When we spoke to Denys Lapointe, Executive Vice-President, Design & Innovation at BRP, we made sure to ask him a few questions about what it’s like to be a designer at the company, and a few tips on how to get that chance.

A truly international company with manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Finland, and Austria, BRP is an employer of choice for recent industrial design graduates and more than 20% of Denys Lapointe’s Design & Innovation team comes from outside Canada.

You must receive hundreds of job applications a year. What makes someone stand out for you?

We’re always looking for passionate individuals. The way we evaluate designers—and the few engineers and technicians that we hire within Design & Innovation—is based on their portfolio. We’re looking for creativity within their portfolio. Of course we have one, two, sometimes three interviews with the individual to make sure they are a good fit with the company, but it starts with a strong portfolio.

What is the biggest mistake an applicant can make?

Often people will submit a final rendition of their project, which is good, but we’re just as interested in the process that people have used to get to where they are. We’re just as interested in seeing all the work they’ve done prior to getting to the final rendition of their project, whether it be in 3D format or in renderings or as a clay model or as a mock-up of some sort.

Some students even throw their preliminary work away. They don’t even sign them and actually just toss them away because they don’t feel it’s ready to be shown. Well, this is critical stuff to see how you work. It shows the process. And the process helps us evaluate creativity. So, don’t throw that away. That’s as critical as your final project.


We’re just as interested in seeing all the work they’ve done prior to getting to the final rendition of their project, whether it be in 3D format or in renderings or as a clay model or as a mock-up of some sort.

What’s it like to start working at BRP as a young designer?

As young designers come in, they’re fresh out of school with very few paradigms, so we like our young designers to provide some insight as to what they see at BRP. As they provide many of these insights, then they move on to more specific programmes.

Some may be assigned to advanced concepts. In advanced concepts it’s pretty free. Anything can be an opportunity for us to explore. We have some specific assignments for them, however we also allow for them to investigate projects they feel could be an opportunity for BRP. Some are given programmes but some are encouraged to provide what they feel would be the next big thing for us and influence our future direction. They do ideations, they’re encouraged to work in teams, they often work individually. Sometimes they’re given assignments on the bigger programmes influencing overall direction, or we might ask them to work on a very specific accessory.

It depends on their skill level, their interests, but at BRP we have this principle that we much prefer using people’s natural strengths. We will challenge them, however if something is not their forte, we don’t try to stretch them in an area where it’s really not natural for them.

No doubt many young designers dream of working for BRP. How cool is it in real life? What’s the best part about it?

We have a state-of-the-art working environment. It’s also a multi-cultural environment with people from all over the place with all kinds of experiences, and with whom you can exchange and work as teammates.

There are very interesting projects to work on; everybody will be given the opportunity to work on things that are far-fetched, and people are encouraged to ride the vehicles and try out their ideas. We even accept for people to work on their own personal projects. For example, one of our designers is a surfer. He designed his own surfboard on the premises and was able to build it. If you’re building a motorcycle of your own, this may force you to discover new things. So all of this is encouraged.

What is the best advice you would give designers starting out their careers today?

Don’t give up. We’ve had a few great individuals who when they first knocked at our door, their portfolio was not up to par. We were very honest and gave them constructive feedback, and I’m proud to say that many of these individuals came back to us. They didn’t make it through the first time, but they kept on persevering and resubmitted new, fresh ideas. They worked on their portfolio and eventually made it. Quite honestly we’re extremely happy with all the individuals that at first didn’t make it through.

So, I say, never give up. If as a young designer you have a passion for a company, if you don’t make it through the first time, don’t necessarily give up. Just continue, and the hard work will eventually lead you to where you want to be.