Montreal meets

Montreal Meets: 2 days and 11 design conferences

June 10, 2013

Last week, our fair city hosted the third edition of Montreal Meets, two days of design conferences delivered by young creatives who travel from all over the world to share their passion for design. The TP1 team (obviously) attended.

Congratulations to the team at @MontrealMeets!, We're already looking forward to next year’s edition! Here are some highlights from the four conferences presented at the Telus Theatre.

Ars Thanea

When Peter Jaworowski (@thehejz ), Executive Creative Director of Ars Thanea, stepped on stage, he seemed familiar. And then I remembered! His extensive and brilliant Behance portfolio is pretty unforgettable.

I used to spend days browsing graphic design blogs and what struck me most about theirs was the generous and compelling way that Peter explained his creative process using visuals. I was very excited to finally learn more about the evolution and experience of this young agency in Warsaw.

Ars Thanea’s story begins with print creations featuring the “lens flare” effect, which was popular back then. After two years of lens flaring, the team wanted to diversify and expand internationally – all the way to China! A contract with the Discovery Channel began a new era for the agency, opening opportunities that led them to work with Ubisoft, Nokia, Disney, Visa, General Electric, Bacardi and Nike, with whom Peter built as especially close business relationship.

The agency’s strength? Clients regularly – and enthusiastically – renew their contracts, even if the projects are risky. Each new challenge is welcomed with a laid-back and happy, “Why not?” Although, Peter did confide that not all clients appreciate their vision…

Currently, the agency has more than 50 employees and countless clients and partners around the world. Its slogan: “Accept risk and work hard to overcome it.”

— Baptiste Macaire

Perfectly imperfect

A young Asian woman with a Texas accent knows how to make an impression – and Dana Tanamachi definitely impressed me. At the beginning of her career, Dana was creating Broadway show posters for Spotco, but was soon hired by the renowned and very respected Louise Fili, who became an outstanding mentor for this young designer.

Her fate took another step forward in Brooklyn, when she had an unexpected encounter with chalk and a wall (Pinterest didn’t exist yet). After her cosmic success on social networks, Dana started spending her Saturdays learning the ins and outs of these new platforms. Lettering on a blackboard became her passion.

Shortly after, she made the leap and began to live her dream full time. Since then, she’s gone on to work for the world’s biggest brands, from Tommy Hilfiger to Ace Hotels to Oprah Winfrey (she even hangs out with Oprah). Congratulations Dana!

To learn more:

— Olivier Rielland-Nadeau

The anatomy of an idea

When I first encountered the work of Nando Costa, this artist from Rio de Janeiro quickly inspired me with his unique vision of the world. Born into a family of artists, this Carioca’s talent bloomed early and when it combined with his limitless curiosity, it led him on a rich and diverse creative path.

Since those first Flash animations, Nando has learned to work the vector graphics that have become his trademark with great ease and remarkable finesse. Helped in his evolution by an unrelenting thirst for discovery, he has since varied his media, adding everything from wood-burning to laser cutting. Inspired in equal parts by entomology and the magnetic fields of diverse objects, his projects sometimes seem like a pretext for combining personal interest and professional pursuit.

Nanda Costa encouraged us, “Stay curious and passionate; question the form as well as the substance.” A message that may seem obvious, but one that is more important than ever.

— Guillaume Granger

Behance: The designer becoming an entrepreneur

Personally, the most memorable conference at Montreal Meets was delivered by Matias Corea (@MatiasCorea), a young and entrepreneurial designer, visionary and co-founder of Behance. What designer today doesn’t know about this site? Barcelona-born Matias had a vision that went beyond working in an agency: He wanted to provide his peers with a tool that would help share their work and ultimately, build a real community. He still pursues that same objective today.

Matias kept the audience enthralled for over 45 minutes and shared many key factors of his own success. To build a product that would eventually be bought by Adobe, there had to be a few tips!

In relating his obstacles, values and ideas, he inspired more than a few. According to him, you have to do everything possible to make your vision a reality. Here is a sampling of his wisdom:

  • “You don’t have to be the best before you try. You just have to suck for a while.” When you’re an unknown, you can’t be afraid of trying and making mistakes. It’s okay if it’s not great at first.
  • “Get rid of the crap. Narrow it down.” Referring to how, at one point, he had to concentrate on his principal product and put aside his less successful projects.
  • “Protect your team culture.” So crucial! A company relies on its people.

Generally, what Matias said was neither revolutionary, nor ground-breaking. It was more about how to successfully bring together the right ingredients with the right recipe. “When you start a business,” he said, “you can’t be afraid to mimic and assemble certain elements to make a whole. At some point, when it’s time to innovate, that’s when you take it to the next level.” He built his business with that approach and discipline and it worked for him. He made good choices and surrounded himself with good people.

Patrick Williams