Corine Bond is a communication designer with experience in design research, branding, packaging and illustration. Graduating from Emily Carr University in 2016, Corine Worked at VFSW, PNI Digital Media owned by Staples in Vancouver and Juice Worldwide in Toronto. Some of her clients include East Bay Resort, Sabonwi /Haiti, Mwasi Collectif /Paris, Nigra Iuventa /Montreal and more.
My father was a Graphic Designer. As a child I didn’t necessarily understand what he did or what it was called, but I knew I liked it. I remember vaguely staring at him while he worked and asking questions as he designed a logo. I liked the fact that his apartment had a wall covered in collage; he was the only adult I knew then that had a place like his.
After that, it was years until I was exposed to it again, though I was always interested in arts. I used to draw and make collages, paintings, and pieces with found objects.
The first office I worked in was absolutely amazing. There were different nationalities and lots of different languages. We had game nights, Fancy Fridays (as our “regular” dress was casual), popcorn on Fridays, etc.
Everything was great except for the actual job I had to do. It was pre-production design work: The illustrators would create the work, and we’d resize it to fit different templates. It was fine, but it wasn’t creative and didn’t require much design knowledge or a degree.
A type design I worked on this year—In the eyes of anyone outside of Haitian culture, it might not look like much, but to me it means the world.
I came back to live in Haïti, my home country, a year and a half ago. I had left when I was nine years old, and even though I had family there and visited every other year, I had lost touch with many cultural aspects.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been exposed to so many parts of my culture that I had never experienced before (or hadn’t experienced in a long time). This piece represents just that: the beginning of my reconnection to my culture.
The type design is inspired by symbols that represent spirits in Haitian Vodou—symbols that cannot be found in any other Vodou around the world. Vodou is something that was stripped away from our culture by the church. It is taboo for many, mystified and vilified. Taking these symbols and bringing them into the design world was something I did for myself to start breaking this down and to start learning about this part of our culture, and it turned out to be appreciated by many.
Candy Chang. She started the “Before I Die” wall project. She started it because of her personal experience in the city she was living in, where she was witnessing the city becoming run-down and wondering how her community felt about it.
She wasn’t a designer, and she didn’t expect it to become the huge global movement it became or to have the impact it had on people around the world.
She has gone on to create more projects along the lines of ‘design for social change,’ but her public art interventions are what get people thinking. It shows how personal life experiences can have much more influence than your studies have in your life and in your career. I want to make such differences in my community as well.
Success for me will be when:
• I will be approached by people who value my work from the get-go,
• Money won’t be an issue, and
• I have the time to make work for social change with extensive in-depth design research incorporated in the process.
In the meantime, I’m working to develop projects like this for myself or to work in businesses that already do this so I can showcase my skills.
I was once told by female coworkers from a different team that they believed I was hired because I was a woman and because my supervisor probably believed it would allow him to have more power or control over me (as the previous designer had experienced this).
At that point I then understood past unexplained behaviours, yet there was nothing I could do about it other than resign.
Looking back into my educational experience at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, I see many ways in which my experience could have been improved.
Vancouver, in the first place, does not have a prominent Black and/or Caribbean community, so it is not surprising that the University itself wasn’t any different. I was one of the few Black people on site.
In my first year, our Intro to Design professor, Mimi Gellman, definitely pushed us to explore our own experiences in our past and personal life… I’ll always be grateful to her for that.
After that first year, no one really pushed us to do that as much; it was always more at a superficial level. I feel like between second and third year, I had lost that perspective, and we weren’t relating our projects as deeply with personal struggles or cultures.
In my last year, for my graduation project, I had one teacher in particular who did not seem to understand (nor try to understand) our individual experiences, cultures, or lifestyles. My project was about newcomers to Vancouver and how to bridge cultural gaps, and that instructor was a white, extremely-religious Canadian man who seemed to simply dismiss the perspective of projects relating to immigrants, LGBTQ, and mental health.
Back then I didn’t understand how these things could have affected my studies, learning process, or even professional life; I knew racism, but not systemic racism.
I fear not being as good in Design Research and not knowing how to sell my skills in that field. I know applying these skills to projects that I build myself is simpler; however, getting companies that are not familiar with Design Research to hire me for these skills is completely different.
I would have found a way to learn a lot more outside the Eurocentric lens and looked instead at Black, Caribbean, African, and Haitian communities. I believe my skills and design style would have developed in a completely different manner.
My plans are to bring more design knowledge and design thinking to my community in Haïti to help the country develop new ways of tackling old problems. To stop depending on exterior forces (and to stop being manipulated by them as well). And to build strong foundations for community-based projects in order for the communities to rely less on politics.