impact academy launched

Have a great idea that can change the world? Stuck on the details or stuck on where to begin? Impact Academy is a 5 series workshop that will provide you with the tools and support to change the world. This course is brought to you by HUB Ottawa and CISED (Centre for Innovative Social Entreprise Development). As the community and communications manager at HUB Ottawa, I help out with the course programming strategy, marketing, and of course, the branding.

There are far too many people out there who go about their day working jobs that they care very little about, then head home and start their evening idea project that can work into the wee hours of the night, not because they have to, but because they want to. The keyword here is want. I am a firm believer that everyone has the potential to work at a job that they want to. Sometimes that means breaking out of the usual corporate model and risking it all to start that idea that you’ve had burning inside you. You’ve heard it before, but here are some words that may help you get started on said idea:

  • It is never too late
  • It is not how good the idea is, it is how you execute it
  • If you don’t take it seriously, no one else will (read: quit your day job)
  • If you’re not sure where to start, just pick one thing and do it, the rest will follow
  • You’re not the only crazy one, find other entrepreneurs and start a support group
  • If you don’t have anyone else to hear out your idea, contact me! I love listening, the first hit is free.
  • Stop procrastinating

The first round of Impact Academy will be wrapping up in a couple of days but will be running it’s course again soon. Find out more here and sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know when the next round is.

make a splash

We all remember the days of perfecting the underwater handstand, performing our hacked together syncro swim routine and screams of joy/anger as someone splashes you in the pool. Due to severe City of Toronto funding cuts, many of the Toronto District School Board pools are on the chopping block. As a professional swimmer (I wish), I frequent the pool a few times a month so I was pretty sad to hear this news.

A collaborative project between Onmedia, Jaywall Studio, Let’s Make Waves and myself, we launched a campaign: ‘Make a Splash‘ to stop everything and get the two parties (TDSB and City of Toronto) to properly evaluate if cutting pools is necessary.

I am a firm believer in this campaign, I would not like any pools closed, but I am also not one who wants to keep something running if it makes no financial sense. Please sign the petition and join us on Facebook.

Here is some collateral we designed for the campaign.


fun fearless and thriving… and freemium

Word merges are the hottest thing.

Ideation = Idea + Creating.
Gamestorm = Game + Brainstorm.
Liger = Lion + Tiger. um.

I’m going to focus this post on Freemium = Free + Premium! A freemium business model offers a product or service for free or very low cost, while upgraded products or services are at a premium. This gives potential customers the power to test run your product or service, get comfortable with it, realize that they need it… then move towards the complete offering.

fun, fearless and thriving freemium

Florence Grunfelder, founder of Fun Fearless and Thriving, is a certified professional life coach with a focus on career change and money. Florence has embraced the freemium model and is offering an e-book called 4 Easy Steps to Creating the Life You Love. I love the concept (both the freemium and the title of the e-book). It was a gem working with Florence – someone who understands and promotes the integration of life with love!

Check out the workshop Florence is running on Saturday, June 18th!

shopaholic workshop flyer

Apps, start-ups, perfume, iTunes love the freemium model… and so do I!
Ask me about my freemium offerings!

love in action + GIFT

I absolutely love getting involved with people who are promoting good causes. I also love a good party. When Love in Action (LIA) approached me and asked me to help out with designing the brand and promo materials for ‘Cause We Can‘, I was like a kid in a candy store – YES YES YES!!! Theresa the founder/ED of LIA and I began chatting about ‘Cause We Can’ in early March (that’s right! 25 days ago). This event confirms my belief that people truly want to put their love in action because of the timeline we were working with and that this event has an AMAZING line of up hosts and performers supporting this cause by donating their skills and time on such short notice. ‘Cause We Can’ is supporting GIFT – an organization that provides services such as teeth extraction and eye examinations to the poor who need it in the Philippines. What a great cause to support! Come out on April 3 and support the cause.. and have a great time while doing it! Buy a ticket here. Hope to see you there!

On a similar but different note. The Hair Dare on March 14th was wildly successful. Read it about it here.

OpportunityCan launched! #wecan

Many months in the making – Brady (@bradyjosephson) calls it a Labour of Love. I call it an amazing collaborative effort! OpportunityCan is launched! OpportunityCan was created to engage individuals, groups and businesses to get them involved in Opportunity International‘s work of empowering people to work their way out of poverty. This project started with just the logo design and soon involved all the design and icons for the website, Twitter and YouTube. The amazing videos on the website are masterfully made by Bjorn Amundsen (@bjornamundsen) of Herald Design. There are also T-shirts, glass bottles, cards and probably whole lot more to come!

When OpportunityCan officially launched, I discovered that this is my first logo to jump out of a plane at 18,000ft! Get the story here! Spread the news!

news, news, news!

So, you’ve got something to say – what is the best way to get it out there?

Trinity Western University (TWU) in B.C. is launching a new MA in Leadership Program in China! They’ve partnered up with Leadership Development International (LDi) in Tianjin, China. You can imagine the timezone madness when we did three-way Skype calls! But we did it!! After much thought, we decided to not print the newsletters, but to send them out via e-mail.

There are many options when it comes to spreading the news.

Traditional printed newsletters. No problem. Grab a designer, feed them content and images and you’ll get a beautiful newsletter that you can mail out to everyone and their pets. If printing cost is a concern, try printing the front and back pages in colour and the rest in black and white.

e-Newletters that look like printed newsletters, but they are sent electronically as a PDF. Same idea as traditional printed newsletters, except keep in mind the file size. No one is going to want a 2MB attachment.

e-Newletters through a mailing list service. This is the best option if you have a large mailing list. The content is opened right in their inbox, no need to download an attachment. Also, give you the option to include clickable links right in the body of the e-mail. Mashable has listed 30+ Mailing List Services. Some of theses services are even free!

Blog. Ah yes, a blog. I’m a big fan of blogs because it gives others a place where they can regularly update themselves on their own time. A blog will keep your customers coming back to your website.

Something else? As cool as newsletters are, there are hundreds of other ways to get your news out there, I’d love to get creative with you… (sadly, it is not new news, that I am dating my job as a freelance designer).

On that note, I’d like to mention the Toronto Graffiti book, which launches January 28th! I’m excited to get my really-dry-from-winter hands on this!

chelsea truffles chocolate bars launched!

This past summer/fall, I had the pleasure to work with Leeorah Pearce’s chocolate company, Chelsea Truffles. What a dream job, to design her new line of chocolate bars and get it all ready to hit the market. At first it was just a simple wrapper design for the Belgian chocolate bars. If you’ve ever worked with me, you’ll know that I’m a go big or go home kinda person. I didn’t think a simple wrapper would do justice to these decadent chocolate bars. With a only a quick twist of her arm, the project included chocolate mould design and retail counter units to tie everything together to make it impossible to see these chocolate bars and not purchase one… or four. I was in Ottawa this past weekend and spotted the Chelsea Truffles chocolate bars in La Bottega Nicastro!

wild horse saloon

Every year, Humber River Regional Hospital Foundation has a really big ticket event called Flights of Fantasy. This year, the theme was Wild Horse Saloon.  I was given freedom to do whatever I wanted to brand this event. It was a cool project mixing Flights with Wild Horse Saloon! I heard the event was a success and a blast (see pictures), they had real horses at the event!

Humber River Regional Hospital Foundation Wild Horse Saloon

london distress centre

The London Distress Centre is hosting a breakfast event fundraiser. If you’re in or around the area, please consider buying a ticket!