ALUMNI SUCCESS: How Communication Designer Kelsie Lee conquers the digital design industry

By VFS, on May 15, 2024

There's never one true path to career success – especially in the creative industries. Every successful artist has their own Lord of the Rings-level journey (a.k.a. hard-fought!) of how they found their way to a fulfilling career.

Kelsie Lee is one of those artists. A Communication Designer and Instructor for Vancouver Film School's Digital Design program, Kelsie lives and breathes visual & motion design; it truly is her creative outlet and her passion. With over 12 years of experience, Kelsie now specializes in crafting compelling sports and entertainment experience branding.

Kelsie holds a bachelor's degree in media arts, as well as diplomas in fine arts from University of the Fraser Valley and a diploma from Vancouver Film School's Digital Design program. After putting the days of student life behind her, the hard work she's put into her career has paid off, allowing her to build up her portfolio working for the Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Pacific FC.

Kelsie's had the pleasure of creating content for some major household names in BC sports.

Read on to discover, in her own words, Kelsie's journey from VFS student to Instructor, getting the call from the Vancouver Whitecaps, and what lies ahead for the digital design industry:

How was your experience attending VFS?

Attending VFS was the best decision I could have made. When I had originally applied to the Digital Design program, I really had no idea what I was going to do with my professional life. I had very little digital literacy at that point; I had come from a fine art background. Attending VFS was similar to being thrown into the fire. You just get right down to work and quickly. The program not only set me up for industry success but also introduced me to a career and opportunities I would fall in love with.

It must have been a full-circle moment to go from VFS student to Instructor! How has your educational & career experience impacted your methodology as an instructor?

When Calina [the Head of Department] first approached me to teach at VFS, it was an easy ‘yes.' This school had given me so much, so I naturally wanted to give back. It was really surreal to walk into that campus as an Instructor. Working in the design industry for as long as I have, I have had to wear many hats, learn difficult lessons, and have had the opportunity to work with and for incredible designers. These experiences have shaped the way I approach teaching. I want my students to be excited about learning design and how design can impact and shape their futures. My teaching style is an empathic approach; I encourage my students to just jump in and try new things. Find out what doesn't work, what does, and why.

Can you tell us a bit about your career highlights since graduating from VFS? Working for the White Caps must have been a thrill!

When I first graduated, I had to work a few interesting jobs as I found my footing in my career. I worked for a design firm for about five years, and I remember getting the phone call to come work for the Whitecaps FC; I was absolutely beside myself. That was the best day ever. I got to work with their incredible internal marketing department to help build the brand and keep it consistent across everything, from their social media to their stadium, commercials, and jerseys. It was a fantastic experience. I stayed with the WFC for four and a half years before being asked to move on to the Vancouver Canucks, which was also an incredible experience.

"Attending VFS was the best decision I could have made" says Kelsie, reflecting on her time as a VFS student.

Your portfolio features quite a diverse collection of work. How do you get inspired to create?

Honestly, my talented friends inspire me – all of them. I'm surrounded by really wonderful, unique people who come from all walks of life, and all bring a very different perspective to the table. I like to bounce ideas off them and even collaborate with them. Everyone sees and approaches a creative decision a little bit differently.

As someone who has established themself within the design community, how do you view the current state of the digital design industry? Where is the industry headed? What can current/future designers expect?

I think it's really exciting, there are so many new programs and updates going around, including AI. The industry is so fast-paced, and there are more and more really talented designers getting out into the field; it's awesome. My advice to current and future designers would just be to never stop learning, being curious and, most importantly, collaborating with one another. Look at our community of designers as our champions and always work with and off one another.


We’re so fortunate to have Kelsie as an Instructor at VFS and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next!


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