Digital Media: Where Creativity And Business Intersect

By Norm Coyne on June 29 2015

In today’s fast-paced technology driven world, artists, designers and businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on each other. After all, innovation, style and creativity can translate into big money for those willing to take the risk. Businesses that are desperate to distinguish themselves in an increasingly crowded and competitive market know this. That is why they are looking to creative professionals for innovative solutions and approaches. As a result, digital media has become a burgeoning field for creative types and businesses alike. In fact, some of the most interesting things happening in pop culture right now come as a direct result of hard working creative professionals.

Our writer sat down with a few locally-trained creative professionals to find out more about digital media and its opportunities. All of the interviewees were trained in the digital design program [now called the Web and Graphic Design program] at the College of New Caledonia.

Lakeysha O’Neill and Elisha Brown, Digital Umbrella Creative (DUC)

Q. How did you get into digital media and design?

L. I had an elementary school teacher who got us into the old Macromedia [now Adobe] programs like Dreamweaver and Flash. So, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to go to back to school for, I chose what I liked to do after hours.

E. For me it was a mixture of passion and necessity. I have always been able to take on creative projects in my other jobs, so when I had the opportunity to be laid off - at least I consider it an opportunity - I decided to go back to school for new media and graphic design.

Q. What do you value most about the time you spent in the program?

E. The main thing was the one on one time with instructors. Since there are less students in the program, you can really throw yourself into your work and if you have any questions the instructors are there to help you. Also the work placement was integral for both of us. The internship at the end of the program was a really awesome opportunity.

L. Yeah. It really helps to be forced into those kind of real world applications, rather than just making a mock website and not having to deal with a client. The industry seminar course was fabulous as well. Experts from the industry came in to share their experience. Some of them had gone through the program while some had been in the industry for over 20 years. It was really helpful to see how the career can develop over time.

Q. What kind of doors opened for you after you graduated?

E. Quite a few of us got some really great job opportunities through the job placement. I was placed at Northern Health Communications. I was a bit reluctant at first because I wanted to do graphic design, but my instructor, Sean Siddals, knew that my energy and experience would work well there. I ended up learning a ton and I got some really cool projects and valuable contacts out of it.

L. Yeah, same. I got my first job out of the placement, but beyond that, Lakeysha and I met during the program. So, one of the doors that opened for me was the opportunity to work with a fellow classmate.

E. Definitely. We got to know who we worked well with. Hence, when I thought that I needed to bring someone else on to my business, Lakeysha was the first person that came to mind.

Q. Tell me a little about your involvement with the Northern FanCon logo and website.

E. Well, it started off with both of us being interested in the event. I’m a major movie buff who loves sci-fi and action, while Lakeysha loves comic books and gaming, so we were super excited. Then Lakeysha mentioned the logo contest. We ended up busting each other’s butts to make sure that we entered. Mine was super last minute.

L. We spent a lot of time throwing ideas back and forth.

E. Yeah. It was a really fun thing to do. My entry ended up winning, which was exciting. Once we started talking to organizers Norm Coyne and James Matosevic about how preparations were going, they started asking about websites. I told them I might be able to help them out.

L. The website was a great project to work on. They were absolute dream clients. They were like, this is what we need and we will leave the creative aspects in your hands. It was fantastic.

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring creative professionals?

L. Efficiency is the biggest part of this job. Being able to do a lot and do it quickly is important. You don’t have time to work long hours late into the night. You need to know the software and your clients’ needs inside and out.

E. We are constantly reinventing ourselves, often for the sake of efficiency. So, make sure you’re streamlining your work in order to get the most out of every hour. You go through a lot of hardships as you start out. You will screw up, but that’s how you learn. And the more you screw up the more it will pay off. It’s all about perspective.

L. Which is why you should take as many opportunities as you can. We try not to say no.

E. If you need to bring someone else on board, do it. You have to figure out how to make it work.

For the stories of Cheryl Turcotte and Nathan Bolton of the CNC Web and Graphic Design program, see the full article on

A2015Norm Coyne