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While attending the Classical Animation program at Sheridan College, in pursuit of becoming a world famous animator, Barb Williams, now a creative director at Rapp Canada, realized that graphic design involved a lot less repetition and decidedly less patience. She launched her career in a few local design shops before finding her place and passion in the agency world.

She's punctuated eighteen years in the business with two periods of living and working abroad. In 1997 she was hired and shipped over to the Middle East for three years in 1997 by one of Dubai's first branding and design firms and spent the next three years helping build many of the UAE's brands.

In 2009, Barb returned to Canada from Maui, Hawaii where she was in the enviable of position of developing creative from her beach chair while working with MVNP (DDB Honolulu).


Art Director
Barb Williams

If you have a degree in what field is it? I started in animation but ended up graduating from Graphic Design College at George Brown in Toronto. I’ve since received my accreditation from the Association of Registered Graphic Designers.

If you could choose one person to work with (outside your own agency), who would it be? Anthony Bourdain. Food/cooking, writing, travel, filming. Fun.

Who was the client for your first advertising project? Columbia House Music.

If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do? It’s a toss-up between being a film director and teaching scuba at my (someday) scuba/surf/book store/coffee company in the tropics.

What do you consider to be the greatest headline of all time? “Shit happens.” (For Honey Bucket portable outhouses.)

From where do your best ideas originate? In the shower. Always.

How do you overcome a creative block? Read, read, read. Then take a shower.

If you could choose any product to create an ad for, what would it be? My scuba/surf/book store/coffee company? Seriously... The World Wildlife Fund.

Do you have creative outlets other than advertising? Photography probably but I wish I had more time to paint.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? A must. It makes you a better creative. Negativity and stress inhibit your ability to be creative. There is so much in the world not related to our industry that can influence and inspire new ways of seeing things. Laughter, silliness and fun are the best exercises for your mind.

What product/gadget can you not live without? I want to say something different than my iPhone but it’s challenging. My passport.

What’s your favorite quote? “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines and sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Be different.

What's one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? How much I love travel and making movies. Fortunately, it’s never to late to change any direction if you want it bad enough.