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Flash Goddess
May, 2007
Sylvie Bisonnette

Sylvie Bisonnette

Sylvie Bisonnette

I graduated from La Cite collégiale in 2004 with a diploma in graphic design. For the past two and a half years I've been working as a graphic designer for Fuel Industries, an Ottawa based agency who is a leading developer of web-based advergames and immersive web. My position at Fuel has given me the opportunity to work with clients such as Nokia, Warner Brothers, Bandai, Canada Post, Enfamil etc. I've helped realize and execute projects that have redefined user experiences and pushed the boundaries of web design. This April I will continue my career venture with Fenix Solutions, a strategic digital marketing and communications agency specialising in web and multimedia design & development. I will be working closely with owners Jennifer MacKinnon and Leanne Labelle, two amazing females and leaders in new media and online technology.

Congratulations on being a finalist for the 2007 Flash Goddess Award! Did you prepare any projects specifically for the competition?  

I've been in the industry for 3 years and this past fall I decided that it was time to put together my portfolio site; it's a compilation of my favorite work that I am most proud of. I thought the Flash Goddess competition was a good opportunity for me to share my efforts and accomplishments.  

Do you have any advice for women who might enter the competition in the future?  

I would suggest that they start sorting through their work, and only consider featuring the projects they are most satisfied with. Building a personal site wasn't easy for me, as I tend to be my own worst critic, but it was important for me to be pleased with my site. My goal was to build a piece that would showcase my work, winning a Flash Goddess Award was the icing on the cake!  

How did you get the great job at Fuel Industries? Do you have any advice for other women who seek jobs with high-profile design companies?  

I met Fuel Industries while doing a contract with them, shortly after they offered me a full time position with their team. I spent two and a half years with Fuel as a graphic designer; I was challenged on a daily basis and I developed proficient design skills.   I now work for Fenix Solutions, a strategic digital marketing and communications company specializing in web and multimedia design. I was given the opportunity to work closely with owners Leanne Labelle and Jennifer MacKinnon, two very successful and knowledgeable women from whom I hope to learn from.   My advice to female graphic designer seeking job opportunities: your portfolio is key in this industry; no matter your level of education you need to have the talent, the drive and the experience.  

What is your design education or are you self-taught? Do you feel a design degree is essential for success in this industry?  

I graduated from the 3 year Graphic Design program at La Cité collégiale in Ottawa. I don't think that a design degree is essential, but it definitely helps acquire basic knowledge and experience, however an individual's involvement in the industry and hands on experience is much more valuable.

As a Flasher that works for a large and successful design company, do you feel you get enough hands-on opportunity to develop the projects you are assigned?

I definitely had the opportunity to do hands on work while working at Fuel. My tasks mainly involved designing web interfaces. If a project was built in Flash I would export and prep all assets and create the main animations, transitions, mouse over states etc.

Would you consider yourself more of a Flash designer or developer?

I'm a Flash designer :) I love and appreciate design in many mediums, whether it's animated in Flash, worn as a piece of clothing, painted, sculpted… I think that designers who take the time to experiment with different mediums are bigger creative thinkers and surmount the rest.

How involved with coding Actionscript are you? How do you manage to study and continue to improve at coding?  

My first job out of school involved more coding, I created online learning tools in flash for RCMP officers in training. However, in the last few years I've been more involved in conceiving the visual ideas, and relied on a Flash coder.

Please tell us about some of your favorite Flash sites.

This site is kick ass! It's simple, but it's addictive and fun.   www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal
This site has beautiful simple games with a feminine touch.  
I designed the interface for this site, but it's probably the coolest project I worked on while I was with Fuel. The flash team did an amazing job working with Karbon Arc studios.

Do you find the women in your workplace have a different approach to design than the men?  

I don't believe that men and women approach design differently. I don't think gender is a factor, I believe a genuinely talented designer, male or female, will design accordingly to their target market and is able to change their design style and adapt to various projects.    

You have some very impressive big-name projects in your portfolio. Which project would you say was your favorite to work on and why?  

It's really tough for me to choose one specific project because they were all amazing opportunities for me. However, the one that stands out most would have to be Happy Feet. It's great to receive positive feedback from a prestigious company like Warner Brothers, it's very encouraging :)

If you could work on your most “perfect project” what would it be, who would it be with and why?  

The perfect project would be to conceptualize a site that is over the top, for either a famous fashion designer or a famous clothing brand, as I am very inspired by the fashion industry.

Do you have any advice for women Flashers that want to focus on writing Actionscript code but aren't sure how to go about it?  

lynda.com is a great site for training and tutorials. Finding online forums and speaking with other actionscript coders can help you get started. And of course, kudos to Flash Goddess, they're an amazing resource for young inspiring female designers and developers.

Thank you Sylvie!

Interviewed by Camille Pietralunga

Camille Pietralunga (www.camillepietralunga.com) has over eight years experience as an Interactive Designer and writer. Camille is fascinated with Flash and its amazing capabilities. She is excited and honored to be able to speak with so many talented female Flash designers and developers.

To contact Camille, email Camille@camillepietralunga.com.