I was born in Toronto and given the name James Caldwell. My mother was a school teacher and my father a pilot. We lived in various cities throughout southern Ontario until we settled in Etobicoke and then Malton. Fortunately Malton was a culturally diverse town which opened my eyes during my influential years to many different types of peoples and customs. These experiences continue to serve me well today.
In high school I decided at too young of an age that my life’s ambition was to be that of an accountant. So after graduation I left to the University of Toronto with my measly amount of material wealth where I studied commerce and economics in my first year. However my neighbours (six women) were all studying fine art which influenced me to switch my major. Thank goodness. I graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto. I also hold a Fine Arts Diploma from Sheridan College.
I have more than twenty years of branding, strategy and design experience in both print and Internet publishing creating effective branding experiences with solid business practises. I have served in management and creative roles with a wide range of companies and have defined integrated communications strategies for a diverse clientele. I have helped companies such as MSNBC, Rogers, IBM, Gateway, Newsweek, Univision and the New York Daily News define their business goals, brand and communication strategies.
Life in Media
Since leaving university I have held many jobs in all aspects of the design business. Before the invention of the ubiquitous personal computer I worked for various photocopying, prepress and printing companies. Following the PC revolution I worked as a network administrator, a corporate designer and an artist and art director at various newspapers and magazines. It was at the Toronto Star where I met my mentor and friend Keith Branscombe who during a redesign of the Toronto Star lead me to work with Roger Black. In 1997 I made the move to New York to work with him at the Interactive Bureau. Surrounded by very capable and creative people I expanded my knowledge and skills eventually holding the title of VP Design / VP Creative Services.
Since 2002 I have concentrated on my own endeavors. Partnering with a friend, Michael Nicklas, I led a team over a four year engagement to conceptualize and build Pfizer’s North American sales force application. Then with the accumulated knowledge Mr. Nicklas and I struck out on our own with a team of designers and programmers to develop EngageMe, a toolset that enables content publishers to effectively target users for customized content and advertising while promoting advanced social networking. This is an ongoing project for me.
In late 2009 after 12 years in New York I returned to Toronto.
I live in downtown Toronto and I am happily becoming reacquainted with family and friends.
I had a corporate site Thirst since 1995, but I have always wanted a place to showcase my ideas and non-commercial design work. To that end, I acquired 418QE in 2009. I took about two weeks to learn the WordPress publishing platform and designed this site. In late 2012 I incorporated all of thirst into 418QE. My hopes are to start an informative design dialogue with the many who surf and to help the newly graduated with lessons they should have learned in school.
Talk to Me
I enjoy reading your email and I will try to respond to it all. So please send your comments or questions along, I’m always happy to hear from you.