City Design Tour: Montréal

Shane Collier RGD, Art Director at Shane Collier Design & Digital Art Director at Evolving Web, shares the design experience of his city, Montréal


1. What makes your city’s design scene special/unique?
Montréal is the perfect fusion of the past, the present and the future. From the cobblestone streets, historic architecture and old world charm of Old Montréal to its bright and modern downtown, Montréal can be characterized by a distinctly European “joie de vivre" attitude. The city is also home to a rich, diverse arts scene and creativity can be found everywhere in its vast forms. Visual arts: From prestigious museums of historical artifacts, architecture and modern and contemporary art, to boutique art galleries and eclectic exhibitions. Performing arts: From music, to dance, opera, theatre, the circus arts and film, all categories are represented, highlighting the city’s high level of creativity, energy and passion.
2. Is there a place/landmark in your city that helps inspire you as a designer?
I get inspiration from the music scene in Montréal. Home to poets, artists and dreamers, Montréal is as serious about its music as it is about food. Quebec's stylish, French-speaking city of creatives has an eclectic, experimental, bold music scene dating back to the 1920s. This includes indie, electronica, world beats, rock and heavy metal, classical, hip hop, jazz and blues. 
My favourite spots to visit are:
Festivals: Montréal International Jazz Festival (June 25th - July 4th, 2020), Piknic Electronik (May 17th - September 27th, 2020), FrancoFolies de Montréal (June 12th - June 20th, 2020), Osheaga Music and Arts Festival (July 31st - August 2nd, 2020), POP Montréal (September 23rd - September 27th, 2020), Festival International Nuits d'Afrique (July 7th - -July 19th, 2020), Igloofest (January 16th - February 8th, 2020), MUTEK (Date T.B.A), Heavy Montréal (Check out their site for their year round concerts)
3. Is there a design project (sign, branding for a local company, local periodical/website, architecture) that stands out for you as emblematic of the local design scene?
There is an enormous art and graffiti culture in Montréal. The city loves its artists and Montréal doesn't play favourites. Unlike other cities that discourage graffiti and street art, Montréal celebrates all aspects of art culture. The various murals and graffiti throughout the city are a true testament to this. Whenever I need design inspiration, I simply go for a walk on Mont Royal or checkout the graffiti that’s plastered in the alleyways.
4. What do you wish your city had that designers would really love/benefit from?
It honestly has a lot to offer as it’s a very creative city. If RGD held DesignThinkers in Montréal, that would be great! It could be a bilingual conference with a variety of speakers / languages to select from. That would be truly Canadian to offer talks in two languages, English and French. I think RGD would get a lot of respect and help promote the association in Québec. 
5. Are there any challenges that designers in your city face?
Being an anglophone in Montréal has its challenges when looking for a job. Many positions at top creative firms require their candidates to be bilingual. This is especially challenging for new designers moving to the city who are not bilingual. It is possible to find design positions but it’s a challenge, even if you’re an all-star designer.