Finding Your Way – The Stream for Students & New Grads
Like any adventure, beginning your design career is equal parts exciting and daunting. How do you prepare for the journey ahead? Join us at Creative Directions to hear from seasoned design professionals as they share insights, strategies and advice for navigating your first years in the design industry.

*Creative Directions delegates can attend presentations from any stream. Though you may find the presentations in this stream most fitting, you're welcome to attend others as well.


Tuesday, May 4


9:00 AM PT / 12:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM AT

Keynote | An Update from The Draplin Design Co.: And Other Fibs, Lies and Perjuries

Presented by Aaron Draplin, Draplin Design Co.

What a time to be alive! Thankfully, Draplin Design Co. was able to stay busy, focused and vigilant these last surreal 15 months. And yet, learned some weird lessons along the way. They'll show a Spirited set of case studies of the stuff that kept them out of the red, inspired and somewhat sane. All from the lost year that is 2020.


10:15 AM PT / 1:15 PM ET / 2:15 PM AT

Panel: Hope in Uncertainty

It's an uncertain time to be starting your career. Join our panelists as they talk about the hope and opportunities that exist for new designers during this period in history.

Moderator: Dominic Ayre RGD, Partner, Creative Director at Hambly & Woolley Inc. in Toronto


  • Anthony Burrill, Graphic Artist, Designer & Print-Maker on the Isle of Oxney, Kent, UK
  • Vanessa Eckstein RGD, Founder & Creative Director of Blok Studio in Toronto, ON
  • Howard Poon, VP Director of Design, DDB in Edmonton, AB
  • Pamela Rounis, Creative Director at Rethink in Vancouver, BC


11:30 AM PT / 2:30 PM ET / 3:30 PM AT

Presentations & Discussion: Career Journeys

What do you want out of your career? Join these successful design professionals as they share their career paths along with strategies for how you can land your dream job (and more importantly, figure out what it is)!

Over the last 9 years, paper has been the main medium for Diana's work. It is very versatile and inexpensive, making it a great choice to test, propose and materialize ideas. Diana has applied a number of techniques that allowed her to propose artworks, products and visual images for editorial and advertising campaigns. In this talk Diana introduces paper as a tool in her practice, detailing its characteristics, uses and applications.

They say the first step to working through something is to name it. The Design Blues are something Dani identified early in her career, and has even experienced while working at a "dream job." In this talk she shares some strategies on how be confident in the creative process, and perhaps even find joy in it — posing the question "how can I turn any job into a dream job?".


12:45 PM PT / 3:45 PM ET / 4:45 PM AT

Building Good Habits and Avoiding the Bad

Presented by Greg Dubeau RGD, Freelance Graphic Designer & Design Instructor in Halifax, NS


2:00 PM PT / 5:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM AT

Giving Good Portfolio Presentations … Virtually

Presented by Victor Szeto RGD, Creative Director at Green Living Enterprises

In our virtual-first world, how do we adjust our online portfolio review experience to be as dynamic as it could’ve been in person? In this presentation, Victor will outline quick and easy tips for students looking to learn how to best present their portfolio in a virtual setting. You'll gain the knowledge you need to present your work so it stands out online, and most importantly, proceed with confidence and professionalism.



Wednesday, May 5


9:00 AM PT / 12:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM AT

Keynote | Extra Bold: Redesigning Power Flows

Presented by Ellen LuptonLeslie Xia and Kaleena Sales

Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable speaking up in class or sharing new ideas at work? Who feels confident and who doesn’t? What do you need to think about before coming out at work? How can you help build a more diverse and inclusive design field? Ellen Lupton, Kaleena Sales and Leslie Xia are co-authors of Extra Bold: A Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-Racist, Nonbinary Field Guide for Graphic Designers. They discuss concepts like intersectionality, systemic racism and equity in the workplace. What can you do to share power, amplify the power of others and claim your own power?


10:15 AM PT / 1:15 PM ET / 2:15 PM AT

Panel: Job Searching in a Pandemic

Tune in to this panel to hear how employers are approaching the hiring process during the pandemic. How do they identify candidates? How do they evaluate them remotely? They'll answer these questions along with yours.

Moderator: Dominic Ayre RGD, Partner, Creative Director at Hambly & Woolley Inc. in Toronto



11:30 AM PT / 2:30 PM ET / 3:30 PM AT

Presentations & Discussion Cultivating Confidence

Is your work wrapped up in your self-worth? Listen to three design professionals as they share strategies for maintaining confidence, tackling impostor syndrome and owning your role as the design expert.

  • The Power of Defining Success by Design
    Presented by James Cabrera, Head of Design & Special Projects at The Block in New York, NY
    You spend weeks working on a design, but then: “Can you make this bigger?”. “Can you make it pop more?”. “It would look better if...”. “It’s almost there.” Consistently receiving vague design feedback with unclear reasoning, especially from the top of the company, can reduce confidence for designers early in their careers. This talk will cover the importance of why you need to define success in design, with tools to help you do so. Increase your confidence the next time you present and defend your work to subjective crowds. The goal with this framework is to maintain the integrity of your work, from presentation to implementation.
  • The Creativity Myth
    Presented by Diego Lopez RGD, Creative Director at Compass Creative in Stoney Creek, ON
    In ten short minutes, you'll learn how the myths we share around creativity contribute to impostor syndrome, and how to overcome them.


12:45 PM PT / 3:45 PM ET / 4:45 PM AT

The Art of Building & Maintaining Your Professional Network in the Virtual World

Presented by Despina Zanganas RGD, Founder at Despina and Co. & Host at Connect and Bloom in Toronto, ON

Join Despina as she discusses the art of networking in the virtual world. Find out why we all
need to be networking (yes, even if you love your job!), how to network as an introvert, and tips
for making authentic connections in an online environment.


2:00 PM PT / 5:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM AT 

Tours/Presentations Exploring Specialties

Join us as we visit with designers from a variety of sectors to learn about their workflows, work environment and day-to-day processes



Thursday, May 6 to Friday, May 7*

  • Portfolio Reviews

  • Mentoring


*Pre-registration is required. Limited spots. First come, first get.