When I started my graphic design career in the fall of 1990, things looked a little different in the design industry than they do now. It was the start of design studios using computers to create their designs. The days of every designer having a drafting table, stool and a set of technical pens were fast disappearing. We now crafted our designs electronically while bent over a 20 inch monitor, saving our files to zip disks (crossing our fingers that the 200k file saved would fit), and sending our files to film houses to create multi-layered proofs and then ultimately negatives and plates for printing. Photoshoots were done with black and white polaroids for testing and then we reviewed contact sheets (with a viewing loop) to see which images we should have scanned at a high resolution, which would also arrive on a zip disk – by courier. Communication in general was different - before email really set in, I’d come back after a lunch and I’d have 6 or more phone messages that I’d take the next hour or so to return.

It’s easy to see how time passes, technologies and routines change, and what we remember as a way of life slips quietly through the cracks and becomes a distant memory - especially when it comes to process and knowledge. And we'd hate to see all of this important history go away forever.

Our first interview with Rob Peters, May 2016.

A while back Winnipeg photographer Leif Norman and myself were discussing the idea of creating a podcast series where we interview graphic designers in order to capture some of the disappearing history and as well to create some archival material that might inspire others. The idea was to keep it simple – conduct recorded interviews with individuals with a general list of questions, edit, then post as podcasts that can be accessed by anyone but in particular by students and graphic designers in our industry. We’re calling the series Oots - Out of the Studio - and we hope to build a substantial library of entertaining discussions with various designers who have not only witnessed the influence of design in Winnipeg and Canada, but helped shape it.

We’re thrilled to have the support of GDC Manitoba to get this initiative off the ground, and thank them for their generous support and input. We hope that the Oots program is something that continues to grow over the years as designers come and go and our industry continues to redefine itself.

Leif Norman. Photo by Brent Lelond.

Leif Norman. Photo by Brent Lelond.

Leif Norman

Leif wanted to be a High School Chemistry teacher, but then discovered that education was more than just teaching kids; things were complicated. Luckily, he was still attempting to be a photographer all through doing his Chemistry degree at the U of W, and people continued to hire him to shoot festivals, portraits, and various events. He now puts his chemical knowledge to good use by experimenting with photographic processes from the 19th century, such as Cyanotypes, Salt Prints, and Calotypes. These are fun and artistic but don’t pay the bills, which is why he continues to be a useful commercial and event photographer for the Fringe Fest, Comedy Fest, Cluster Fest, The WAG, PTE, MTYP, Theatre Projects Manitoba, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, The RWB, ft3 architects, Winnipeg City Hall and many more cultural institutions and businesses around Winnipeg. He won’t shoot weddings, but he will show up to the party. 

As one of the founders of the lapsed BreakfastWinnipeg.com website, where he and Andrew McMonagle reviewed over 140 places to eat breakfast in Winnipeg, Leif decided to tape breakfast podcasts. They were mostly full of arguing about ketchup and recent movies over the clinking of cutlery; so it didn’t sound so good.

Leif considers himself a renaissance man, and since he was already a Cab Driver, Carnival Worker, Dish Washer in Gimli, Paperboy, MacBook Repairman, Performance Poet, and Voice Actor he figured he could also try to do interviews as good as Peter Gzowski.

Evan Kuz. Photo by Tony Nardella

Evan Kuz. Photo by Tony Nardella

Evan Kuz

Ravings and rants are two words not normally associated with Evan - but when it comes to the profession of graphic design, there you will find passion and energy. Evan, as soon as he graduated from a graphic design program at the University of Manitoba, was involved with the GDC Manitoba Chapter right from the moment when Rob Peters, one of his unofficial mentors, recommended that he gets involved. Evan served in nearly every roll that the local chapter had to offer, and held the title of President twice.

Evan, with nearly 28 years of experience, is the founder of Sly Bird Creative, a design firm focusing on providing unique communications solutions for clients with unique problems.

Outside of his career in design, you're most likely to find him traveling somewhere in the world, or meandering down paths and hiking trails on foot, bike or in full running stride, or happily dipping his kayak or paddle board paddle into the water of Lake Winnipeg near to his cottage. 



A big Oots thanks to

Kira Gregory for the design of the Oots logo. 

The Scissorkicks for the original musical scores we’ve used within the podcast.