Portrait of Natalie Kilimnik outdoors at night under the glow of a red light.

When I found out I had been assigned to Manoverboard for my work placement as part of Red River College’s Graphic Design program, I had two goals. The first; I was going to do my best to soak up whatever insight I could, and the second; I was going to drink coffee from Little Sister Coffee Maker every day. I feel like I’ve succeeded at both of those things.

I really enjoyed the past two weeks. I had the opportunity to work on some fun, exciting projects that came with their own challenges and rewards. When I spoke to Andrew on my first day, he told me he wanted to give me a project that I could really own and be proud of—the branding for an Earth Day 2020 event that will help small businesses learn how they can be more involved in taking climate action. Working on this project cemented the importance of research in the design process, as well as the sentiment that in design, often less is more. It also gave me a glimpse into the type of work that Manoverboard chooses to take on and why.

Manoverboard is a B Corp, which means that the projects and the clients they do work for have some sort of positive impact on the world, whether that be environmental or social. Overall, Manoverboard uses their business as a force for good. Learning about this and being enveloped in it for the past two weeks has encouraged me to think about the work that I do, who I am doing it for, and the lasting imprint my personal contribution will have on a world that we all share. It’s been great to work for a business who really considers the impact that design has on the rest of the world and chooses to do something positive with that.

Everyone at Manoverboard made me feel like part of the team. They offered opinions, they included me in their meetings, and we all ate perfection in sandwich form from The Crusty Bun. I felt welcomed and appreciated. As the days went by it was nice to uncover the little things I had in common with everyone here through lunch conversations and office chit-chat, whether that be a shared love of Terrace House, discussions about post-secondary education and experiences, or an appreciation for Herb Lubalin. (Check out Lubalin 100 and Flat File for a heavy dose of holy-grail typography, impactful web design, and a glimpse into the archive of the Herb Lubalin Study Centre). Being able to connect with the people you work with makes any job a lot more enjoyable—it allows you to consistently improve, and creates an environment where valuable feedback is shared openly. I found this to be one of the most important factors in making the most of my time here.

All of that being said, I have a confession to make. Despite what the title of this post might make it sound like, I’m afraid of water, and I don’t really know how to swim. In both swimming and graphic design, sometimes diving in be scary—maybe you’ll sink, maybe you’ll get stuck on your first and worst idea… but with a group as encouraging and supportive as the one at Manoverboard, I think anyone would be willing to get back in the boat just to jump in all over again. Thanks again for the insight, the encouragement, and for keeping me afloat.