Your Guides
Every trip is made better by a stand-out tour guide. Meet the experts who will share their insights and knowledge with you at Creative Directions.

Sean Carter, Founder and Design Director at Carter Hales Design Lab Headshot of Sean Carter

Panel Discussion: What happens when you lose your passion for design?

A kid graduates from a dumpster-fire design program and starts shopping his portfolio. Big design houses laugh. He considers professional cycling. But designing is so easy, and it pays mad stacks! He lives on Ichiban. Then he opens his own design shop at 22. It does okay, but he wants more, so he co-founds Hangar 18 Creative. It takes off. So does he, 16 years later, to start Carter Hales Design Lab. Meantime, he also founds The Pink Door Paper Company, an award-winning line of luxury stationery and spa products. But his Uncle Lenny tells him, “Kid, ya can’t ride two horses with one ass. Commit to something.” So he sells Pink Door to go all-in on Carter Hales, a brand-focused studio with clients in every corner of the globe and with exclusively-senior-level talent among its design team. Turns out, that was a good idea. One Show, Lüerzer’s Archive, Pentawards, Applied Arts, ADCC, and Communication Arts agree, about 300—and counting—times over.


Jacob Cass, Brand Designer & Strategist (CEO/Founder) at JUST™ Creative

Presentation Headshot of Jacob Cass

Jacob is a brand designer, strategist, educator, podcaster, business coach and the founder of JUST Creative, an award-winning branding & design consultancy that doubles as an industry-leading blog (and passive-income machine!)
 Jacob helps grow brands strategically and has worked for clients such as Disney, Nintendo, Jerry Seinfeld and even San Francisco, which he just finished designing the logo for. For Jacob, design is a lifelong journey of continuously honing his craft, as well as educating other fellow designers & entrepreneurs to build on theirs, which has allowed him to build a large and loyal following, including his website which has been viewed over 70 million times. Jacob co-hosts the JUST Branding Podcast that helps designers & entrepreneurs grow brands, and has interviewed leaders such as Chris Do & Marty Neumeier. Jacob is also business coach and helps creatives level up through 1 on 1 coaching and in a group setting.


Ian Chalmers RGD, Design Director & Principal at Pivot Design Group

Headshot of Ian Chalmers RGD

Panel Discussion: Shifting Your Business in Changing Markets

As a graduate of the OCAD U, Ian brings a creative curiosity and influence to the design research work he does across a spectrum of corporate, healthcare and academic pursuits. As Founder of Pivot Design Group, his professional focus is in the healthcare vertical, bringing a people-centric design focus to the work Pivot creates for researchers, scientists and institutions. He is also the founder of DesignMeets, a 10-year in the making event forum to bring the design conversation to the community.


Chrisanne Daniel Prov. RGD, UX-UI Designer at HARD-LINE

Panel Discussion: Agency, Studio, Freelance or In-House? Headshot of Chrisanne Daniel

Chrisanne is a designer, third culture kid and self proclaimed do-gooder.  As a UI/UX Designer she works to create, enhance and ensure user experiences are meaningful, relevant, informative and delightful. Over her career she has worked in a marketing agency, as an in-house designer and now as the sole designer as part of a software development team. Chrisanne is a passionate and dedicated volunteer and community builder and has found that volunteering is not only fulfilling and meaningful, but it has provided her career with endless opportunities and growth.


Aaron Draplin, Draplin Design Co.

Opening Keynote on May 4Headshot of Aaron Draplin

Located in the mighty Pacific Northwest, the Draplin Design Co. proudly rolls up its sleeves on a number of projects related to the Print, Identity and Illustration categories. They make stuff for Coal Headwear, Union Binding Co., Richmond Fontaine, Esquire, Nike, Wired, Dinosaur Jr, Timberline, Chunklet, Eaux Claires Music Festival, Poler, Incase, Sub Pop Records, Fender, Marc Maron, Cobra Dogs, Jill Soloway, Sasquatch Music Festival, Rhett Miller, Old 97s, Jason Isbell, Nixon Watches, Bernie Sanders, Patagonia, Target, Chris Stapleton, NASA/JPL, John Hodgman, Timex, Ford Motor Company, Woolrich and even the Obama Administration, if you can believe that. They've traveled the world telling their story. They co-created Field Notes with older brother Jim Coudal, and their memo books are sold in over 2,500 stores worldwide, with limited-edition special editions shipped quarterly to a booming subscriber list. Their six Skillshare classes are raging along, teaching kids all over the world. Their first book titled Pretty Much Everything came out on May 17, 2016 on Abrams Books, which incredibly, is in its eighth printing. Their roster of DDC Merch is up to 260 products and growing! Them pride themselves on a high level of craftsmanship and quality that keeps them up late into the wet Portland night.


Fungi Dube, Creative Director at Asambe Mobility

15-minute Presentations Fungi Dube headshot

A scientist by training (Bsc. Human Anatomy and Physiology & Biochemistry) and a Creative Solopreneur by calling, Fungi is a self-taught brand and visual identity graphic designer from Harare, Zimbabwe with 6 years of experience. Fiercely driven by passion, she considers herself to be a delicate balance of process and creativity. Her scientific background has allowed her to streamline her design approach such that it is methodical and precise. A sunflower obsessor and a lover of sunsets, she is also an advocate for sustainable practices for the long-term. She is passionate about sustainable packaging and elevating African packaging design systems whilst maintaining the African narrative. She has been afforded the opportunity to work with individuals, SMEs and corporates in various sectors, including the sustainable space in Sub-Saharan African and in other parts of the world. She leads with intention and as such believes in the power of passing on knowledge and sharing experiences as a means of unifying and supporting creatives and solidifying creative landscapes and networks.

Greg Dubeau RGD, Freelance Graphic Designer & Design Instructor Headshot of Greg Dubeau RGD

Building Good Habits and Avoiding Bad Habits

Greg is freelance graphic designer who has lived and worked across Canada from coast to coast. He runs a small design studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he collaborates with agencies, organizations and entrepreneurs to make their businesses look and work a little bit better than they did yesterday.


Verònica Fuerte, Founder & Creative Directress of Hey Studio Headshot of Verònica Fuerte

You finished design schools and have a few years work experience under your belt. What now?

Verònica is a designer and illustrator from Barcelona. After earning a degree in Graphic Design from ELISAVA and a MA in Typeface Design from EINA, she worked for several design studios in Barcelona. In 2007 she founded her own studio, Hey, which has grown steadily since. She received the ADC Young Guns 7 award and her work has appeared in prestigious media such as It’s nice that, DesignBoom, Communication Arts and AIGA. Verònica also teaches in several different universities in Barcelona and frequently speaks at international conferences.


Richard Hatter, Creative Director at Hired Guns Creative

15-minute Presentations Headshot of Richard Hatter

Richard is an award-winning designer, illustrator, and conceptual thinker. He has 21 years of experience in graphic, print, and web design, as well as creative direction, market strategy and artistic management. He is a graduate of the Graphic Design Program at Malaspina University-College (which is now known as Vancouver Island University). Richard has worked for several large design firms, first at the production level and then working his way up to Creative Director. He has worked on a wide range of projects, including multi-million dollar accounts for nation-wide clients. He has a black belt in judo and two young children at home.


Diana Beltran Herrera, Designer & Artist

15-minute Presentations Headshot of Diana Beltrán Herrera
Diana is a designer and artist from Colombia currently based in Bristol, UK. After graduating from her MFA from the University of the west of England, she has been developing her practice by researching ordinary materials and its uses. She collects, documents and categorizes the different uses of materials creating an inventory that she later applies in her formal and sculptural work. Paper is the most featured material in her work. Her work presents experiences and ideas related to the ways in which she experiences the world, and also, performs as a model of representation of a reality that does not suffer any change. For Diana, there is a considerable distance in the relationship between human and nature that she aims to repair by making visible the fragility of nature through the use of material. Diana's work has been exhibited around Europe, Asia and America. She works for agencies, museums and commercial clients around the world. Her coming solo show at the Singapore Children's Museum will open in 2022.


Ceri Higgs Prov. RGD, Graphic Designer at Headshot of Ceri Higgs Prov. RGD

Panel Discussion: Staying Current from Home and How to Feel Less Disconnected

Ceri is a graduate of the Graphic Design Diploma Program at Conestoga College. Her love of design and bringing people together for social events led her to become part of the Committee. With a background in psychology and research, she brings a unique analytical perspective to all her projects. She currently works as a designer for a tech company in Kitchener and freelances as a hand letterer.


Diego Lopez RGD, Creative Director at Compass Creative Headshot of Diego Lopez RGD

15-minute Presentations

With experience in research, brand strategy, copywriting and marketing, Diego has spent the last decade helping brands of all sizes (from Porter Airlines, Manulife, Costco, and beloved local brands) find clarity and express authentically, so they can better connect with their audience.


Ellen Lupton, Betty Cooke and William O. Steinmetz Design Chair at Maryland Institute College of Art

Opening Keynote on May 5 Headshot of Ellen Lupton

Ellen is the Betty Cooke and William O. Steinmetz Design Chair at MICA. Lupton has authored numerous books on design processes, including Thinking with Type, Graphic Design Thinking, Graphic Design: The New Basics (with Jennifer Cole Phillips), and Extra Bold (with Farah Kafei, Jennifer Tobias, Josh Halstead, Kaleena Sales, Leslie Xia, and Valentina Vergara.) She is Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. Recent exhibitions include The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, How Posters Work, and Beautiful Users. Her books Design Is Storytelling and Health Design Thinking (with Dr. Bon Ku) are published by Cooper Hewitt. She received the AIGA Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement ia a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


Kevin Moran RGD, Creative Team Lead at Kira Systems

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ... and Passion Projects

Kevin is a designer and illustrator from Toronto, Canada. With over 10 years experience, he's had the opportunity to collaborate with a ton of brilliant minds at amazing brands and publications such as Molson Coors, Lindt Canada, Meridian Credit Union, Huffington Post, Rogers Communications, Fast Company, Spotify, and UberEATs.


Lin Oosterhoff Prov. RGD, Art Director at Critical Mass

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ... and Passion Projects Headshot of Lin Oosterhoff Prov. RGD

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Lin’s design aesthetic has always been influenced by the Dutch design — characterized as minimalist, experimental, innovative and quirky. Lin blends these bold, hard edges with Canadian thoughtfulness to create design concepts that are beautiful, meaningful and full of stories. The majority of her work has been created for brands and people that are like-minded and draw awareness to the community, environment and outdoor culture. By providing her skillset, Lin has managed to amplify the voices of artists, outdoor enthusiasts and book publishers locally and internationally.


Pamela Rounis, Creative Director at RethinkHeadshot of Pamela Rounis

Panel Discussion: Hope in Uncertainty

Pamela is a Creative Director at Rethink. After completing a BFA at Emily Carr University in 2006, Pamela went on to study design and illustration in the IDEA program at Capilano University. Her work has been recognized by the One Show, Clio Awards, Communication Arts, the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, Applied Arts, Marketing Awards and the National Magazine Awards.


Kaleena Sales, Interim Chair & Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Tennessee State University

Opening Keynote on May 5 Headshot of Kaleena Sales

Kaleena is a writer, illustrator, and graphic design educator at Tennessee State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University), in Nashville, TN. She is endlessly interested in the intersection of Black culture and aesthetics and believes that identities and experiences have an invaluable role in helping to diversify the ways in which designers solve problems. Through her service on AIGA's Design Educators Community Steering Committee, Kaleena has advocated for a more inclusive view of design history through her Beyond the Bauhaus series. Her recent illustration work has been selected for inclusion in the 2021 Communication Arts Illustration Annual.


Roberth Smith RGD, Chief Creative Officer at Greenmelon Inc. Headshot of Robert Smith RGD

Panel Discussion: Shifting Your Business in Changing Markets

Robert is a creative director, agency owner, author, creativity professor and a founding member of RGD (Association of Registered Graphic Designers). Throughout his 30 years in the creative industry, he has worked for a corporation, a government department, four design studios, started two successful agencies, and continues to run Ottawa-based creative agency greenmelon and teaches brand strategy at Algonquin College. In 2009 he was recognized as a 40 Under 40 for business achievement and community service. Robert had the opportunity to work with brands including Warner Brothers, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, DC Comics and the Royal Canadian Mint. He speaks and facilitates at events across North America including DesignThinkers, the RGD In-House Design Conference, Creative Mornings, and upcoming HOW Design Live.


Jennifer Taback RGD, President & Partner at Design de Plume Inc. Headshot of Jennifer Taback RGD

Panel Discussion: Job Searching in a Pandemic

Jennifer is a Principal and a founding partner of Design de Plume Inc. and has 13 years of experience providing design and communication strategies based on research, developing technology and user engagement. Her background with national organizations such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Federal Government has given her extensive insight on working with empowering marginalized groups. Jennifer’s Indigenous background, and focus on creating culturally sensitive and aware materials, has provided her clients with powerful visual messages that create change.


Ashley Tomlinson Prov. RGD, Freelance Graphic Designer

Panel Discussion: Agency, Studio, Freelance or In-House?

Ashley is a multidisciplinary graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. She received an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design from Humber College in 2019. Recently, she was the junior designer at Studio Wyse where she worked on editorial projects for the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and the Creative Destruction Lab. She’s also a cofounder of Cove Collective, a community that centres the voices of BIPOC womxn through events, workshops and podcasts. Ashley is always up for a conversation; her favourite topics include intersectional feminism, books and dogs.


Paul Twa Prov. RGD, Graphic Designer at Sticks & Stones Headshot of Paul Twa Prov. RGD

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ... and Passion Projects

Paul is a graphic designer, illustrator, and letterer based in Edmonton, Alberta. A graduate of the University of Alberta's Bachelor of Design program, he currently works at Sticks & Stones, a marketing and advertising agency in the city. A proud maximalist with a keen interest in history, Paul enjoys studying the art and design of the past as a way to inform the work he is making today. A firm believer in the importance of cultivating a personal creative practice, Paul uses this outlet as a way to experiment and inspire future client projects. Paul's work has been recognized by the RGD So(cial) Good Design Awards and he was a finalist in last year's RGD ULTRABOLD Awards.


Nancy Wu, Senior Graphic Designer & Art Director at NancyWuDesign

Panel Discussion: Staying Current from Home and How to Feel Less Disconnected Headshot of Nancy Wu

Nancy was educated at The University of British Columbia (Fine Arts) and Capilano College, continuing to specialize in logo and brand identity design as both an award-winning freelance designer and educator. Working with direct clients and creative firms over the past 25 years including Rethink, DDB, TAXI, Cossette, Subplot, Will Creative, Full Punch & 123w, she was also a writer/contributor to Mohawk Papers’ FeltAndWire & Lovely Package design blogs. Nancy has been a competition judge, mentor, and past sessional instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Langara College. She is currently an organizing member of the Type Brigade Meetup group and a sessional design instructor in the IDEA School of Design at Capilano University since 2017. She continues to support and educate the creative community with mentorships, publication reviews, design talks (Creative Pulse, Type Brigade, The Quickie for Designers podcast, The DESIGNED podcast) and guest critiques. Recognized by Communication Arts, Applied Arts, Lotus Awards, GDC/BC Salazar Awards, HOW Magazine, Identity Magazine, New York Festivals, Advertising & Design Club of Canada, Uppercase Magazine and GDC/Graphex Awards, Wu’s design work has appeared in over 50 international design publications and blogs. She is also a proud, super typography nerd.


Leslie Xia, Art Director at Millie

Opening Keynote on May 5Leslie Xia headshot

Leslie Xia is a queer Chinese-American art director. They studied graphic design at the Maryland Institute College of Art and have worked for companies like Foundry360 at Meredith, Men's Health, VICE News, and Fast Company. Their personal work focuses on race, gender identity, and social justice.