“…I have never designed for an established company…this class was the first time I worked with a real client.”
CBJ chose Ashley Yearwood’s designs for our world premiere of Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™. Ashley recently completed her second year of George Brown College’s Graphic Design Program. CBJ partnered with the Graphic Design Program and worked with some of the top designers in the program. We asked GBC Graphic Design students to create a poster commemorating the world premiere of its newest production, Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ and design merchandise, including tote bags, water bottles, merch tags and T-shirts. In this interview with CBJ, Ashley shares how she got interested in graphic design and reflects on her experience designing for CBJ.
Congratulations on being selected to showcase your designs! How did you get into graphic design?
I took a Photoshop class in high school. Before the class, I had no interest in art at all. After that, I realized it was the only class I looked forward to during that semester. So, I looked into what fields use Photoshop, and that’s how I started getting interested in graphic design.
Why did you choose the George Brown College Graphic Design Program?
I have an undergraduate degree in Communications from Denison University in Ohio. I didn’t want to stay in the United States, so I went on the Internet and did a lot of research on graphic design programs. George Brown was one of the first ones that popped up. I read a lot of reviews, and I spoke with some alumni. Everything that everyone had to say about it was so positive. I just decided to apply and see if I could get in. Now I’ve finished my second year and have one year left in the program.
How were you picked to be part of this group of designers?
I was in a class called Studio Lab, run by Lori Endes. We work with real-life clients and design work for them. One of our clients was Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, and this is the project that they gave us.
“Every single person in that class is an amazing designer. It’s just really cool for them to have chosen my poster.”
Was this your first time designing for a “real” client, and how was it different from designing for school?
I’ve had little clients here and there but have never designed for an established company. During Studio Lab, we had one client before Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, but this class was the first time I worked with a real client. When we’re designing for school, there’s really nobody who’s saying, ‘Well actually, that’s not what we were looking for,’ or ‘This doesn’t fit the brand.’ I think that was one of the biggest challenges everybody in the class faced — getting out of a mindset of designing something because you like it and moving towards making decisions based on what the brand stands for. It ends up being significantly more fun and more challenging.
What were some of the challenges that you faced while working on your designs, and how did you work through them?
One of the challenges that I had was trying to get to know the brand; figuring out what Canada’s Ballet Jörgen posters look like and going along with that theme while also putting myself into the design. I think that’s definitely one of the challenges I had to work through — balancing what I wanted to do with what is good for the client.
What does this mean to you to have your work chosen out of thirteen designs?
It was pretty cool. The class is full of amazing designers. We had to put portfolios together and interview to get in the class, which is why the class is so small. Every single person in that class is an amazing designer. It’s just really cool for them to have chosen my poster.
What’s next for you?
This summer I’m going back home to Bermuda to work as a Digital Content Specialist Intern for RG Magazine. Then I’ll return in September for my last year of the Graphic Design Program. The program just had its year-end show where I got to look at the third-year students’ thesis projects. After seeing the amazing things that were done and just the quantity of what they had to design, I’m both incredibly excited and incredibly nervous about having to do that next year. It’s a huge design project from research to finish. It’s very exciting and also a little nerve-wracking.
Look for the final reveal of the design across Canada and the U.S. Posters and merchandise will be sold across CBJ’s tour of Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™, which begins in Halifax, Nova Scotia on September 28, 2019.
Written by Victoria Campbell Windle, CBJ Communications Contributor.
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