Vancouver (Canada) Design Industry

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by ac6789, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. ac6789 macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Hi all,

    Hoping to get some perspective on the Vancouver design industry. I'm currently living in Toronto (I hate it here) and want to move back to the west coast.

    Looking for an idea on how competitive design jobs are (looking at studio/agency position). Do you think the area is oversaturated with designers? Too competitive? Generally, what are studios out west looking for?

    So if any of you are in Vancouver (and area) and can give me some insight/tips, suggestions/considerations that would be great.

    p.s. Not sure if this is the correct forum. I apologize in advance if it's not.
  2. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
  3. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    Stay in toronto if you want to make a living.

    there are too many 'schools' pumping out too many designers to get a decent position with decent wage.

    entry wage for Graphic designer is about $9 , Web about $9.50, industrial is 12.50 but very few advertised positions.

    now having said that , there are good non-entry level positions that actually pay a real wage but they are rarely advertised rather passed on by word of mouth.
  4. bluetooth macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2007
    Having lived here my whole life, I am just curious as to what you hate about Toronto?
  5. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    I stumbled upon a website for a rather dandy looking Vancouver based design company only the other week, but it's name totally escapes me, I'll have to have a looksie for it later in my links archive.

    I'd move there in an instant too. :)
  6. ac6789 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Wow, didn't know the pay was that bad, I consider myself an intermediate designer (working for 5 years now) I think it'll be tough for me regardless of how much experience I have since I don't know anyone in the industry over there to get in by "word of mouth". Would you recommend temp agencies such as Aquent to get started?

    It's more of the lifestyle here that I don't like. Everything seems to be rushed on a 24/7 basis and that if you're not doing a "productive" activity, errand, etc, there's something seriously wrong with you.

    Example: I have a friend who complained that I was wasting time when I wanted to relax a couple of weekends ago. My friend is still frustrated over the fact that I "wasted" my own time. I've found this behaviour repeated in almost 90% of people I know. Personally I like to unwind after coming off a work-week. Perhaps he is the exception rather than the rule but I'm finding many people have the same mentality as my friend where if you have nothing planned you're wasting time or some freak of nature. :)
    Just because his schedule is full to the brim, doesn't mean mine has to be.

    I know Vancouver will have rush times like this and I expect it to. But the constant 24hr rush/stress nature that I've seen here is just not for me.
  7. one3 macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2004
    I'm a designer working / living in Vancouver. Here's my quick take on things:

    Vancouver as a general rule is geared towards web vs print design. So if you're looking to design websites you'll more likely be successful at finding work than in the print / branding industry. This is a general statement of course but I think holds true. The $9/hr rates mentioned above are misleading I think. I think that applies to graduates coming out of 6-9 month government sponsored 'schools' who get some sort of 'certificate' of design and then go to work at a QuickCopy or Kinko's type of place. Most reputable 'real' design companies in town would pay you $35-40k/year and up depending on experience, etc. Our company just hired a junior web designer and that's roughly their starting wage. Both Yaletown and Gastown areas of Vancouver are filled with web companies and there are jobs out there to be had. Just as a quick example, here's one company in town hiring web UI designers:

    and one good place to look for jobs is:

    Craigslist is also a good source of course.

    Hope this helps.
  8. johnmartin78 macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2007
    Not really an answer to your question but.

    Depending on what sub-field you are interested in,I have always thought of Vancouver as being a more creative place,Toronto is where I am from and it's got a somewhat artificial feel to it after visiting other cities.
  9. ac6789 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Thanks for the replies. Very helpful and given me a bit more to consider.

    One3: Thanks for those links, I'm taking a closer look into it now.

    johnmartin78: Thanks for that perspective. I agree with you as well on the artificial feel of T.O. when compared with other cities.

    Perhaps T.O. is becoming a bit too pretentious for any real creative thought? I've always found Vancouver to be more organic and free (for lack of a better term). The last time I was in the city I found the view of the mountains to be very inspirational.
  10. bluetooth macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2007
    I have never been out west, aside from Washington State (Seattle area) in the US, which was really something given the city, mountains etc.

    That's actually not the first time that I have heard that from people who have come here from other cities, that it is too much like New York, in that it is non stop and people are pretty standard to working until 7 or 8 in the evening or giving up a weekend without giving it a second thought.

    The only other set back is the cost of living, but Vancouver is probably par, if not higher. I guess since I have lived here all my life, I have somewhat adapted to the lifestyle, but overall I feel it's a great city.

    Either way, best of luck out west.

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