Design scene in Canada

Postby experiMental » March 24th, 2012, 6:24 pm


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Hello folks,

I'm considering moving to Canada and I'd like to know whether the design job market is expanding over there. My main interest is in creative design engineering, like in the company "Dyson". Bombardier contains similar jobs, but how many companies are there that employ similar R&D based methodologies?

Are there any specific websites that tell about design / technology industry in Canada? I have been reading the official government statistics, but they have not answered most of my questions (I have too many of them ;))

I've done very well in Vancouver, when I stayed there for a short period of time. In fact, much better than in any country that I have ever lived in, so I'm not thinking of moving to Canada out of desperation.

If you have any information, I would greatly appreciate your help!

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby Hoodzy » March 24th, 2012, 6:42 pm


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The only companies I can think of are
Bombardier, RIM and Revision Eyewear. SMART Technologies is a fair size I think.

So you can compare that job database with the USA... and RIM has been laying off people the past 3 years.

If you are specialized and a specialized job happens to open up I think that's where the opportunity lies. As I see the mid level senior positions are constantly re posted.

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby Travisimo » March 25th, 2012, 1:55 am

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why not Dyson, I hear they are looking for design engineers at the moment

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby experiMental » March 26th, 2012, 9:22 am


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Travisimo wrote:why not Dyson, I hear they are looking for design engineers at the moment


I 'd love to apply for Dyson, but the competition is incredibly intense. People from Germany and Holland are applying there as well, it's insane! I stand much better chances of getting a design engineering / product design-related job in Alberta or Saskatchewan in Canada.

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby Thathertz » March 27th, 2012, 5:09 pm


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Vancouver is challenging, I am in Vancouver and I am looking to the States and Montreal for opportunities. In my opinion the challenge working or trying to find work as a designer in Vancouver is the lack of corporate head offices (where design teams often work) and a lack of manufacturing, both of these seem to be concentrated in the eastern Provinces.
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Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby w i l l » November 10th, 2012, 7:01 pm

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experiMental wrote:
Travisimo wrote:why not Dyson, I hear they are looking for design engineers at the moment


I 'd love to apply for Dyson, but the competition is incredibly intense. People from Germany and Holland are applying there as well, it's insane! I stand much better chances of getting a design engineering / product design-related job in Alberta or Saskatchewan in Canada.


Hey.... it's not that difficult to get a job at Dyson actually. I come from that town and know them well. However don't expect anything too creative, it's very much sand down bits of plastic and 'oooo Mr Dyson, yes Mr Dyson'. I didn't find and don't find anyone there that creative, but more straight down the line engineers. It's a bit dull and sheepish. The interview would give you an idea... 1 hour of psychological analysis... 'what would you do if person X spilt coffee on your desk?' 'would you A get angry, B act respectfully or C lick the coffee off the desk?'. Of course I went for option C.

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby experiMental » November 18th, 2012, 4:32 pm


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w i l l wrote:Hey.... it's not that difficult to get a job at Dyson actually. I come from that town and know them well. However don't expect anything too creative, it's very much sand down bits of plastic and 'oooo Mr Dyson, yes Mr Dyson'. I didn't find and don't find anyone there that creative, but more straight down the line engineers. It's a bit dull and sheepish. The interview would give you an idea... 1 hour of psychological analysis... 'what would you do if person X spilt coffee on your desk?' 'would you A get angry, B act respectfully or C lick the coffee off the desk?'. Of course I went for option C.


Thanks for the insight!

However, the thing about ID is that you have to make stuff work and make it manufacturable. So for 1 hour of creativity you've gotta spend 7 hours of intense analytical process to find out why your design decisions don't work after the first prototype. However, what you learn in Dyson is immensely valuable, even if you choose to stay there for one year at most.

Will: do you work for a more interesting company than Dyson? If so, what is it? Just asking out of curiosity.

Staying back on topic.... Are there any start-up design/electronic devices/R&D companies in Canada? I'm interested because Canada offers a comparatively good environment for financing start-ups.

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby Mr-914 » November 20th, 2012, 8:27 am

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1. Will: How do you know about Revision Eyewear when you are in Alberta?!?! I wouldn't know of them if I hadn't had an interview 6 years ago there....and I'm in the same town.

2. How much experience do you have? If I had less than 3 years experience, I'd stay where I was at. It seems as though N.A. product design is still waiting for the end of the recession.

The great openings are being bombarded by people with experience and great portfolios. If either is thin, it might be hard (still try, just keep your day job).

3. What kind of company do you want to work for? Corporate or consultant? Big or small? This effects your choices more than country.

4. Canadian design is not nearly as dynamic as in the US. As already said, BlackBerry is shutting down. Bombardier is in lockdown (imho). There are always start ups (Canada is famous for them), however Canadian entrepreneurs and engineers (in general) have almost no knowledge of design. They think it is a luxury that is added on once you've succeeded rather than a core competency that needs to be in at the beginning.

On the consultancy side, you might be more successful in finding something. I don't really know who hires consultants in Canada, so perhaps the work is more exciting.

5. Canada is a wonderful place. The wages are lower than the US, but the living standard is pretty much the same (after taxes and insurance, it's pretty much the same amount on either side).

6. Lastly, if you want to start-up it is a good place. It's a very competitive place to attack the US market. Also, it is normally less competitive internally, so if you have a great idea, it will have the space to grow. There are also alot of grants for small business and young entrepreneurs.
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Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby experiMental » November 24th, 2012, 1:34 pm


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Mr-914 wrote:
2. How much experience do you have? If I had less than 3 years experience, I'd stay where I was at. It seems as though N.A. product design is still waiting for the end of the recession.

The great openings are being bombarded by people with experience and great portfolios. If either is thin, it might be hard (still try, just keep your day job).

6. Lastly, if you want to start-up it is a good place. It's a very competitive place to attack the US market. Also, it is normally less competitive internally, so if you have a great idea, it will have the space to grow. There are also alot of grants for small business and young entrepreneurs.


Mr-914: Thanks for the insight on Canadian design scene. Having read your points, does it mean that it's easier to create your own ID job than get hired for one?

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby mirk » November 25th, 2012, 10:39 am

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Mr-914 wrote:Canadian entrepreneurs and engineers (in general) have almost no knowledge of design. They think it is a luxury that is added on once you've succeeded rather than a core competency that needs to be in at the beginning.


Agreed.
Entrepreneurs are getting better at this though, I was at a startup weekend a few months ago that I only found out about because they were really marketing to the design community and emphasizing design as a key factor in success. However, I worked for another startup that had no clue whatsoever.
As for engineering, we had a guest speaker in recently to talk about product development and entrepreneurship and he barely mentioned design, though he was much more focused on highly technical, non-consumer products.
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Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby Mr-914 » November 28th, 2012, 7:59 am

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Getting a job is always easier. What is more satisfying for you and what matches your experience level?
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Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby engio » November 28th, 2012, 9:04 am


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mirk wrote:
Mr-914 wrote:Canadian entrepreneurs and engineers (in general) have almost no knowledge of design. They think it is a luxury that is added on once you've succeeded rather than a core competency that needs to be in at the beginning.


Agreed.
Entrepreneurs are getting better at this though, I was at a startup weekend a few months ago that I only found out about because they were really marketing to the design community and emphasizing design as a key factor in success. However, I worked for another startup that had no clue whatsoever.
As for engineering, we had a guest speaker in recently to talk about product development and entrepreneurship and he barely mentioned design, though he was much more focused on highly technical, non-consumer products.


Was watching this TED-talk with a ME, http://www.ted.com/talks/amos_winter_th ... chair.html
Towards the end he presents their epiphany that the user is really important!!! GASP! :shock: They went out with their prototype and it sucked because X, and then second prototype sucked because Y. Insight: user input is super important! All I could think was jesus, a designer doing a week of field research and some sketches could've saved you guys about a year of dev time.. :idea:

Sadly they turned to design late when it was time to snazz up the developed-world version.. and made it look like the usual moving-fast-when-standing-still crap.. *opinion*

Disclaimer: not slamming the project, it's super cool, but seems like they would've benefited alot by having more knowledge about design.

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby w i l l » November 29th, 2012, 9:17 pm

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Mr-914 wrote:1. Will: How do you know about Revision Eyewear when you are in Alberta?!?! I wouldn't know of them if I hadn't had an interview 6 years ago there....and I'm in the same town.


Not sure that I understand this question. It's 3am and my brain is dead though. Maybe you meant 'Hoodzy'?

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby w i l l » November 29th, 2012, 9:30 pm

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experiMental wrote:
w i l l wrote:Will: do you work for a more interesting company than Dyson? If so, what is it? Just asking out of curiosity.


Without trying to sound name-droppy (but I'm going to be cos it's quite an amusing situation) I was working in Monaco for the Prince of Sudan, re-designing and re-building his yacht but then as there were only 3 of us long term I kind of became his friend and did a lot of other 'jobs'. Now that's finished so I'm stuck in the South of France with no work... as there's not a lot about at this time of year. Or just back to remote freelance design if I can get it. I suppose it depends what you find interesting though, depends on the person.

Re: Design scene in Canada

Postby DanianYang » December 9th, 2012, 10:55 pm


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I am also looking for job as an industrial designer in toronto
If anyone happens to know something, please let me know
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