Jessica Peng interviews her practicum host and IDEA alumna Diana Castañeda, senior designer at TRIUMF
Week 6: Evenfall
by Jessica Peng, April 9, 2019
noun. the beginning of evening; twilight; dusk.
This week started with a tightly planned schedule, so I was mostly working away on deliverables for TRIUMF House. Like I promised last week, this blog post features my practicum host – Diana Castañeda.
Diana (shown above) is the senior designer at TRIUMF. Diana graduated from IDEA in 2014. She was an artist and art history instructor for graphic design students in Colombia. After she left Montreal for Vancouver, she decided to take on design as well.
How long have you been working in this industry?
“I was an artist before coming to Canada, ten years ago. Back in Colombia I taught art history to graphic design students. After graduating from IDEA – five years ago, I co-founded a startup, and ran my solo freelance practice. Before starting at TRIUMF, I was part of Vancouver Film School’s marketing team. Last year, I was promoted to senior designer at TRIUMF–where I am half way through my third year. Here I also get to mentor junior designers, which I really enjoy!”
What attracted you to the industry in the first place?
“From my days teaching graphic design students, I grew fond of the utilitarian side of design. The meaningful contributions to society, and problem solving mindset of designers brought me to the discipline once and forever. “
What kind of training did you do for it?
“After a Bachelor in Fine Arts, and a couple of graduate degrees – in art history and education, I became a graphic designer at the IDEA program. I have also taken UX strategy and web development courses after graduating from IDEA. All that school background gives perspective, but the skill gets refined only with experience.”
Did you ever consider a different career?
“I considered industrial design a couple of decades ago, I always had a thing for the tactile quality of objects, and for creating usable stuff. As an art student, I used to work with heavy duty, and very industrial materials (while listening to grunge music). I still would like to become an actress (a comedian), when I retire. I think that my theatrical persona, is my way to overcompensate for my short height and lack of beard (because I honestly feel I was Hagrid from Harry Potter in my past life). Jessica thinks I have very expressive eyes (her thoughts about my Hagrid-looking hair stay reserved).
What do you love most about working here?
“First, my values align with TRIUMF’s. I find it truly rewarding working towards a mission, in which one feels giving back to society while designing for science communications. Second. I am also incredibly lucky to work with a wonderful team of lovely and smart communications professionals, who I proudly call friends.”
What advice do you have for graduates wanting to break into the industry?
“I would like to pass on what Sean Carter had told me once (at a portfolio review). ‘Be confident and trust your grit, don’t let anybody put you down.'”
For more on Jessica, see pengjessica.com.
For more on Diana, see dianacastaneda.com.
For more on TRIUMF, Canada's particle accelerator centre, see TRIUMF.ca.