Monday, May 27, 2024

CNA grad’s talent soaring on the national scene

Many people have seen Karly Barker’s work. She’s a Graphic Design program graduate, who is currently Air Canada’s Senior Designer/Art Director.

Graphic design grad sees her creations take off

The sky’s the limit for one College of the North Atlantic (CNA) grad – literally!

Karly Barker, a graduate of CNA’s Graphic Design program in 2016, is currently working with Air Canada as their Senior Designer/Art Director in their creative studio. Previously, she had worked at CarteNav, and PAL Aerospace.

Barker says there are plenty of options for graduates of this program. All it takes is a little hard work.

“There is no hard line on where you can go as a graphic designer,” she said. “I went from working in ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) marketing design to soon joining one of the biggest airlines and flag carrier of Canada. As long as you have the passion, the discipline to get the work done and on time, there is no stopping you from being successful.”

Barker says the students and faculty at the college made her feel comfortable which, in turn, made for a great learning environment.

“I really enjoyed my time at CNA. It really felt like a great atmosphere to learn, and even though I was a mature student and had a military spouse recently posted, I felt like I belonged just as much as the younger students,” she said. “My instructors were very interested in my skillset and where I was focusing my work (web, photography). Because of the lessons I learned and the variety of what we were being taught, it was possible to find a niche and focus on it.”

Time well spent

She credits the practical experience she had at CNA as being a huge help.

“I believe every minute we were being taught how to function as a designer in a work setting. Many times, (instructors) Craig, Ray, J, and Ken would explain the real-world basis of deadlines and technical awareness,” she said. “Having deadlines, working in groups with partners with different skillsets and objectives mirrors working in a collaborative environment. Projects that did not include working in a group helped teach us what to expect in a freelancer capacity.”

Barker says it was this real-world experience that helped her narrow down her interests into a specific area.

“Having folks come in from the industry to grade our projects was valuable for constructive feedback. Working as an intern gave us the chance to sample agency or otherwise and decide where we wanted to take our careers.”

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and photography.

“When I’m not hanging out with my husband and daughter, I like to photograph civilian aircraft and military such as navy ships in Halifax. I’m also very active on social media.”

Wherever her career may take her, Barker says she is proud of her education at CNA.

“I am very proud to tell employers where I went to school. I believe the Graphic Design program has cultivated a fantastic environment for learning, and while out in the workforce, my technical skills are of an advantage. It’s an incredible program and I’m glad I got to spend time at such a great school.”

For more information about CNA programs, visit

Karly’s work is on display on her Instagram account, @karliaa.

Karly Barker, a Graphic Design program graduate, recently accepted a position with Air Canada as their Senior Designer/Art Director.
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Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.


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