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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!Coffee
What’s your favourite website?Behance
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.
View this post on Instagram
1111 We are human We are earth We are one
1111 We are human We are earth We are one
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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April 16, 2021
You know those Instagram accounts you stumble upon that keep you glued to your phone for an extra hour while you salivate profusely?Nive's @colorfulbalancedrecipes is that Insta account for us. We are consistently blown away by the creativity and thoughtfulness Nive puts into each and every post. 😍 So without further ado we are pleased to introduce you to our new collaborator hailing all the way from the San Fran Bay area. Meet Nive Suresh. 👋
March 04, 2021
A picture paints a thousand words… or more, in the case of food art Instagrammer, a stylish mother of two and an incredibly creative pharmacist Clara Lee. Our fave food artist —and a regular Disney Family contributor—has a colourful, kawaii aesthetic and eye for detail that has captured the hearts 💕 of many, us included.
Clara chatted with us about everything from how she got started in the creative world of food styling, what fashion means to her to what is the best thing about being a mom.
February 01, 2021
If you’re not already following Mirieta, a.k.a. @thesweetenedpea, on Instagram, know this: The possibility of making your life (and nutrition) at least 10 percent more joyous is only a screen tap away.