Mood boards cover Stephanie Janke’s desk and magazine spreads fill her wall. As the senior design manager at Weddingstar Inc., she brings together the latest trends to inspire brides around the world.
The graduate of MHC’s visual communications program started with the Medicine Hat-based company 12 years ago as one of two people in web development, but has since grown the design department and now oversees a team of 14.
Her labour of love, weddingstar magazine, highlights the company’s products, industry trends, and DIY style ideas from their global ambassadors. Flipping through the glossy pages of the latest issue, Janke talks with enthusiasm about her team’s recent accomplishments but is already thinking ahead to the colours, typography, and patterns that will influence their work in the coming year.
“This is the fun part,” says Janke about the reset. “When the magazine comes out that is our Christmas present. We work for a whole year to build the products that go in there and it is rewarding when we see it all put together. Then we start over.”
Keeping up with technology, finding new sources of inspiration and managing her team are daily challenges for Janke. Weddingstar also handles the creative marketing for The Knot Shop, a major player in the industry, and fulfills all of the orders for theknotshop.com. With so much coming at her, there is never a dull moment.
“It is a little mind blowing when you start thinking about all of that. Every day is new. It is never boring. The main things are to make sure your team has the tools and knowledge they need to get the work done.”
When Janke needs to build her team, she looks to MHC. With first-hand knowledge of the visual communications program and the skills its graduates bring to the table, she is proud to say that, like her, most of Weddingstar’s designers got their start at the college.
She remembers the passion her instructors had for their respective mediums and the emphasis they placed on brainstorming and presenting ideas. Although critiques could be crushing at times, she knows it was their way of pushing students further. Suggestions were real life and the experience gained was invaluable.
Passion is now one of the key things she looks for when hiring designers. Listening to graduates talk about their work and their sources of inspiration gives Janke a good idea if they have what it takes to build a successful career at Weddingstar.
“They are like our design army,” says Janke of the team. “Everybody has to be in place to make it happen and everyone’s contribution brings it all together. All of those little details that the team puts into the products, website and magazine make a difference.”
So with a wall of pages in front of her and a strong design team behind her, Janke prepares to solve the annual puzzle that is weddingstar magazine.
“There is a bit of a formula to make things work, but when it comes together it shows the designer’s touch.”
Interested in building a design career? Explore your creative side with MHC's visual communication program.