Nearly two months have passed since I visited the Toronto Design Offsite (TO DO) Festival this year, yet some of the standout exhibitions remain in my mind. Innovative and cutting-edge design practices and showcases from all over the world were on display earlier in January to compliment the local talent. One exhibition that peaked my interest due to its six degrees of separation with us at Glendon was the York/Sheridan Program in Design’s brand launch. I contacted the program and had a chance to interview two members of the YSDN2017 team. Claudia Konopko, the Experiential Manager, and Sarah Rodgers, a copywriter, agreed to answer a few questions. The following interview consists of their answers.
Q. 1. What is YSDN2017? Tell us a bit about the project.
A: YSDN2017 is the final showcase for the graduating class of the York/Sheridan Program in Design. The show commemorates the past four years of hard work and presents the graduating students’ designs to the industry and the public as a means of introduction into the working world. These showcases happen every year within the York/Sheridan Program in Design, however this year, there will be a new element to the event: a traveling showcase.
Q. 2. Your branding philosophy is “Engage in the Unexpected” - what does this mean?
A: The intent of the graduation showcase this year was to present ourselves in a unique way, differentiating ourselves not only from other design students graduating from other schools but also from the years that have come before us. Past graduating classes typically held one big finale show, so we decided to do the unexpected and take our show across Toronto and the GTA. With that in mind, we created a tagline that would encompass novelty. “Engage in the Unexpected” is meant to not only entice people and to add an element of mystery, but also to portray who we are as designers: purposeful and analytical creatives.
Q. 3. What was your experience at TO DO like? How was the audience’s reaction?
A: This was the first year that our program participated in the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, and it turned out to be a great success! TO DO was an opportunity to spread the word about YSDN2017 and unveil our brand to the design community and Toronto at large. Our poster wall, which displayed a hundred different variations of our brand, was very popular. We had more than 300 visitors: everyone from members of the design community, to junior YSDN students, to high school students who were interested in seeing what makes YSDN such a strong program.
Q. 4. How do you plan to get traction for this project and where does it fit into Toronto’s design scene?
A: We have strong industry and alumni support who have already started to ask where they can find our show this year. In addition to our travelling showcase, the class is also producing a book that highlights case studies and work from over 85 students. The book will be available at our travelling exhibits as well as at our industry book launch event.
The format of this year’s show, travelling from Oakville to North York and across downtown, allows us to engage with a wider audience. Whereas the event has previously focused on industry members, friends and family, this year we are opening our show to the public as well. Building off the success of TO DO, we recognize the value in having design conversations in our communities, helping to broaden the understanding of what design is and where it fits into our everyday life. We invite everyone to engage with us and see what the next generation of designers has to offer!
Q. 5. Where can we find the final showcase?
A: York students can expect to see the show at Vari Hall on Keele Campus on April 20th. We will be releasing other final locations throughout March on our website and social media channels.
Keep in touch with the YSDN2017 team and updates about the project at www.ysdn2017.com or www.facebook.com/ysdn2017. You can also follow them on Instagram and Twitter, @ysdn2017.