was insightful on many levels. Being on Shopify as both an Entrepreneur and a Partner through Hustl Works allows me to empower other aspiring entrepreneurs to build their own Canadian e-commerce businesses. And having the opportunity to connect with designers from across the world during a time when we cannot even connect with others in our own cities is mind-blowing to say the least.  
What are your biggest takeaways from DesignThinkers 2020? 
As a graphic designer by trade, what a sight it is to see how design can revolutionize the way science is communicated around the world. We saw how medical designers are rising to the challenge to conceptualize a consistent image and story surrounding COVID-19 for the everyday person.

Sharleen Ramos Student RGD


Why was it important that you received a Scholarship? 
Receiving this Scholarship meant exposing myself to experienced creatives and seeing how they navigate the industry. It's inspiring to get a chance to see different approaches as I graduate next year!
What was the most valuable/meaningful part of DesignThinkers 2020 for you?
In my portfolio review session with Sarah Di Domenico, we had a great chat about following one's inspiration and intuition. I was also showed the thought process behind some projects and what was the inspiration/intuition. It was all very timely as it helped me quickly revisit with those thoughts in mind and further solidify the direction of a current project.

Emma Sun Student RGD


Why was it important that you received a Scholarship?

I understand that learning within the classroom isn’t enough. I had the privilege to listen to wonderful speakers that allowed me to expand my thinking and look forward to the impact I can make in the future with my own design. I am thankful for this opportunity that I wouldn’t have had without the assistance provided by Shopify.
What was the most valuable/meaningful part of DesignThinkers 2020 for you? 
Getting to see talks about diversity, racism, inclusion and social justice. It was extremely insightful to get to know about trends within the industry, as well as how the perception of design and roles of designers are changing. As a young designer, it was very helpful to hear advice on business interactions and owning my own creativity.

Kylie Woo Provisional RGD


What did it mean to you to win the Shopify Scholarship?

As a Graphic Design major, I've always wanted to attend DesignThinkers but never could as the tickets were a little steep for my student budget. This Scholarship from Shopify was one of the best presents I got in this depressing year. It allowed me to be feel a part of Canada's graphic design community. 
What was the most valuable/meaningful part of DesignThinkers 2020 for you? 
I was glad that there are a lot of junior designers and even experienced professionals out there who have similar concerns to mine. That gave me some sense of comfort that I'm doing well despite all the uncertainty and anxiety in this pandemic and it was encouraging for me to participate more actively in the community.