IDEA gave Kate Marlowe the confidence to pursue art as a career

IDEA gave Kate Marlowe the confidence to pursue art as a career

It's been two years since you graduated from IDEA School of Design. What are some of the more memorable highlights from your time here?

IDEA was full of amazing experiences: design tours, cultural trips to Portland and San Francisco, but honestly, some of my fondest memories came from my teachers and my peers. I learned so much from the community at IDEA. Everyone was incredibly motivated and eager to teach and to learn. It was such an inspiring way to grow as a designer- to feed off each others’ knowledge. I will never forget the late nights working alongside some of my closest friends. There is such diversity of talent and personality in this program.

Tell us about the awards you won

What was it like finishing your degree at the University of Hertfordshire in England? Win any awards? Enjoy life in the UK?

The program at Hertfordshire was a different learning experience than in IDEA. We had much less class time, but access to a world class city for design. London is rich in inspiration. I spent most of my time exploring art galleries and travelling to other countries whenever there was an opportunity. We also attended some mind boggling design talks from Pentagram partners Eddie Opara in Hertfordshire and Paula Scher in London that I will hold onto forever. Some takeaways were: surround yourself with smart people, remain a neophyte, and look for heroes and mentors.

After winning a graphite pencil for my Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts rebrand I won the opportunity to join the D&AD Academy for two weeks! It is a design bootcamp packed with talks from notable creatives, hands-on creative workshops and tours to studios, such as Google. At the end of the two-week journey we pitched a campaign concept in groups of five to the owners of the mobile phone company, GiffGaff.

Stephanie Brennan, another 2016 grad, and I were Eizo Colour Contest Finalists for our collaboration on a Colour Exhibition branding project. We were also chosen to attend and participate in Shaping a Creative Future–an all-expenses paid trip to Milan to provide concepts for the conference hosted by Prada. In collaboration with a team of eight students (four from Yale, three from Milan Politecnico, and me from Hertfordshire) to produce and present a concept for Prada stores at the conference.

Another highlight was interning with the Partners, now Superunion, for a month at the end of my year abroad. I was really impressed by everyone’s dedication to the company that is reflected in the high quality work they produce. The studio is a very collaborative environment.

Where are you working now and what type of projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working at Traction Creative Communications as an Art Director/Graphic Designer. We just finished the Stop Overdose Campaign.

TV spots run as part of the Province of BC's Stop Overdose anti-stigma campaign 2018.

Traction was enlisted to help promote new messaging designed to destigmatize drug users and to raise empathy, awareness and involvement in the larger community. Our strategic and creative platform was designed to humanize drug users by placing their drug use within the larger, richer context of their lives and relationships. We employed television as the primary media channel for the campaign, to reach the broadest possible audience, with support from social media, online video assets, out-of-home, newspaper and a unique partnership program with the Vancouver Canucks.

Looking back, was IDEA the right choice for you and why?

Yes, I believe IDEA was the perfect choice for me. I am so grateful to be in this industry. I have the privilege of using my passion for art to communicate important issues and to help solve problems. IDEA gave me a direction in life, providing me the confidence to pursue art as a career. If I hadn’t stumbled upon this program, I really don’t know where I would be today.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

In the next few years I am hoping to continue to develop my skills working with local design firms. It would be great to find a studio or partnership where I can create art and design that will encourage meaningful conversation in our city. I would also love to travel and possibly work abroad.

If you could tell your pre-IDEA self one thing, what would it be?

Don’t forget to have fun and take breaks! It is the experiences and conversations that you have that brings you the best ideas.

For more on Kate, see: or follow her on Instagram @kate_marlowe.

We’re always on the look out for more grad spotlight stories. Reach out to us if you’d like to share your IDEA story.

IDEA student murals on picnic tables for Vancouver's SKOOKUM Festival

IDEA student murals on picnic tables for Vancouver's SKOOKUM Festival

First Year IDEA Students Explore the 1960s

First Year IDEA Students Explore the 1960s