Graphic designer hits big time

One needs smarts, savvy and sophisticated technique in order to survive in the cutthroat world of modern business.

Phil Knight has learned to hone these essential attributes, and has used them to become a successful entrepreneur. His return to his alma mater’s East York campus on Oct. 14 highlighted his journey from fledgling graphic designer to running his own company.

Knight, who runs Modern Knight Inc. out of Mississauga, told art students at Centennial College’s Carlaw Avenue building that they have to be ahead of the curve when it comes to making the cut in business.

 “You’re not just competing locally anymore — not even just in North America. You’re competing on a worldwide level,” Knight said. “There is a guy in Ecuador who charges $10 per hour for the same work. You have to learn how to compete with him.”

Knight said that one of his most lucrative endeavours is his website, which allows him to provide quality printing services to a global market with minimal actual interaction with customers.

 “We made over $1 million in a year. You definitely want to have a website that sells stuff online,” Knight said. “I now have printing presses in China and I have full-time employees in the Philippines.”

The graphic design program that Knight took at college gave him the tools to build his empire from the ground up, he said.

 “The more tools you have in your belt, the more you can do. [The program] introduced me to so many tools that can help,” Knight said.

Knight said he went to college after leaving his previous job feeling unsatisfied.

 “I had a falling out with the company I was working for and I needed a career change,” he said, adding that the practicality of his courses bolstered his re-entry into the work-world.

 “You have to blow someone away before you get there,” he said, “and the broad introduction to the software was a great help.”