Welcome to Talk Nerdy to Me! A series of fireside Slack-Chats where Pound & Grain’s resident design geniuses and other smarty pants explain design programs and best practices to a writer.
We’re so excited to chat with P&G’s newly appointed Design Director Kateland Clarke about design, art, photography and design direction. Let’s get started!
KAT: Hey Kateland, I’m so excited to talk to you about your new role! My first question is: how will the role of Design Director differ from your previous role as Art Director?
KATELAND: Thanks so much! The main difference in my role as Design Director is that I will now be managing and mentoring our full design team across the Vancouver and Toronto offices as well as freelancers. I will still be getting my hands dirty with design and production like I was as an Art Director with some projects, but I will be more focused on overseeing the design for all the projects that go out our door to ensure we are producing the best creative possible for all our clients.
KAT: How did you discover your passion for design?
KATELAND: Design has been a passion for me from such a young age. I was always the ‘arty’ kid, but also the ‘perfectionist’, so the two of those traits together naturally led to design. I spent my childhood wandering around galleries and exhibitions with my Mum, who runs the Graphic Design degree at Brighton University back in the UK, so it’s kind of all I know. I remember my year 9 work experience in high school was in the graphic design department of Kerrang! Magazine for a week at their London headquarters, and I think after being in that environment I knew for sure this is what I wanted to do.
KAT: Which type of design programs are you most excited to use or experiment with in the future?
KATELAND: You know, pre-Pound & Grain I had never used Sketch, I was a die-hard Creative Suite gal, but I use it pretty much every day now, the UI is stellar and it’s super streamlined with lots of super useful shortcuts.
KAT: How have design styles shifted between The UK and Canada?
KATELAND: I do find that the UK aesthetic is much more ‘European’ and ‘Swiss’ looking as a whole, and I am a sucker for that look & feel, but I do see it creeping more and more this side of the pond in the typography and composition trends that we’re seeing more of.
KAT: What’s the best part about working at P&G?
KATELAND: Oh the team for sure! I’ve always raved about how amazing the culture is here at P&G, I think a lot of companies try to create a super tight-knit crew, but it can often feel a little forced, but it just feels so natural here. Everyone is super talented, committed and hard-working so naturally we all gel together so well.
KAT: Couldn’t agree more! Do you have any tips for leading a team of creative designers?
KATELAND: Communication is key! And frequent communication at that. The first thing I did in this new role was set up regular one-on-ones with each of the designers to ensure that we are tackling the hurdles head-on and at the moment, we’re keeping track of projects and client relations, and most importantly making sure that they’re happy and are getting the kind of work that is pushing them creatively.
KAT: How has working from home been treating you over the past few months?
KATELAND: Honestly, it’s not been bad at all. It’s just been great to hang out with my dog all day every day, she is LOVING it. We also just moved houses and I now have a spare room I can work in, and having that vs the dining room table I was working from before makes the world of difference.
KAT: Do you have a favourite P&G memory?
KATELAND: I feel like there are a lot! But I’d probably say the first time I got to work on the film set for the Casinos BC campaign, that whole experience was super fun and not a type of project I’d worked on before so I learnt a lot. I even got to snap the clapperboard on camera!
KAT: Tell us about your recent off-the-grid hiking trip!
KATELAND: It was amazing! We did a 4-day section of the Sunshine Coast Trail, which has been on my wishlist since I moved here 5 years ago. My fiancé, dog and I were all carrying heavy backpacks and enjoyed some of the best of BC’s wilderness. One day was insanely hard (1200m elevation gain in only 6km) and even though the weather didn’t give us the greatest views, it was just so wonderful to completely switch off from the outside world for a few days. If anyone is considering it, I highly recommend it. Just bring plenty of snacks!!
KAT: Wow, that sounds amazing! What are you currently reading?
KATELAND: I always have a couple of books on the go at the same time, as I like to mix it up between fact and fiction. Currently, I’m reading ‘The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America’ by Thomas King, which is super eye-opening, and is part of my current exploration into the history of Canada and Indigenous culture. And I also just started reading ‘The Street’ by Ann Petry, I’m only a chapter in so far but the way it’s written is quite stunning.
KAT: I know you also moonlight as a professional photographer. What kind of photos are your favourite to shoot?
KATELAND: My favourite thing to shoot would be adventure sports, I LOVE shooting my fiancé and his friends mountain biking, it’s just so exhilarating getting right up close to the action and seeing them do all these crazy stunts that I could only dream of doing on my mountain bike.
KAT: Do you have a favourite photographer?
KATELAND: The first who comes to mind is Paul Nicklen, he’s a Canadian National Geographic photographer who is also a Marine Biologist and co-founder of Sea Legacy. The shots he gets of marine wildlife completely blow my mind, he has an incredible eye and such luck for witnessing such incredible moments. Plus, when someone is doing such good for the planet at the same time, you can’t help but love them even more!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your new role, Kateland! We can’t wait to see you thrive as our new Design Director.