At High Road we like to use this blog to celebrate and share the great work of our clients and teams, both inside of work and out in the community. In that spirit, we thought we’d have a short Q&A with HRC User Experience Designer Steve St. Pierre, who launched the very cool Ottawa Creative Collective in early February 2012.
So SSP, tell me about the Ottawa Creative Collective.
Well, the spiel is we’re a group of like-minded individuals whose main goal is to raise the creative profile of the city of Ottawa. We’re going to bat for the city that birthed us.
How are we going to do it? The simple answer is by doing good work. But the challenge is we need to give that work a platform and make people aware of it. Beyond the website we’ll have meet-ups, some conferences, and a whole bunch of other initiatives to get both the public and designers revved up about the good design being pumped out of the region.
Oh, and we get together once a month, have some pints and talk about bitmaps and vectors. It’s great.
Where did the idea for this come from?
It was kind of selfish: I just wanted a group of folks to talk about design with, because all of my design pals existed only as online screen names. The “big cities” have their own communities going and that’s great, but the smaller cities are starting to pop up with their own little meet-ups, too. I didn’t see why Halifax could have one and we couldn’t.
So I pitched the idea to OCC’s co-founder, Brett Tackaberry, and we finally pulled the trigger in March 2011, reaching out to a select few people to brainstorm and create a Facebook group.
That was it – with just a couple clicks of the mouse we had a group that started with seven grow up to more than 260. Pretty awesome.
What are you hoping this organization will do for creative folks like yourself?
I’m really hoping it encourages better work. That’s not to say good work isn’t happening, but I’d love to see more consistency. I’d also love to squash the griping a lot of us tend to do because we live in a government town and as such there isn’t a lot of room for creativity. I’ve never believed that.
We’re all in this together – client, designer, consumer – and we all have one common interest: we like to be inspired.
I love what I do, and I am so, so passionate about design that I want to be surrounded by other people who feel the same way, creating a support system that others can take advantage of.
What about for Ottawa, as a city?
I think more and more people now have an understanding of what graphic design is. Twenty years ago if you said “font” people would’ve given you a look like you just came from Mars. Now my Mom is emailing me about her love of kerning and how awesome ligatures are (she doesn’t, I’m kidding – I just didn’t have a good example to toss in there).
But seriously, people are becoming more appreciative of good design, and I’d love if the Ottawa Creative Collective could inspire even more passion for design in our city. We’ve also got our eyes set on some charitable work – that’s a big one for us. We want to give more than we take.
You’re involved a lot in your community: from being a guest speaker for classes in Algonquin College’s advertising program, to speaking at TEDx, to creating this new collective. How does staying engaged outside of work affect your work with High Road’s clients?
It’s kind of like my way of doing a Sudoku puzzle every day. It keeps me sharp. I don’t clock out – when 2 a.m. hits I’m still sketching away or watching design lectures (or any other way I can ignore doing my dishes) but that’s the life I lead.
I am so lucky to get paid to do what I do, and I don’t take that for granted. And I really think that shows in my work. I love seeing that in High Road’s clients, as well. When you connect with someone and you realize they love their job and see their company as family, that’s the greatest thing. You want to do your best for that person, for that family.
Great work shows you care. And if you care, then you can communicate that through your work and make the client and the consumer care, as well.
What’s next for SSP?
Sleep? No? Ok.
I’m going to do my best to make 2012 a big one for the OCC. I really want to get a grant setup for design students, as well as set up a couple of other charitable things – an art auction and a limited edition series of greeting cards. I have to be tight-lipped about details, but it’s going to be a great year.
Apart from that, I just want to always be learning, and keep getting better at what I do.