Brian Chard: a West Kootenay digital media veteran
With 15 years in the digital design game, Brian Chard is a veteran in the world of Kootenay designers. Inspired by Expo 86, Chard has flourished through the emergence of a new sector. Flowing and flourishing with the ups, downs and fast paced changes, 25 years after his first inspiration, he counts himself among the lucky to live the life in Nelson, making a living off his talent and passion.
Growing up in Vancouver, the seed for Brian’s multimedia future was planted in the form of a laser light show.
“Expo 86 in Vancouver possibly could have started my fascination with multimedia. As a youngster, I had never seen anything as intense as a laser light show. Expo 86 rocked my world! I was inspired. As I grew older in the late 80's, I often played around on my family's computer either creating graphics & animation or experimenting with primitive internet communication technologies.”
Following an arts degree in philosophy from UBC and a brief stint at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, the new world-wide-web would become the first canvass for his design work. During those first years of the web in the early 90’s, Brian Chard Design was formed. Working freelance, work came early with projects for Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Race Face Components, VeloNews Cycling Magazine and various other internet start-ups.
“I flourished in the “boom” years, and I survived the dot com “bust” of the late 90’s.”
Drawn by the lifestyle, the close of the millennium brought with it a relocation from Vancouver to Nelson. Going from the big city to the West Kootenay brought with it a wealth of new outdoors and lifestyle opportunities. It also brought with it a new set of challenges to be embraced.
“When I moved here, technology was changing. I went from high speed Internet service in Vancouver to only dial-up here at that time where I was living. That required some ingenuity and creativity to work with. Now that high speed has fully arrived it’s great to see what has happened out there in the digital media community. It was a major positive change that made doing what myself and at that time not too many others were doing, a realistic way of life.”
Bringing many of his clients with him, and working remotely for international clients, the community of Nelson quickly drew him in and opportunity proved greater than expected. Within a short period of time over 50% of his business began coming from local clients. The introduction of high speed connections to the West Kootenay in the early 2000’s opened up the opportunity to continue pursuing big name clients from elsewhere. His talent and passions enabled him to overcome and embrace the challenges of being often hundreds or thousands of kilometres from his customers. The lifestyle made the challenges worth tackling.
“It’s probably a little bit harder here, just because it’s a little more remote and obviously the larger cities have more clients. People tend to like working with people locally, although these days I have clients across Canada and the United States. The benefit of living here of course is the lifestyle. I live five minutes from work, the recreational activities are plentiful around here, and we live a great life.”
Working in an industry where creativity is akin to gold, the natural environment, proximity to nature and beautiful surroundings turned out to be a real enhancement to his work.
“It is Important for designers to mentally be in a comfortable situation. Not being overwhelmed by things and daily stress is great for creativity. Getting out quickly to sit in nature and just clear my mind definitely helps my design work when I’m in a happy creative space.”
The end result, a quarter century on from Expo, has been a happy life and a successful business that shows no signs of slowing down. As surely as the industry will continue to shift, change and expand in new directions, Chard looks forward to continuing to roll with the punches while delivering high quality design work for big and small companies alike.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 12:30
Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 09:48
Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 09:42
Monday, February 25, 2013 - 14:14
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 17:23