Jessie Maisonneuve, lead graphic designer at Origin Studios

Ottawa - Canada

Who are you:

I was the guy who would draw on his desk in my Gatineau Quebec high school, exchanging messages with the next student via dirty desk surfaces, hoping he or she would like my wannabe artwork. Eventually, I discovered Photoshop and migrated towards paper because it was easier to scan than a desk. I explored illustration and, without knowing it, graphic design. I never thought it would really turn into anything, but here I am today; a graphic designer, living off the little desk artwork I love to create.


Your current job:

I am the Lead Graphic Designer at Origin Studios, a museum exhibit design studio in Ottawa. When life gives me downtime, I like to always keep busy. Sometimes I am working for (on) myself, sharpening my skills on fictional projects. I also do freelance work generated mostly by word of mouth.


In which city are you located?

I live and work in Ottawa. The studio I work for is in the heart of the fantastic Byward Market.


A word to define what kind of worker you are:

Restless, I could work forever. I sometimes have trouble putting the mouse down. I’m addicted to this design thing.


What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

Illustrator first, then the rest of the Adobe suite.


What does your office space look like?

At work, space is like a pure white canvas. At home, I shift between the couch to the drawing table.


What kind of music do you listen when you are working?

Anything and everything! I like having the TV on in the background sometimes, but my go-to is to just let Spotify decide for me. I find that the best music or sound to work to is something I don’t know, this way I’m not distracted by signing along or focusing too much on the lyrics.


Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?

My best weapon against disorganization is to never let anything sit. I tackle projects as soon as I can. The more shit you get done the less you have to organize!


What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Everything you hate doing is probably going to help you to be more productive. Learn your software thoroughly, do the time consuming and boring parts of the job (name your layers, use the paragraph styles, name your files correctly, file your emails...) THEN play. You’ll look like a pro when presenting to your client or boss and save yourself from embarrassing damage control: “Oh! maybe that was the wrong version!” “Oh! maybe I saved it there instead!” “Oh I didn’t see they asked for the main title to change!” Oh!...No.


You're better than your colleagues to:

Being optimistic. I always have slightly too much faith in the work I present, even though I know it will get dissected by the client and probably change, or be completely different from the first direction I proposed. There is always that little hopeful\unrealistic voice in me whispering: this time will be one of the times they just freakin’ LOVE it!


What is the best advice anyone has given you?

Write down all of your passwords somewhere safe!


What is your best tip for saving time?

Starting the work. You start working, you get somewhere. There’s no good shortcut.


What is your routine start and end of the day?

Start: Get first coffee to wake basic functions, surf the web like a zombie, get ready, get on the bus, get second coffee to wake up remaining dormant functions, arrive at work.

End: Get on the bus, surf the web like a zombie, make/eat dinner, try to create on paper or the computer for myself. Kiss my girlfriend, dog and cat goodnight, repeat.


Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?

I’m not really techy apart from my phone and my computer… my Keurig?