At Shillington, we love to explore and celebrate great design from around the world. We’ve covered the work of many creatives, from freelance designers to animation studios, in many different countries so far and now we’re heading to The Great White North: here’s our top creatives from Canada. Despite being the second biggest country in the world, Canada is also one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries but this doesn’t mean there is some incredible talent within that population.
We look beyond maple syrup, ice hockey and moose, to dig out a list of our ten favourite creatives from Canada—featuring design, motion graphics, illustration and more!
Joanie Brisebois is a Montreal-based freelance designer and art director of Échelles magazine, a platform for environmental design. She counts her work as being inspired by typography, culture and history and this can easily be seen in her work for Records To-Go. She gave her identity and packaging for the independent record studio and shop a vintage ’90s feel through the use of fluorescent colour and simple type. The use of aluminium containers in the packaging is also a clever nod to the idea of “to go”.
Also from the French Canadian city of Montreal is Caserne. Caserne is a studio that deals with clients of all sizes—from the Université de Montreal to food and drink start-ups—working across strategy, identity, packaging, print and more. We loved their identity and packaging for Club Kombucha, a small kombucha company from their hometown. The design borrows from the brewing codes expressing freshness, vivacity and lightness which sets the brand apart in a fast growing corner of the market.
Working from Toronto in Southern Canada, César Augusto is an editorial designer, art director and illustrator. He works predominantly with writers, artists and architects creating work inspired by what he loves: which, according to his website, is extreme Asian cinema, Cronenberg filmography, Godard credits, Pessoa’s poetry and noise music (In other words, quite a mix!). His designs for Cultural District, a publication showing the benefits of the new university district in Guadalajara, is not only pleasing on the eyes but also intelligently translates technical language into something much more digestable.
Under the helm of creative director Véronique Lafortune, Billyclub is a design studio from Montreal who enjoy working with entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. They believe in the power of collaboration and thinks it can bring endless possibilities to any design. We were immediately drawn to the studio’s work for Caulis, an independent ethical knitwear brand, through some amazing type work—using Reckless Neue (Light) from Prague’s Displaay Foundry (some of Le Billy Club’s collaborative work in play!). Though, the project’s art direction is equally eye-catching.
Tierra Connor is a freelance illustrator who lives and works in Edmonton, Alberta in Western Canada. Her illustrations bring to mind a sense of wonderful, dreamlike nostalgia. They can instantly transport you back to far-flung exotic holidays or to a pastel mid-century roadtrip. We loved her work for travel guide publishers Herb Lester—Tierra recently illustrated a guide to the magical Old Town of Lisbon in Portugal. Take a look and tell us that doesn’t make you want to book flights right away!
One of the co-founders of Par Hasard Studio, Olivier Charland is a multidisciplinary designer who has previously worked for Apple and Sagmeister & Walsh. Working across several different mediums, he always manages to imbue his work with a sense of play and sensitivity—whether its a record sleeve for The Moonlight Club or a poster for last year’s Salon du Livre de Trois-Rivières. We are big fans of his mural for the WeWork campus in Mountain View, California. Its abstract, geometric form fills the space with Charland’s characteristic playfulness.
Vincent Tourigny is an illustrator, animator and designer working out of Montreal, who also co-founded Disamare—a workshop dedicated to slow design in the cycling world. Employing bold, block colours and charming characters—from sunglassed strawberries to bagel hula-hoopers—his illustrations are sure to bring a smile to your face. This illustration from last summer, which Vincent designed for the window of Montreal independent café and ice cream shop, Crèmiere Mix, definitely bought us a lot of joy (and definitely made us want to eat ice cream).
The brilliantly named MamboMambo are a branding agency based in French Canadian Quebec City. Their founding aim is to create remarkable brands and they definitely hit the spot every time—creating some beautiful brands from South American craft soda companies to online gambling regulators and everything in between. Their branding for Québec Jazz En Juin festival in 2019 immediately caught our eye. It combines innovative typefaces Proto Grotesk and Druk Wide and stripped back, multicoloured illustrations on a black background to create a striking and memorable identity.
Working out of Montreal, Locomotive are a digital-first agency working across web, digital and branding. With a decade of marketing experience behind them, they are driven by their passion and fuelled by their creatvity—creating amazing digital work across the spectrum. In 2018, they were invited to honour the Canadian designers that laid the path for agencies like theirs: Design Canada asked them to design a website to help showcase great Canadian design. They created an amazing project that integrated the work of the designers that they looked up to into animations, graphic transitions and rich content.
Gimmick, who definitely don’t live up to their name, are a motion design studio working in Montreal. They describe themselves as being both efficient and laid-back—which we think is the ultimate combo! Their demo reel is an absolute treat for the eyes and is well worth a watch. Though, there was something really special about their project The Imaginary Friend Society they created for Pediatric Brain Tumour Foundation—a project of over 20 original films providing answers, smiles and support to kids facing cancer. It’s as gorgeous as it is heartwarming.
Want to see the full list of creatives around the world? The latest countries we covered in the series are Russia, Belgium and Portugal.
Feeling inspired? Check out our #ILoveTheseGuys series to discover more creative studios from around the world! Or become a graphic designer yourself—study design in three months full-time or nine months part-time in London, Manchester, New York, Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne with Shillington.