Practicum Week 7: Falafel Love

Phew! Grad show is a wrap! Everything went super well and it was a great experience talking to people of all walks of life in the design industry (and some not!). I felt the biggest challenge was ending conversations with people who weren’t potential employers. However, it was exciting to hear the portfolio feedback and get a chance to chat with some people in the industry. We used screens behind our tables this year instead of printed banners. They tested better than I expected. People that I spoke with about them were reluctant when they heard about us using screens, but ended up enjoying our ability to show our work in a more dynamic way.

Beautiful moodboard created by someone at 123w. 

Anyways, after a long Monday night at my grad show, I came in to work on Tuesday morning feeling fairly exhausted and with half a voice. Having said that, there was a big week of work ahead so I downed a few cups of coffee and got busy. This week I finished off the PowerPoint presentation that I started last week. There were a few complications with fonts not loading on the client’s computer, which made me very thankful for account managers who handle this sort of problem with such ease. Aside from PowerPoint I also worked on a packaging project for a local health and wellness brand. I always forget how much I love designing packaging since it’s something I haven’t had a lot of experience with yet. The client came in for a casual review of the ideation so far and ended up liking a couple of my designs. For a new designer showing beside such amazingly talented Creative Directors, I call that a win! Lastly, this week I also worked on a small branding side project with Jeff. It was mostly just for practice in conceptualizing concepts for a new brand. One thing that has changed for me during this practicum is my creative process. Jeff always encourages staying off Pinterest and other inspiration sites and putting your pen to paper (not a pencil! It’s not enough commitment). Your ideation phase shouldn’t start at designing a logo. A good branding concept should work well across all design elements in a cohesive way. Even though this is something I already consider in my work, I believe I’ve been doing it backward. First, I’ve been designing a logo and trying to think of how it can be conceptual, rather than designing a logo based around a strong concept. I believe changing this way of thinking will make me a stronger designer overall.

Highlights Of The Week:

Falafel Love ❤


I think the wonderfulness of this photo speaks for itself. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my lunch on Thursday. I didn’t even want to eat them because they were so cute. PS. They were delicious and I highly recommend Best Falafel on West 4th.

What Are They building In There?

On Friday, I could hear some of my co-workers making a ruckus in the board room (I didn’t look in because I was too invested in the project I was working in). A little while later they came out with all these cool things that they built! Apparently, it’s a subscription where they send you new stuff to build every month. Super rad! I personally love the headphones.


Practicum Wk 6: PowerPoint…

Clearly, not everyone was as busy.

This week was a bit of a blur. The grad show was fast approaching and I wanted to make sure I felt prepared for my big debut. Aside from that, we had a busy week at One Twenty Three West. I began my week by finishing off a presentation for a direct mail piece for one of our clients. I worked with Dominic Prevost on this project and we are both very pleased with the outcome. It’ll be exciting to see what the client thinks and if we nailed it on the pitch.

This week, I also worked on a large PowerPoint presentation for another client. Yes, I said a PowerPoint presentation. Actually, I’ve discovered that this is a common request in the design industry. I felt proud to be able to help out on this job since this presentation was being created for the VP of the company.  A poor outcome could affect our relationship with this client, so they put a lot of trust in me. I was a bit nervous at first because I believe the last time I have used PowerPoint was back in 2003. That being said, I took this as the perfect time to learn the program. I still have a ways to go before I’m a PowerPoint wiz, but I at least have the basic do’s and don’ts down. Thankfully, The client is super pleased with the work so far. Phew!

Highlights Of The Week:

IDEA Grad Show Instagram Takeover

As you probably know, the IDEA 2019 grad class posted daily Instagram takeovers to show our followers what we’ve been up to during our practicums. It was super fun to document my day on Thursday and show people around One Twenty Three West’s new office.



Crafting Prototypes


For my direct mail concept pitch, I had some fun crafting up some prototypes for an idea that I thought could elevate the piece and make it more engaging. I find it very satisfying to build my concepts by hand and see how they come to life, especially when they are interactive. I can’t show a photo of what I was working on, so instead, you get to look at this beautifully composed crafting Stock image. I swear my setup looked pretty much the same.

Practicum Week 5: The New Office

IMG_1459This week was the first in the new office for One Twenty Three West. As I had mentioned in the last blog, I was excited to be a part of this journey and get to experience the space for the first time with everyone else. Being in a bigger space means we can all fit comfortably in the boardroom for our weekly status meeting, as well as other perks. I had a busy week ahead with two projects on the go. During this practicum, I’m learning how to balance my time and prioritizing work. I’ve found the best way for me to figure this out as an intern is to communicate my schedule with my co-workers and strategize my plan of attack for the week. I find it helpful to create a daily checklist for myself so I know exactly what needs to get done on that day. That being said, my biggest struggle so far is to stay on track with how many hours I spend on a project. I often go over my allocated time, which is a bit stressful. I think that this will come with experience and I’m learning every day how to work better/faster. This week I had the opportunity to speak in a client presentation for one of the projects we were working on. Surprisingly, I wasn’t too nervous and it was a really fun and exciting experience. Before we presented, I made notes on the points I wanted to talk about, and from there it was just a matter of speaking clearly and enthusiastically about the work. I was told by some of my co-workers that I am a natural, which was a great affirmation. The best part was that the clients were very pleased with the work. I can’t expect every client meeting to go as smoothly, but it was definitely a great first for me.

The “new” office has a lot of recycled pieces in it.  All of our doors are preloved including this awesome one. 


Happy Birthday, Mia!


Last Wednesday was Mia’s birthday and the entire office went out for lunch to celebrate. Mia is a Creative Director at 123w who is amazingly good at her job and also a super rad person in general. It was fun to get out of the office with everyone and have some burgers in our new neighbourhood.


Such photogenic folk

Delta, The Smizing Golden Retriever 

IMG_1456Delta is Rob Sweetman’s dog who was visiting the office for most of the week. She is the sweetest dog an is always on the hunt for snacks. She knows exactly how to melt your heart and get her way by smizing when she brings you her tennis ball to throw. I absolutely love her and every dog that comes into the office for that matter. 

Practicum Week 4: “End Of An Era”

Beautiful Andy Dixon mural near the studio.

One month at One Twenty Three West already! Wow. I can’t believe how fast this practicum is flying by. This week we wrapped up the digital campaign that I was working on last week. The client had chosen one of the directions, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to learn how to bring work to production. I think this was a beneficial process to learn during my practicum because it’s influenced my workflow to make it easier and faster for myself and others. I was also briefed on a new project for a local real estate company this week. The client is looking to redesign their social media accounts to reflect their brand and follow an organized system. I started this project by doing research and taking notes about the brand, this included reading their brand guidelines. Next, I sketched out some concepts and plans to show my team before I started digital mockups. I feel it’s often easy to want to jump right on the computer for smaller projects but in some cases, I want to restrain myself from doing that. I feel I get my best work out of staying off the computer and sketching as long as the timeline allows for it.


Highlights of the week:

End Of An Era

This week we were busy packing up the office in time for moving day this Saturday. It was super awesome to be a part of this milestone for One Twenty Three West. The laundry mat will always have a place in everyone’s hearts, but it’s time for a new fixer-upper. That being said, you know that anywhere that 123w goes will have just as much character and charm as the last place. I’m looking forward to seeing the new office on Monday and sharing some sneak peeks in my next blog. Until then, here are some photos that I took on our final tour of the laundry mat. I hope the new place is just as haunted.






Fire? What Fire?

On Tuesday night, a fire broke out in the Alsco warehouse below 123w. The news made it sound a lot more dramatic than what I had encountered the next morning, a slight smell of smoke, a couple of broken windows and a smoke alarm ringing throughout the day. I’m glad that nobody was hurt and both 123w and Alsco were business as usual on Wednesday.

Here’s an article on the incident:


Goodfeather Down

(If you don’t know who the Goodfeathers are, you better google it.)

This is actually more of a lowlight. This poor little pigeon was trapped in the stairwell on Wednesday. Luckily, he made it out at some point because he was nowhere to be found on Friday…I never said I was a journalist.


Practicum Week 3: “Three Adorable Dogs”


This week was a busy one. It started with finishing up my workshop with the Alpha Secondary School students. It was super fun and challenging teaching a class of high school students. I really enjoyed the challenge of coming up with a process that is similar to what we would use in the design industry but worked for the student’s needs during their art project.

I was back in the 123w office on Wednesday and was put on a couple of fun project right away. So far, one of my favourite things (out of many) about doing my practicum with 123w is that they’ve always kept me busy. I’m learning so much every day and loving every minute of it. One of the projects had a really quick turnover, so it felt really good when I made the deadline and was given high fives on the execution of it.

To my delight, I also got to sit in on two client presentations this week; both of which included my work in the deck. It was great to hear the client’s feedback first hand on something I had worked on. So far there hasn’t been the right moment for me to present a project myself, but it’s been fascinating watching my teammates do their thing while I take notes on how they sell the work. I think this experience has helped me in gaining confidence in presenting in the future.



Paper Sample Day!


Brenda from Spicers came in to present some of their new papers and print finishes. I absolutely love her enthusiasm and openness to teach us novices about paper and printing. As many designers are, I’m infatuated with beautifully designed printed work. I wanted to take all the samples home. My favourite paper was the Mohawk Keaykolour paper. The collection of colours are so gorgeous and it was fun making colour palates with the samples. Fun fact: the colours are specially chosen to coordinate with each other no matter what. Therefore, there are apparently no bad colour palates.



Three Adorable Dogs


This week really tested my focus with not one but THREE adorable dogs coming to visit. I forget this one’s name but just look at that face and those crossed legs. Jeff’s rescue dog Mia also came in for a Friday morning visit and was a ball full of puppy energy. I couldn’t help but take a break from work to play some tug of war and office ball. Lastly, Kate’s baby dachshund came in for a quick hello and a couple borks at the vacuum cleaner. So much toughness coming from a thing with such little legs.



Practicum Week 2: “The Alsco Ghost”

Another great week interning at One Twenty Three West. My week started a bit late since I taught my first design/illustration workshop at Alpha Secondary School on Monday and Tuesday. Alpha coincidently was my high school, so it was really bizarre returning to my old stomping ground. Full transparency, it made me feel old. The classes went well and we’ll be finishing up our workshop next week. I look forward to seeing what my students create for their final project.

View on my way to work.

On Wednesday, I was back at the office where I had a new workspace waiting for me. I had already been assigned a couple of fun projects for this week, so I was ready to get started. The first project I worked on was a direct mail template design for a tire company. It was interesting and challenging to work on a template for multiple uses, rather than a single design where you’re given the copy to include. Special thanks to Dominic Prevost, a Creative Director at 123w and Instructor at the IDEA School of Design. He gave me a ton of great feedback and mentorship over this past week which was super helpful. On Friday, I had the opportunity to sit in while Dominic presented to the client. I was excited about this because being included in a project presentation was on the top of my practicum bucket list. Since I find presenting my work to be challenging, this experience was really inspiring and constructive.

This week, I also worked on packaging designs for a Canadian brewery. It’s a really fun project because there aren’t many design restrictions and I am free to explore more creative solutions. This has been a great opportunity to flex my design muscles and show One Twenty Three West what I’ve got. I’m really loving the experience so far and I’m super thankful that Jeff has included me in this project.


Making Friends With Fast Food

Last week, I was borrowing a desk from Eric, one of 123w’s Creative Directors, who on vacation in Hawaii (lucky guy). So when I got back on Wednesday, he had given me back the sketchpad that I had left on his desk. His introduction was “Hi, I drew you a hotdog on a skateboard.” It was probably the best first meeting that I’ve had in a while.  I saw his hotdog and raised him a hamburger, fries and soda having a dance party.




The Tragic Tale Of The Alsco Ghost

(Story by Dominic and retold by me, so hopefully I remember it right.)


Firstly, just to explain, Alsco is the laundry company that shares our building.

The story begins when a retired sea captain decided to open up a laundromat because the sloshing sounds of the machines reminded him of the sea. However, one tragic day, the laundromat employees murdered poor Captain Alsco by drowning him in one of the machines he loved so much. The Captain never made peace with his demise and to this day haunts the halls of the Alsco building. He will forever be known as The Alsco Ghost and is the reason for some of the unexplained noises we hear throughout the day. There’s a second part of this story involving the death of some baby seagulls, but I’ll just try to end on a high note by just saying the Alsco Ghost and the baby seagulls lived happily ever after. 

Practicum Week 1

One of the many signs that direct you to the office. It feels like you’re being lead to a secret headquarters. I love it!

This week I began my practicum with One Twenty Three West, an independent design agency located in Mount Pleasant. The studio is made up of highly talented people (mostly senior) so I couldn’t wait to get started and soak up as much wisdom as I can while I’m here. Upon my arrival, I was warmly welcomed by Kim, one of One Twenty Three West’s Creative Directors. She gave me a tour of the office, which is a large part of the culture and charm at 123w. To keep the overhead low and the talent high, the studio is located on the top floor of an industrial laundry mat. The building is constantly buzzing with interesting sounds and fascinating rooms filled with old machines and forgotten fur coats. 

One of the many long hallways at One Twenty Three West/laundry mat. More photos to come under this genre!

Once everyone had arrived, we began the morning with a weekly status meeting, which was a great chance to meet the team and learn a bit about the current projects. I find these meetings to be really helpful for interns to learn the pace of projects and also to listen for opportunities where you could ask to sit in on projects you’re interested in. As an intern, I feel that it’s really important to communicate what you hope to get out of your internship and to not be afraid to ask questions or express your interest in a project. 

One of the many reasons I picked One Twenty Three West as my top choice for my practicum host was because of their diverse portfolio. So, I was delighted to be put right to work on a variety of different projects right from the start. This week’s work ranged from creating concept mockups for a popular grocery store to identity development for a new wellness brand where I worked with IDEA alumni, Taeyeon Kim. My week ended at a photo shoot for a local restaurant. I shadowed Kim as she art directed the shoot, and also got to lend a hand (literally) as a hand model for one of the shots. This was the highlight of my week because those who know me, know I love photography and I was definitely in my element.

Overall, this first week was a great one. I didn’t run into too many challenges besides the usual ones while settling into a new office. I’m really looking forward to next week where Jeff Harrison, founder and Executive Creative Director at One Twenty Three West, has planned for me to work with him on a fun project for a local brewery that I might be able to add to my portfolio in the future. 

The team hard at work at the photoshoot.
The photographer’s dog, Charlie. He’s obviously comfortable in front of the camera. Photo by Kim.
Chipping in as an honorary food stylist for one of the shots. Photo by Kim.