February 28, 2020


Little story time: When we were looking for a graphic designer to join our tiny but mighty team last year, Kayla’s application was the very last one that made it into our email inbox. After going through all 319 resumes and after picking a couple of hot candidates, we decided to click on Kayla’s email at last and we are so glad we did. 

Who is Kayla? The short answer: a Vancouver based up and coming graphic designer who is behind the majority of Smartbite Snacks promo designs and who is about to start working on our US product packaging. 

To come up with the long answer, we caught up with Kayla one rainy Saturday morning at our favourite Vancouver cafe DALINA to talk about her creative process, drawing inspiration from her life, and Kayla's advice to aspiring creatives in an ever-changing digital world.

Shout out to super talented William Luk for capturing the interview through his camera lens.



Personal mantra?
Live in the moment

Whatcha readin’?
The Big Questions: A Short Introduction to Philosophy by Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins.

Last Netflix binge? 
Night on Earth 

Go-to song?
I don’t really have a go-to song; I listen to whatever

Hidden gem in Vancouver?
A tea shop called Cultivate Tea on Main Street

Favorite place on earth? 
Hawaii since I just got back

3 emojis that best describe you?

Favourite artist to watch?
Olafur Eliasson

Favourite snack?
I don’t really eat snacks

Name the first word that comes to mind. Now!

What’s your favourite website?



Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became interested in design?
It’s hard to describe myself. Originally from China, I came to Canada to study back in 2010. While in school I had a very hard time deciding what I wanted to do in the future so I chose to reach out to people in my life for advice. My landlord is a writer and he gave me a really good piece of advice. He asked me to look at all college program options and see what I don’t like first.

That’s exactly what I did and through this process I came across a Design Formation program taught at Langara College. I attended the information session and this program seemed very interesting to explore so I applied. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor in Graphic Design degree at SFU.

Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of design thinking?
I’d say all my teachers. At the very beginning I had no idea what the design was. Once I went through the program, my design teachers explained why designers design the way they do, what works and what doesn’t. This opened my eyes to a completely new world and shifted my perspective. 

What are you currently fascinated by?
I noticed that there is this new trend characterized by the use of a lot of colours. I would like to try it out. 

How would you describe your style to someone who hasn’t seen your work before?
I’d say my design style is pretty minimal and also collaborative. I don’t think one solution fits all and that’s why I mainly look at the industry the business operates in and what message the design is supposed to convey to the audience. 


What are you passionate about besides your work?
FOOD. I am a huge foodie. I love to eat.

Do you document your foodie adventures on a blog or do you have a special foodie Instagram account?
I don’t post the pictures of my food explorations because I am too lazy to go through all that process. 

What’s the best piece of advice you have heard and repeated to others?
There is this quote from Yohji Yamamoto: “Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find yourself.” I think it is really good advice especially when you are starting with something completely new. You have no idea how or where to start so it helps to look at someone else’s work to learn from them, to get inspired by them. I do not mean to plagiarize someone’s work but to choose pieces you like and make them your own. 

Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
I always enjoy the process of whatever I am currently working on. Right now I am busy with a school project with the focus on branding for a made up coffee shop.

Last semester I worked on this music video in Adobe After Effects and I really enjoyed the process. So learning more about motion graphics is something I would definitely like to explore more of. 

What’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?

I was going through my Instagram yesterday and discovered this post by hongsick



If you could have the opportunity to work with someone from any period, across any industry, who would it be and why?
I’d say my girlfriend. She’s a data scientist. I’d like to create something with her and see what will come out of it. Her focus is data while my work is all about design aesthetic. I’d love to merge these two together and explore the whole process. Maybe we can create a very cool data interactive website. 

What’s your favourite part of the job? And your least favourite?
Let’s start with the least favourite part to get it out of the way (laughs). Definitely deadlines. Sometimes I struggle with procrastination so I have this love and hate relationship with deadlines. Deadlines help me to be productive but sometimes they can cause a lot of stress. 

Regarding the favourite part, I really enjoy exploring different styles. This changes with different industries, brands and different concepts and I find it really exciting. As a designer, you want your audience to connect your style with a certain industry right away and also to evoke a feeling once that connection is made.

What advice would give someone just starting out in design?
I guess the same advice from Yohji Yamamoto I already mentioned. I think it's really good advice. Look at other artists who are already doing a great job and then take inspiration from their work but make it your own by changing it. Looking for inspiration allows you to explore different styles and then decide what styles you want to stick to when growing as a designer. 


Is there anything you haven’t achieved professionally yet that you want to tick off? What is your next goal?
Last semester I worked on this music video in Adobe After Effects and I really enjoyed the process. So learning more about motion graphics is something I would definitely like to explore more of. 

We’re so happy to have partnered with you on many design projects! What excites you about working with Smartbite Snacks?
Smartbite Snacks is actually the first real company I work for so the whole health food industry is very new and exciting to me. I really like the fact that I’ve been given a creative freedom to explore and play with different styles when coming with on brand designs and promotional materials. 

What are you going to do right after this interview?
I have this school group project I am currently working on so that’s what I am going to do after. 


 You can find Kayla on LinkedIn and if you would like to learn more about her design work, then peek her graphic design portfolio.  

WHAT IS SMARTBITE COLLECTIVE? Smartbite Collective shines a spotlight on changemakers in our community that live according to Smartbite principles. We started Smartbite Snacks because we want to live our lives on our own terms while creating a positive change around us. We don't wait for things to happen, we get up and happen to things. Roadblocks don't discourage us, they fuel us. We believe that life is what you make it, how you impact it and also how you look at it – rice cakes are just rice but wine is just grapes. To us simplicity, boldness, kindness and giving a shit (yes, we said it) are everything and when we meet someone who embodies all of the above, you bet we'll ask tons of questions. 

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Empowered Women Empower (And Inspire) Women: Meet Mandy Tan
Empowered Women Empower (And Inspire) Women: Meet Mandy Tan

January 28, 2020

When you add more women to any equation, there is always a return on equality.
At Smartbite Snacks we believe that a woman alone has power while collectively women have impact. Raising each other up and channeling the power of collaboration is truly how we’ll change the equation. 

That’s why when Mandy from Women in Leadership reached out to us with the sponsorship opportunity, we quickly jumped on board. Women in Leadership (WIL) is a student organization where women are the majority, but men feel welcome and comfortable. WIL serves undergraduate and graduate students at the Schulich School of Business and focuses on enhancing the understanding and appreciation of women's role in business, while assisting members in reaching success in their chosen field.

We talked to Mandy about everything from the first woman she looked up to, her number one favourite place on Earth to how she practice being brave and manages doubt. 

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V in Travelling is for Vegan: Meet the Inspiring Couple Behind The Veganary
V in Travelling is for Vegan: Meet the Inspiring Couple Behind The Veganary

December 01, 2019

Travelling the world has never been easier. Cheaper flights, wallet friendly accommodations and more countries that opened up their borders for curious wanderlusts. Yet, for some who want to see the world there's still one stumbling block that leaves them hesitant about seeing the world – their diet. If you ever fretted about travelling the world as a plant based eater, then rejoice dear plant/animal/planet loving friend because we have a perfect solution for you. If your passport and _____ (insert your fave vegan snack, dish or a restaurant) had a baby, it would be The Veganary, your next vegan BFF. The Veganary’s mission is to empower both vegans and aspiring vegans to live their travel dreams to the fullest while meeting like-minded people along the way. We were curious about how this amazing project started and we desperately wanted to meet the humans behind it. So we invited them for a brunch at our fave vegan café (shout out to Olive + Ruby) and it instantly felt like meeting old friends. 

Get to know Natan and Shani and learn more about The Veganary, below!

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November 28, 2019

Meet Martina Dorkinová: a self proclaimed dreamer, chocoholic, schizo Gemini, nature lover, food photographer, blogger, triple author and also… OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER. We’ve been drooling over her amazing Instagram page for a while, and are THRILLED to be working together since 2018! Martinka’s personality is just like her photography style – original, lovely, fresh and sprinkled with a healthy dose of quirkiness. 

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