Image of Melissa Chinksi, a visual communications grad sitting at her computer

Melissa Chinski

Current job: Owner / graphic designer at Flag Five Inc.

Company profile:

Flag 5 is a design studio that focuses on branding, layout and promotions. They use quality design to help clients communicate their message.  

Summary of MHC education:

Applied degree in visual communications

Q: Do you have a story from your childhood that inspired you to get into graphic design?

I think my first taste of graphic design was when I tried to recreate library cards with my typewriter to catalogue my books. Years later I became the editor of our high school year book committee and loved the process of creating a book from layout and design to completion.

Q: Can you explain what a "day in the life" looks like for you in your occupation?

During a typical workday you can find me sketching concepts in a notebook, working at my desk on client projects, or in our boardroom meeting to discuss current or potential projects.

Each day is prescheduled using time blocking to ensure everything is on task, as deadlines are a key component to the week.

Q: Why did you choose this career path?

I loved the idea of working on a computer to create something. It could be a simple business card for someone to promote their company or an entire brand refresh for a non-profit. I also enjoy getting to meet so many great business owners and organizations in our community. I have met a lot of great people, who I've been fortunate to work with for a long time.

Q: How did you come to be a student at MHC?

My high school art class had a promotional item given to them of a redesigned cereal box that was promoting Medicine Hat College. It then dawned on me that someone had to design the boxes that we stared at every morning. It was a huge "ah ha" moment. Then one summer, my sister who worked in the print department at the University of Regina let me stay with her for a few weeks to job shadow one of the designers. It was such a great test to see if it interested me. It did and I’ve never looked back.

Q: Would you recommend the visual communications program?  

Absolutely. I believe the visual communications program is a huge asset as it's so diverse. You learn about the fundamentals of art and design, but then you can dive deeper into the areas that interest you. It’s a hands-on course that makes learning so much fun. I don’t think I had one day that I didn’t have a good time. Some days were hard and long hours, but always fun.

Q: What do you feel makes the visual communications program special?

Work terms

I think MHC having work terms as part of your education gives you real-world experience that is truly invaluable. It helps you find your niche and where you want your career to go. It also gets your foot in the door of different employment opportunities - you feel supported getting there by your instructors and all staff.

Smaller class sizes

Small classes allow for lots of one-on-one feedback and learning from instructors. Your class, as an entirety, feels like a team. Instructors are eager to help and your classmates are there for support and to make whatever you're working on that much better.

Exposure to different forms of art and design

You are provided the flexibility to decide which route you want to go, whether it be art or design, the decision is yours and there are great classes to allow you to focus on what you want to get out of the program.

 Q: How did your time at MHC impact you?

Because of MHC I was able to create the life and career I wanted. Being an entrepreneur, I love that I get to be with my family when I want, and I get to work when I choose to. I was able to work in the print industry, and the corporate business world, to give me great experience that assists me with my business each and every day. Without my education and work experience through MHC I don’t think my business would be as strong as it is.

Q: Who has been your greatest influence or inspiration?

I would say I was inspired greatly by my design teacher, Giles Woodward. His knowledge in the design industry fascinated me and I knew I wanted my career to be in graphic design. I can say I was never so nervous until handing in an assignment. I think I still have a WWGD (What Would Giles Do) thought going through my mind when I work on something. But seriously he gave us so many great resources, lectures and beneficial critiques that I will forever be grateful.

Q: What advice would you give a student who is looking to pursue the same type of career path?

Follow your dreams and know you can mold your career into whatever you want it to be. Design has many avenues and is such a fun career to be in. The program is so great at helping you find your dream job and it’s their mission to help you achieve it.


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