Love Letter to Fusion

Love Letter to Fusion

Dear Fusion,

I’ve been working up the courage to tell you this for a while now. Maybe you’ve already guessed it — I love you.

I know we haven’t known each other for very long, but the time we spend together is amazing. You’ve taught me so many new things and now that I’ve met you I feel like I can do anything. You challenge me and I like that because when I’m around you I want to be the best version of myself.

Most importantly, we have fun together. We’ve had adventures and made memories that I know will last me a lifetime.

I hope I’m not coming on too strong, but when I wake up in the morning, it’s you I think about and I can’t wait until we’re together again. I know we won’t be seeing as much of each other soon, and that makes me a little sad … but I remind myself that you’re not going to be out of my life completely. I hope it’s OK if I come visit for lunches, a game of ping-pong, or just to see what’s new.

I guess in the end what I really wanted to say was thanks for everything, now that I’ve met you, the future looks bright.

Yours truly,
Dave Jr.

Hi Fusion, I’m Margaret.

Hi Fusion, I’m Margaret.

This post is brought to you by Creative Communications graduate Margaret Howison, whom we've had the pleasure of hosting as an intern here for the past three weeks. Margaret fit in so well at Fusion that it's going to be hard to see her go! Best of luck, Margaret – I hope we see you at Fusion again someday.


It’s going to sound a bit like a movie cliché, but my interest in advertising started one day in class when an instructor made some motivational comment, something to the effect of “advertising can be used for the good or for the bad,” read: with great power comes great responsibility. Maybe that seems obvious, but having come into my very first (mandatory) ad class with a pretty narrow, and even skeptical understanding of the trade, I found the idea revolutionary.

A few terrible radio spots and print ads, a couple of internal struggles, and a handful of breakthroughs later, I found myself graduating from Creative Communications with a major in advertising — and later walking into an ad agency (Fusion) for the first time for a three-week internship.

When I was asked to write about my experiences at Fusion for the company’s blog, I couldn’t help but take the opportunity to hash out some of my preconceived notions about ad agencies.

Revelation 1: Not everyone who works in ad agencies likes Mad Men. Okay, most of them do, but I counted two at Fusion that don’t. Sometimes when I tell people I’m in advertising, they say “just like Mad Men,” and I say “yep,” without really knowing what they are talking about. I’m almost afraid that if I say I haven’t gotten into it yet, they’ll think I’m not a true ad girl. I’m not saying I’ll never watch it — I’m just happy to know it’s not a pre-requisite.

Revelation 2: Some agencies are so much about that workplace culture. Yes to an ongoing intra-office Wii bowling competition. Yes to monthly potlucks and beer-at-four Fridays. Yes to a game of darts to stimulate creativity. Yes to dogs — so many little dogs — walking around the office.

Revelation 3: Ad agencies are not scary places. Dispelling my fears that I’d be entering a workplace with a whirlwind of a pace, when I walked into Fusion, I felt an almost immediate urge to walk slower and breathe deeper.

It’s a place where white walls are canvasses for big ideas, daily schedules, and bowling scores. Little office cubes are spread over a sprawling rectangular interior like mouse houses. Chattering never travels quite so far as the sounds of footsteps clicking across the wooden floors. It’s the kind of place where the bathroom smells better than bathrooms should. And the lounge — fit with a pool table, dartboard, and huge flat screen TV — is enough to make my inner teenager ecstatic.

Revelation 4: Some agencies let their intern in on a lot. Three weeks isn’t a long time to get into a new work rhythm. There are learning curves and new procedures, and people who are really fast at what they do. While I could have been doing coffee and Bronut runs, or shelf dusting or paper clip counting or anything else that didn’t require the slow down and walk-through from someone else — I wasn’t. Since I’ve been here I have attended client conferences, crisis management meetings, photo shoots, and briefings; I’ve written case studies, samples, headlines, tweets, and blogs; I’ve participated in brainstorms, worked on social media strategies, and walked around the office deciding what to Instagram (staff pickle jar?). I was even given an opportunity to project manage a logo design and was almost elated to see the three beautiful designs that were introduced at the logo presentation.

It’s been a rewarding experience and a great introduction into a thoughtful, creative industry. If I were to give my work placement experience a brand personality, I would call it fun, enlightening, and refreshing.

The B Word

The first time I saw this commercial, I definitely laughed out loud. And while it’s pretty cute and pretty funny, it is also resonating pretty perfectly with my personal goal for 2015: to figure out how to slow down, live in the moment, and back away from this mindset that being constantly, unendingly super busy is the only way to be a successful, ambitious, competent person.

Our culture in general seems to really value busyness. We complain about it, but it’s expected and embraced at the same time. Most of us feel we don’t have any choice but to be busy. After all, there’s just so much going on and so much to do, and then there’s FOMO to worry about… so you keep up or get left behind.

The advertising agency world is a deadline-driven, always-say-yes kind of place. It can feel very expected and encouraged to let work take over your life - like you get some weird kind of industry-cred for being bleary-eyed and hunch-backed from way too many hours at your computer. Aside from work, we all have families, friends, pets, events, obligations, errands, and life in general that all have to be balanced, and it’s easy to just accept that full speed 24/7 is literally just the only option. But is it?

Probably not. At least I’m starting to think it’s not. So this year, when the calendar flipped over and everyone started talking about New Year’s Resolutions, I started thinking about being busy. I decided that maybe 2015 was the year that I started to give myself a break. I work hard, and that’s cool, but somewhere in between deadlines and goals and crossing things off lists, I want to make sure I don’t miss out on just enjoying life.

So while saying “no” is still not my biggest strength, over the past couple of months I’ve been slowly taking steps toward slowing things down, letting go of some responsibilities and commitments, and enjoying some downtime (and it only counts as downtime if you aren’t feeling guilty the whole time). Mostly, I’m just looking to find ways to get better at enjoying and living in the moment, instead of getting distracted by what’s next and what needs to be done. Maybe you’re really good at that – if so, feel free to pass along some tips. And let’s all remember to use our holiday days, shall we?

Hello from Quinn

This post is brought to you by Graphic Design student Quinn Carberry, who we've had the pleasure of hosting here at Fusion over the past two weeks. Best of luck in the rest of your studies, Quinn!


Doing my work placement for the Red River College graphic design program at Fusion has been awesome! I was nervous at first but everyone here is super genuine and nice. I’m enjoying seeing the things I have learned in my classes put into practice and experiencing the day to day processes of an advertising agency. Kara, the Creative Director, has been a big help, has been super patient with me and has taught me so much I can take back to school with me in the new year. All in all, it’s been a great experience that I’m not likely to forget!

A nice little bonus to doing my work placement in the exchange is that I got to go to Tiny Feast and pick up the Isometric Risograph 2015 calendar that I have been eyeing up for a while. It’s a beautiful calendar by J. P. King that uses some great printing techniques (like halftones and overprinting) that I learned about in one of my classes.

It’s my last day of work placement and The Exchange Shop Hop is happening today and tomorrow, so I may find myself taking away more than just design knowledge and practice from this experience.



A Retrospective, A Mid-Life Crisis, or Just a Look Back

A couple months ago, I marked the 9th anniversary of my time at Fusion. When this was mentioned around the office, Morris said to me "You mean I've known you for a third of your life?" and as it turns out – he was right.

Nine years ago, at the ripe age of 21, I graduated from college and a week later I took up my first "real job" at Fusion. At the time, I felt a lot like a clueless kid trying to pretend I wasn't a clueless kid. But I pulled up my chair, faked confidence, absorbed everything I could from the smarter people around me, and pretended to know things I didn't know while furiously figuring them out before anyone knew I was bluffing. I guess it worked, because I never got fired.

Now, when Claudine suggested yesterday that I put together a "favourite work from the past nine years at Fusion" post, I felt a little like Justin Bieber doing a memoir at the wise age of 20 (is he even 20?). But hey - if The Biebs can do it, so can I. So, behold some of my favourites from the time between "then" and "now". I'm happy to say I have learned a few things along the way, and am faking it a lot less often now.


This fundraising brochure for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was one of the first things I got to work on at Fusion. It was designed by Terry and I do not in any way want to take credit for its beauty, but as a junior designer, I was overjoyed to just get to take his started vision and run with it. And what a run it was, because look - blind emboss! Not one, but two, varnishes! Special inserts and fold out panels! Welcome to designer heaven – it never happens, so when it does you must relish in the glory of it.


This annual report for Destination Winnipeg was the first big thing that I got to do on my own, from concept to completion. (I even got to sneak in an emboss AND a varnish again.) I was pretty excited about and happy with the report myself and the fact that this won a national award was pretty cool for me, but the thing that really blew my mind and filled me with pride was Leighton telling me that Terry had said that he was "impressed" with it. I'll never forget hearing that.


This little booklet was a self-promo mailer for Fusion and is definitely one of my favourite projects to work on. We were under a time-crunch to get this produced and I remember coming in one morning and sitting down in the boardroom with the team, and telling them "So, I was brainstorming for this last night and it was late and I was tired so maybe I'm crazy but, like, what about we do a flip book that reads two different stories from each side, and one side is from our perspecive and the other side is from the client's perspective, and they meet up in the middle to show how they're meant to be together and also – it's a circus theme. Who's with me?" And to their credit, not one person in that room told me I was insane, and instead we ran with this fairly off-kilter idea and turned it into the cutest little book that I had a blast designing. Working overtime has never been so fun.


Lastly, I could never pick just one St. Vital Centre campaign or piece as THE favourite, but here are three of my personal faves from the archives. Much of my time over the last few years has been spent on this one client's work - and what a client it is! They are always so open to any new or crazy idea we dream up, and the team I've worked with for the St. Vital Centre account over the years has made me love every minute. Ok, so some of those minutes were pretty crazy and maybe hard to love, but when you're working with a great group of friends, it's easy to look past that.

In closing: I realize it is only Thursday, but let's pretend it's Friday, raise a glass, and say "Cheers!" Cheers to the past and what has been, and also to the future, and the exciting times ahead.

Another St. Vital Centre campaign leaves the nest

Another St. Vital Centre campaign leaves the nest

It's always exciting when a new campaign launches, but this year's fall campaign for St. Vital Centre was one I could hardly wait to share. Luckily, my wait is over, as the Your Life. Your Style campaign has officially taken off! This season, we've turned the spotlight on our shoppers and are letting eight of them show the city why St. Vital Centre is the place to find your style.

We prefaced the official campaign with a pre-campaign, focused on our search for shoppers with a uniquely defined sense of style and a personality destined for local fame. The result was a slew of fantastic applicants which we narrowed down and interviewed, eventually choosing eight stylish and unique personalities to feature.

We brought in Alana of F2 Styling + Events, who hit the ball out of the park with styling that showcased each person's unique fashion sense perfectly. Photoshoot day was a blast and our winners each got to feel like a star as they were primped and styled and sent out to work it for the camera. All of the energy and enthusiasm from each person made photoshoot day a blast, and we carried each personality through into the doodles surrounding each person in their respective campaign pieces.

The resulting creative is up now around the city, online and in the Centre. To further the fun, the campaign also features a contest component which involves a custom Facebook Connect app - built by our good friends at Visual Lizard - that walks users through a simple and fun game to determine your style type, with each style being linked back to one of our finalists. Check out the contest at to play and be entered to win a $1,000 Giftcard!

As usual, we have our wonderful client to thank for allowing us to continually push each campaign to be better than the last. It's a team effort to be sure and one we can't get enough of! And speaking of... we're now on to Christmas. Stay tuned. ;)