Set your ideas on fire. That is the slogan of Burnkit, a design studio nestled in the heart of Railtown, just blocks away from Main and Hastings in Vancouver. They are an ideas studio. Technical wizards and skilled graphic designers showcase their talents under the leadership of Josh Dunford, founder and director. 2010 marks their tenth anniversary of business and if you aren’t familiar with their work, you should be. Visit their website and take a gander at their clients: PlayStation, Kodak and Bensen to name a few. Take a tour of their studio or just have fun messing around with the website’s engaging interface. Their unique vision and uncompromising quality is clearly evident, from their portfolio to their dynamic homepage.
I recently sat down with Josh Dunford and Owen Ingraham, Director of Technology at Burnkit, to discuss the company’s vision firsthand and how they’ve seen the company grow. Relaxed and humorous, Dunford began our discussion at the very beginning. “Originally, I was in school for biology. However, I realized my passions were in photography and graphic design through the process of working on a yearbook. After graduating in science, I freelanced for a summer and that’s when I worked on a couple of key side projects that were crucial to getting me where I am today.”
Dunford developed on an online magazine, worked on interactive projects with a Lower Mainland firm and created videos that were picked up by Windows Media, garnering over two millions views. And this is all pre-YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. “If you’re graduating and you don’t yet have a portfolio,” explains Josh, “you likely have a lot of time and energy on your hands. It’s a perfect opportunity to work on side projects that may not make you a lot of money but will give you crucial project experience.”
In the late winter of 2000, Burnkit was born. “I started the company with a friend who was a landscape architect. He had limited experience in graphic design, [but he picked it up quickly].” Today, the company boasts eleven full-time staff and each year they host hungry interns who want to cut their teeth with the design world’s best. Burnkit has done it all: websites, short films, logos, interactive installations, environmental graphics, printed matter and things that have never been seen before, as stated on their website.
A defining project for Josh was the full redesign of the PlayStation website. “That was a highlight project because it was the largest we’d done up to that point. It was the culmination of starting with a very small project and earning their trust, building it over the years and having it culminate in the full redesign of Playstation.com in 2007.”
To celebrate their tenth year of business, Dunford is throwing a party. A massive party. “We’ve always thrown an annual party. After the summer, it’s the perfect time to have it. People are coming off summer vacation and going back to work. They need something to do. The timing is perfect.”
Happy birthday, Burnkit. May your next ten years burn even brighter.