A Canadian Design Legend Gone Too Soon — Ray Hrynkow 1953 - 2012

March 27th, 2012

Ray Hrynkow, CGD, MGDC

Ray Hrynkow, CGD, FGDC

Ray Hrynkow, FGDC, husband and partner of 36 years to Casey Hrynkow, FGDC, and alumnus of Emily Carr University of Art and Design lost a ferocious 6-year battle with pancreatic cancer on March 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm.  He was just 58 years old, and had so much more living to do. He was surrounded by a huge, loving family keeping a constant vigil by his bedside.

Ray was a guiding light and father to Cassandra, Peter and Peter’s wife Kristen. He was a loving son to Peter and Tillie as well as Sheila, big brother to David, Tricia, and Savannah and his “extended sibs” Paula , Libby, Monica, Kevin and Mark. He was “little brother” to Lova, Marilyn and Janyse. He was a beloved uncle to Alana, Ryan, Josh, Max, Kandace, Matt, Chris, Donna, Emile, Aaron, Rachel, Hayley, Lachlan, Sam, Elly, Ben, Michaela, Kathryn and Jacqueline. He was a central figure in a giant extended family who loved him to distraction.

Ray was a champion for design and design education in Canada. A recipient of over 200 national and international awards for design, Ray advocated for design and its role in Canadian business and culture. He was a leader in the profession in Canada. Ray knew that Canada was greater through the work of its communication designers. He spoke and wrote frequently about design’s role in growing our economy and cultural awareness. He was principal of Herrainco Brand Strategy and Design from 1986 until his death.

Of all the descriptors used by people that knew Ray, the words “gentle” and “gentlemen” are the most common. He was incredibly passionate and uncompromising, yet soft. He loved design, but he loved people, too. He took great joy championing a young student or graduate. Many new and spectacular careers were launched from Herrainco.

Ray became a Fellow of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada in 2011 in recognition of his profound influence on the British Columbia design community. His commitment to design, best professional practices and community support were major factors contributing to the sum of the GDC as a profession and as a Society as a whole. Ray loved promoting young designers. He respected their vision. He wanted them to be better than he ever was. In honour of that love, in late 2011 he created the Ray Hrynkow Scholarship to be awarded to a third year student in a four-year design degree program. The award will go to a candidate showing great promise as a “thinking” designer — one who demonstrates an understanding of sociology and anthropology in their work.

Ray loved communication design, design in general, and burgeoning talent in the field. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Thank you: Dr. Andrzej Buczkowski, our superstar surgeon angel, for your skill and compassion and giving us 6 years we didn’t think we had; the countless critical care and other nurses of VGH for getting us through a brutal recovery, Dr. Hagen Kennecke and his staff at the BC Cancer Agency for giving us hope and time; Nurse Vivian Allie for your sweet support; Dr. Janice Wright and everyone at Inspire Health who helped us see that we had control, the chemo team at BC Cancer Agency for your compassion and care; Dr. Pippa Hawley for your practical and straightforward approach to comfort; Dr. Stephen Lam for helping Ray breathe; our pharmacy team at Shoppers Drug Mart at 5 Road and Cambie who were like caring family; and, finally, our nurse, Alexis Hodgkins, Dr. Peter Quelch and the team of Richmond Home Care Nursing for keeping us going when the going got really, really tough.

A Celebration of Ray’s Life took place on Sunday, April 1 at 2:00 pm at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. You may watch the video here.

In lieu of flowers, we would greatly appreciate donations to the newly formed Ray Hrynkow Scholarship through the GDC.

Donate online
Click “Donate” at the GDC Store and click through to make your donation. When you receive your email receipt, reply to the email (info@gdc.net) to request that your donation be applied to the GDC Foundation Ray Hrynkow Scholarship fund.

By mail: Send your cheque (made out to GDC, with a note that it is for the GDC Foundation, Ray Hrynkow Scholarship fund) to:

Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6E2

By phone: with your credit card,
call toll free 877-496-4453

Bookmark and Share

Show Don’t Tell

October 31st, 2011


A nice little article from Smashing Magazine on infographics and data visualization which bears a read, especially for my students.

Smashing Magazine. October 14, 2011.

Bookmark and Share

Design Thinking UnConference today

August 19th, 2011

Here's #DT2011's Friday schedule. on Twitpic

Bookmark and Share

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

May 10th, 2011

Here’s a quick follow up to my corresponding blog post Making Hay in a Hailstorm, written almost two years ago at the height (no, make that the craggy depths) of the horrible recession we are now seeing the other side of.

The sun is shining everybody’s busy. That means EVERYBODY. Our clients are busy. We’re busy. Our colleagues are busy. Our suppliers are busy. It’s a mad, mad rush to make up for lost time. In the last two years, we have become accustomed to contacting a colleague or supplier and getting an instant “yes, when do you want it?”. We got spoiled. And guess what? So did our clients. Now, we’re all having to be patient and plan further out.

The dark side of not spending when everyone else is not spending is that it builds pent up demand. When you finally spring the genie from the bottle, it’s like a shoe sale at Macy’s. And that is just what has happened. Everybody wants everything, right now. So, at the risk of coming across like a whiny Cassandra, I shall remind us all that bucking the trend and making hay in a hailstorm is not a bad idea.

Bookmark and Share

How to Hire a Design Firm

April 28th, 2011

Mark Busse, former president of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, BC Chapter and principal of Industrial Brand in Vancouver has written a very clear and compelling explanation of why RFPs are a flawed process when used to procure professional design services. You can read it here. The bottom line is that design cannot be commodified. It is customized and the choice of providers runs from professionals with decades of experience to self-taught desktop publishers. How do you know the difference and what does it mean to your company? Mark’s Tips for Evaluating a Design Firm are worth republishing here:

  • Tips for evaluating a design firm

  • Consider a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that includes project goals and budget as an alternative to an RFP
  • Consult with design industry associations like GDC.net for guidance in selecting designers
  • Consider whether specialization in your industry will be an advantage or not
  • Avoid meaningless descriptions of process by asking to see relevant case studies that show goals, context, approach, solution, and results
  • Encourage discussion and questions by respondents and meet with most qualified candidates in person to judge fit, but choose talent over fit
  • Engage a design team to evaluate and diagnose solutions before requiring a project proposal
  • Ask what happens if after the first phase you are not comfortable working together
  • Clarify what you will actually get in the end and who owns the working files
  • Formalize a written proposal or contract only after an agreement has been arrived at
Bookmark and Share

Ian Bray, ink stained wretch

March 30th, 2011

5w55Ian's face.pages

We have worked with Ian since the 1980s. He was just a young boy starting out back then…. Ian has written much of our most notable work, all of the Bravo campaign as well as the highly successful Luna Pizza and Beer books. He’s definitely a brain worth picking.

Who are you?
Professionally, a grizzled freelance writer/producer/creative guy.
Personally, a husband, father, brother, parent wrangler, uncle and friend.

What do you do?
I write anything and everything for anyone and everyone. Discount store flyers to national multimedia campaigns. I write websites, product labels, ads, corporate positioning, TV and radio spots, annual reports, newsletters, corporate videos and weaselly micetype disclaimers. I’ve written medical manuals for colorectal procedures and funny TV spots for airlines. Because I consider myself a craftsman, no job is too small – it just needs to be fundamentally interesting. (Thus the colorectal job.)

Why do you do it?
I love the creative process, exchanging and growing ideas with others.
But mostly, I do it for money.

Where do you do it?
I had an office in Yaletown for years, but now I hang my hairpiece in White Rock.

When do you do it?
Officially, I’m at my desk by about 7 AM, Monday to Friday.
Unofficially, I’m always thinking.

Bookmark and Share

@awsamuel and her connection to all things social media

March 23rd, 2011


Alexandra Samuel is a whirlwind of social media activity. You can follow her on Twitter @awsamuel as well as read her blog posts on Harvard Business Review, among others. I worked with Alex on a project with my 3rd year students this past fall, re-imagining the ebook. Great project for both me and my students to take our brains out for a good run!

Who are you?
I’m a writer in the sea of social media: sometimes swimming, sometimes drowning. I’m lucky that my work lets me think about how to help other people (mostly) swim: I run the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, where I help BC’s creative and tech companies tap the incredibly skills and creativity of Emily Carr faculty and students. I come from the tech sector myself, as the co-founder of Social Signal, a social media agency.

What do you do?
I develop and lead research projects that advance the use of social and interactive media in a range of companies and industries. For example we’ve helped Paperny Films develop its vision for an online community to go with its upcoming TV series for the Food Network, Eat Street. My colleague Glen Lowry collaborated with Work at Play on classroom uses for their social media platform, DEQQ. And I’m really excited about the work that Jonathan Aitken and I have been doing around re-imagining electronic books in partnership with BookRiff and now with the Mozilla Foundation, too.

Why do you do it?
Well, I have a really good shtick I could insert here about how the Internet is changing just about every aspect of our world, which desperately needs changing given the incredible variety of crises we face, and which could be our very best hope for pulling ourselves out of this global nose — dive if we can take charge of our lives and society online and use it to fix our problems instead of making them worse. And that is definitely why I feel like the Internet — and our individual lives online — are so worth attending to. But the truth of why I do it is honestly that I just really, really love touching my computer. A lot.

Where do you do it?
Hmm, right now I am in bed. I would be embarrassed about how much of my blogging, tweeting and report-writing gets done in my bed, except that I have a wicked home media setup that would otherwise be totally wasted. So I try to mix up all the bed-based computing by spending lots of time working in cafés. And also, I do actually work in an office — but that is for human-to-human work as opposed to my human-to-computer work.

When do you do it?
I get pretty cranky if I don’t get at least 6 hours of sleep, preferably 7, so I try not to do it between about midnight and 7 am. Most weekends we have a scheduled family outing or two. And then Monday nights Gossip Girl is on from 9-10. Other than that, assume I’m doing it.

Bookmark and Share

Chava Glouberman translates English to Spanish for our clients. She is a fascinating individual.

March 16th, 2011


Who are you?
I am an immigrant who has gone through the settlement process on more than one occasion. I was born in Paraguay, the daughter of Viennese parents who, at the time of the Anschluss in 1938, seeing the writing in the wall for the Jews there, left that centre of high culture and modernism for the jungles of Southern Paraguay. Several years later, the family moved to Buenos Aires. When I became a young adult I immigrated to and settled in Israel, drawn to the country by the strong belief of the right of the Jewish people to a land of our own, hopefully a free and secure one. My next move was to Canada, following the footsteps of my Canadian partner and our young children.

What do you do?
I work for MOSAIC, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting immigrants and refugees with their settlement and integration needs. Through a variety of programs and services, MOSAIC gives its clients the tools necessary to participate fully in Canadian society. Since its inception over 35 years ago, MOSAIC has become one of the Lower Mainland’s largest immigrant-serving organizations.
At MOSAIC, I work for the Interpretation and Translation Services. My position is Production Manager of the Translations Department. Besides holding a degree in Economics with a major in Business Management, I have an extensive background in language-based work environments, retail service and business planning. Over the last 20 years, I have worked with freelance contractors from a dizzying array of cultural backgrounds.

I am an experienced user of database, word-processing, graphics and formatting software, I also have a keen understanding of cross-platform needs and capabilities, publishing, and communications. For many years I have been serving as the webmaster of our organization and lately I have become even more deeply immersed in all aspects of Social Media and its impact on our agency.

Why do you do it?
I am a keen learner. IT and Social Media fascinate me. The rapid pace of technological advance keeps me engaged and on my toes. The salutary result is that despite the advancing years I still feel young.

Where do you do it?
I am still working at MOSAIC. MOSAIC is to me more than a place of employment. It is an organization that I respect, value and admire. MOSAIC gave me and many others like me an opportunity at a time when our lack of Canadian experience made us less than attractive in the employment market. During my earlier years here I saw the Interpretations Department bloom and explode with unprecedented success. In my capacity as the Manager of the Translations Department I observed the same thing happening again. With the hard work of our team we managed to turn two startups from volunteer outfits to viable fee for services entities, productive in their own rights and important to MOSAIC as a whole.

When do you do it?
Today I do it on a part time basis. The pressures of the managerial position I held in the past require the energy of a younger person. I enjoy the work. I am proud to be associated with an organization like MOSAIC. I could not do without the stimulus, the warmth of my contacts, and the opportunity to continue being productive.

Bookmark and Share

Brand Personality: It’s all about love.

March 9th, 2011
Image by Perry Danforth

We talk a lot about storytelling in brand communications at Herrainco. We like finding and shedding light on our clients’ stories. In a world packed to the gunwales with more choice than you could ever possibly sample, it’s the brands we love that make it. And they don’t have to be big brands. Dave Ansett of Truly Deeply, a branding firm in Melbourne, Australia wrote a lovely little piece today called The Power of Personality in Brand Communications. You can read it here. It’s a great little read and illustrates so well that any brand can be loved, Truly and Deeply!

Bookmark and Share

Cari Bird, Senior Graphic Designer at Emily Carr University of Art & Design

March 9th, 2011


Cari wrangles design at the ever growing and changing Emily Carr University. It’s a challenge and she bears up well.

Who are you?
I am a designer, creator, planner and adventurer. I’m an eternal student. I love the outdoors.

What do you do?
I try to have a balanced life - work inside, play outside. I race sailboats, hike, ski and travel to far-flung corners of the earth. When travel isn’t an option I explore new territories at home. Right now I’m delving into the fascinating world of stereoscopic 3D.

Why do you do it?
In my work world, I always have fun, interesting projects on the go! Emily Carr is an endless realm of opportunity. They encourage pushing creative boundaries like no studio I’ve ever worked in. I love being surrounded by raw creative talent - It’s invigorating. In life in general, I love adventure, meeting new people and exploring new territory - it’s why I’ve spent so much time travelling the globe.

Where do you do it?
Vancouver is home, though I grew up on the prairies, I don’t think I could live away from the sea now. I’m lucky to work at Granville Island - it’s teeming with artisans and craftsmen of all sorts.

When do you do it?
You’d think a university would be quieter in the summer but it’s not the case, I’m busy year-round. I save up chunks of time for when I need a breather. Last year I escaped the last of winter by jetting off to Central America for 3 weeks. Bliss!

Bookmark and Share