My name is Mark Sexton. I'm a graphic designer. I work for
PAPP Digital Graphics. I'm the graphic artist here, so anything
that involves a creative bench to it gets dumped on my desk.
A lot of people come to us for posters, letterhead
or whatever. I can do a logo for a company
and put it on a business card, which is something
- you know - this size. Or I can do a large,
trade show display, which is of course ten
feet by ten feet.
[Typical Work Day:]
The first thing I do is turn on the computer
and then I start designing. It’s all
computer generated now. I don't take pencil
to paper at all anymore. People are always
looking for an image to present. You know,
look around you: packaging, boxes, books,
bus stops. All of them employ the skills
of a graphic designer somehow. So, it’s
a big field and it's growing all the time.
So, you can make it, but you've got to persevere.
[Decision To Enter This Particular Occupation:]
I fell into this business. I had no intention
of being a commercial artist and that's what
we used to call ourselves - commercial artists.
When I graduated high school, I was - I had
an artistic bent. I wanted…I knew I was
an artist. I knew I wasn't interested in doing
anything other than creating and I thought
I would be a Picasso. So, I went to art college,
O.C.A. back in Ontario, Ontario College of
Art; and I studied fine art and I learned how
to paint and I graduated.
I drove cab, did my paintings, then I fell
into an advertising company. And through that
company we bought a Macintosh, which is the
industry standard for graphics. We all took
turns learning how to use this thing. I just
kind of love it. Through courses I learned
how to use Macintosh, found out that I could
create logos and I can manipulate photographs
and I can do page layout - all on the computer
- which kind of grew from there. Now I find
myself able to do almost anything creatively
that I want using the computer.
[Type Of Education:]
As far as education goes, it was all on the
job training. Like I say, when I went to art
college we didn't have computers there. The
technology was not yet established. Through
the community colleges I took basic Desktop
Publishing. I learned how to use Quark Express,
Illustrator, PhotoShop and there's various
upgrades that I've taken – especially
when Internet came. So you've got to stay on
top of everything, trends plus the hardware.
So yeah, you've got to keep on top all the
time. It's not so much been an institution
education, it's been courses along the way.
However, these days I'm sure that there are
universities, colleges and community colleges
that do offer this kind of stuff, advertising
[Personal Characteristics & Attitudes:]
More so than experience and training in this
industry, you have to have the gift in the
first place. You have to be a creative person
in the first place. If you are not a creative
person – you don't walk, sleep, eat,
think, breathe creativity and art and have
the appreciation for colour and composition
and texture – you can go ahead and buy
the equipment, you can learn the programs,
but you'll never be very good because you don't
have an intuitive instinct to create.
You really have to exercise a lot of patience
because - let's assume that you are creative
and you are interested in pursuing innovative
ideas and not the old standard - well, nine
times out of ten you'll be working for somebody
who wants you to do something that's safe.
It's been done before; it's worked time and
time again, so do it just like it's been done
before. You have to just swallow your pride
and do it. You work as a team. It doesn't really
matter what the industry is I suppose. You
have to respect the people as well. You may
not agree with what they're saying but you've
got to listen to their needs.
[Advice For Someone Entering This Field Of
You have to be true to yourself. The money's
not great, but I love what I do. I look forward
to coming in to work every day. And for the
thirteen out of twenty let's say years that
I was doing other things, I hated going to
work every day. Until I was able to come up
with this, and use my creativity and design
and have fun. But you've got to know it's what
you want to do. It's no good saying, "Well,
I don't really know what I'd do (what I want
to do), you know; I like to sort of draw and
paint a bit so maybe that'll do." That's
not good enough. You have to have it in your
blood. That's what I really love about it.