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Office tale of Tania Baker, graphic designer at Bulletin d’Aylmer

Office tale of Tania Baker, graphic designer at Bulletin d’Aylmer

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :
Tania Baker

Your current job :
Graphic Designer for a bilingual newspaper called the Bulletin d’Aylmer (, located in Aylmer (Gatineau), Québec. We also publish an english newspaper, the West Québec Post, along with a yearly lifestyle magazine, Cottage Living, and a local Aylmer Business Directory. I also do freelance work from my home office.

In which city are you located?
Gatineau, Québec, Canada

A word to define what kind of worker you are :

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
I use an iMac at home and in the office. On the go, I always have my Samsung Galaxy S3 cell phone to keep me connected. I also use my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. As for software, I use the Adobe creative suite; InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat. For our newspaper layouts we use Quark9. When doing some contracts from home (like weddong invitations, etc) my Cricut is sometimes an essential tool for me, along with my inkjet and laser printers.

What does your office space look like?
At the office, it’s a bit cramped, but we make it work! In our production room, we share a small office space for 4 desks. On the daily, you will find the Production Manager and myself working away. We have a part time designer that will join us during the very busy seasons, and another station is used primarily for proofing of the papers before sending to print.
At home, it is also a bit cramped… but I make it work!
I share my home office space with our guest room/storage. Having a baby makes for lots of boxes of clothing to store somewhere.
The walls are painted a soft blue with bold orange lines and circles, with posters of photographs I have taken, and signs with encouraging texts. For example, the very first line in the one I am facing as I write this says “FIND A PASSION AND PURSUE IT”.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
Depends the day, depends on how I’m feeling… depends the kind of motivation I need to push through my day.
I listen to everything from soft ambient/meditation music, to rock, the oldies, top 40, and even some hit country music. And when Christmas is around the corner, you can bet your socks I’ve got Christmas music playing nice and loud!

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
We have to balance between designing our paid advertisements, promotions we are working on, newspaper layouts, and basically anything else thrown at us… usually with deadlines of yesterday. We have deadlines that must be met and approvals we need to get before the paper or project is sent to the press, and last minute material to work with and last minute contracts are something we face on a very regular basis, so each day can have a bit of a different work flow. Lists are nice, but change so much that I just go with the flow and push through everything.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
In the production department we face different challenges regularly. We rely on different departments, and many different clients to produce material for their advertising for us to be able to create the advertisements, promotions, and layouts. So, time frames around when we receive materials and our deadlines has a huge play on our productivity. Good time management is an absolute must!

You’re better than your colleagues at:
Oh, gees, I don’t know. We all have our different strengths. But, I do like to pride myself in being able to think outside the box and produce material and ads that aren’t exactly what the client thought they wanted, but they usually love!

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
Learn what and who you are working with! If you are unfamiliar with your software, you’re going to have a hard time. The same goes if you have little to no clue about your client, you are simply going to have a hard time! Do some research, ask questions, take some tutorials… don’t ever think you already know everything there is to know.

What is your best tip for saving time ?
I think following the advice above has helped me save alot of time on many projects.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?
In the morning, I try to wake up before my little 18 month old prince so I can get a shower in, brush my teeth and get dressed before I hear him wake. Then I get him up and get him ready for his day. I make him a breakfast. While he eats I turn on the radio, we listen to the morning news and music. We sing along and dance while I do my makeup and hair. When he is finished his breakfast we brush his teeth, then get ready to head out the door for daycare and work.
After dropping him off, I usually stop to pick up a coffee. I CANNOT begin to function properly until I’ve had my coffee.
I head to work and plow through contracts and special projects all day.
At the end of my work day, I am usually back and forth with my hubby to figure out who will make it back to the daycare in time to pick up the little guy.
I wish I could say its all family time once we have made it through the traffic home, but sometimes I have work to do at home for the paper, or side contracts to complete.
The biggest challenge I have found since having my son is finding a healthy balance between work and home. We gotta pay the bills, deadlines need to be met, and my two men need me. Its still a work in progress, and as changes come, we just have to go with the flow and take it one day at a time.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
My TomTom GPS, my backup drive, and my electric pencil sharpener, haha!

Top photo, credit: Nadine’s Photography