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Interview with Dan Maitland

User Interface Designer at CAE Inc. and Art Director at Heelatch

January 7, 2012
Dan Maitland is the co-founder of Heelatch, a graphic design company in Montreal, who offers web design, graphic design and application design. Heelatch also organise the Social Media Breakfast Montreal, a series of networking events dedicated to Social Media. The Breakfasts are open to everyone, specially for those working on communications and marketing. Like mentioned in their website, the Social Media Breakfasts serves two main purposes: 

Face-to-face networking: Bring together marketers, PR pros, students, entrepreneurs, and social media practitioners and enthusiasts of all stripes over breakfast.

Education: Through panel discussions, presentations, case studies, debates, and breakout sessions … teach, share, and learn social media best practices for business.

I had a couple of questions regarding my domain, and decided to ask fellow graphic designers some questions to see their point of view, Since I found this very interesting I decided to share their answers with the people who read my blog. Dan was kind enough to participate. Here are his answers.


1- Where do you work and what do you do?

I’m the Senior GUI Designer at CAE Inc. and co-founder/art director at Heelatch. (Note: GUI means: “User interface design” or user interface engineering, which is the design of computers, appliances, machines, mobile communication devices, software applications, and websites with the focus on the user’s experience and interaction.)

2- What are your main basic steps to manage a project?

User requirements, user requirements, user requirements. Without clear well documented user requirements you will most definitely end up with crap in the end.

3- Where do you find inspiration?

Industrial design, architecture, interior design, Photography, Magazines, etc…

4- What do you think makes someone an Art Director, a Senior or Junior Graphic Designer?

A decent amount of experience covering many different aspects of design whether it be print, web, Ui design, UX etc…

5- What has been the best way to find good clients for you?

Word of mouth has worked best at Heelatch.

6- Which Social Media tools will you recommend for designer interaction?,, Twitter (obviously), Design blogs

7- What do you think is the best way to deal with an unpleasant customer, or a late payment?

Dealing with unpleasant clients or late payments has to be done very carefully. being persistent and setting deadlines for payment usually works best but it doesn’t always work out. The best thing to do is make sure sure everything is very clear up front that there is a decent deposit to cover yourself a bit.

8- What do you think is the hardest thing in the industry right now?

Making potential or existing clients realize/understand how important usability is and what makes something usable. Most of the time a client will ask for something that is clearly not user friendly and you are forced to try and explain why what they are asking for is not good practice or not considered usable. The client usually thinks its just the designer trying to force his/her own way into the design but its usually for a good reason.


You can stay connected with Dan at the following links.

Websites: and









About Luis London

Marketing and Communications specialist with more than 10 years of professional experience, counting with a solid technical expertise (Digital Marketing, Web and Social Media) that also covers traditional marketing and is with associated to customer satisfaction and my passion for public relations.

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