Montreal Design: The School and the Street

Posted on September 21st, 2009 by .

I’ve always been crazy about typography. I like to walk down the streets and just notice the use of Helvetica, or Arial, or Times New Roman all over the city – and judge those who still use Comic Sans MS (Remember the one that looks like chalkboard characters and is supposed to make everything look funnier?). And lucky for me, Montreal definitely takes design seriously, using it to brand and advertise itself to the rest of the world. Paris has its own image, as do New York or London. I think the same applies to Montreal, which was recently named a “world design capital” by the UNESCO, after Berlin and Buenos Aires.

All across Montreal you can find amazing posters, public signs and road markings. Theatres and museums work with extremely talented graphic design studios to produce true works of art. The result? A walk through the city can be like visiting a museum and noticing the evolution of modern design.

There are institutions that celebrate graphic design throughout the city, and one of my favourite spots is the CENTRE DE DESIGN DE L’UQAM. Located downtown, it is part of the Université du Québec à Montreal campus. This month, they’ve got a new exhibition from the Canadian artist Rodney LaTourelle (September 19, 2009-January 24, 2010). And it’s free! Born in Manitoba, LaTourelle likes to play with colours and space, and he creates installations that reflect his love for graphic design and architecture. This one, called Model for Inner Expansion, will evolve over the course of three months, as additional artwork, video performances and models will complete the installation.

Since UQAM’s Design Centre also acts as a school, there are many conferences and lectures programmed with the exhibition. It’ll be a public space for debate and conversation, because you either hate or love something about graphic design, but it never leaves you indifferent. I guess Comic Sans is sadly the most obvious example.

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