During Easter weekend in Montreal, something very special happened (besides the usual Christian holiday): Montreal Meets held its second design conference: MMTWO. I announced it over and over and, finally, it happened. The event was also broadcasted on livestream for the ones who couldn’t make it to the conference.
It is difficult to sum up so many hours of talk and the incredible amount of knowledge that was shared during the event. I did my best however to provide you with a short recap of MMTWO as well as photos of each of the speakers, taken by myself (lucky me, I was seated in the second row!):
MMTWO – Day 1
Day one at MMTWO began with an introduction by François Hoang who shared with the audience the struggles he had to face while organizing the venue. Indeed François took a lot on his shoulders alone and setting up something that big can be both tiring and stressful. (I remember in fact a day, less than two months before the event, when he sent me an SMS saying he might give up. I got really mad when I read that and urged him to continue, offering by the same occasion some of my time in order to help. It seems that other volunteers and supporters had the same idea) Ultimately, thanks to donations and support from friends and other designers, MMTWO did happen and François did reach his goals.
The first speaker to come on stage was Fabio Sasso, founder of Abduzeedo and currently employed as Senior Designer at Google. Fabio told us his story; how he began backing up his work online and sharing tutorials, having no expectations whatsoever, and how quickly enough his website, the number one design tutorial resource online today, became popular. Fabio does it all for free and is very humble. It was the second time I got to see Abduzeedo’s founder on stage and I held my breath all the same while he talked. Hard work and giving back to the community were the two elements of his speech that shined the most.
The second on the first day was Radim Malinic, a designer based in London. He showed us a lot of his design and client work on screen, most of which was extremely impressive. His exhibition West-End Story caught my attention the most because of its historical context revolving around London’s West End era. Radim highlighted during his talk the importance of having a strong concept behind your work and of getting out of your comfort zone in order to produce good design.
Shortly after their presentation, the five speakers met on stage and answered several questions (coming both from the audience and the livestream) for over an hour. Good times.
MMTWO – Day 2
On Sunday, James White from Signalnoise gave a speech entitled The Renegade. Of all the speakers, he was the most enthusiastic and most energetic. He shared with us his early beginnings (and when I say early, I mean children’s drawings, haha), using the chronology of his life as a designer to bring us to the present day. His talk focused on the importance of being a Renegade and going Into the Woods; creating your own reality, being unique. James White is well known for being successful at doing his own thing and for being daring; one can think of his Drive poster which became viral, but also most recently the logos he created for NASA which will be used, he revealed to us, in a film project with the NFB of Canada. His presentation was overall very inspiring.
The fourth speaker of MMTWO was Shelby White aka Wanken. Creator of Designspiration.net, Shelby White is heavily inspired by Swiss and mid 19th century design and it shows in his minimalist and clean style. Most of his presentation revolved around how Designspiration came to be, how it will develop in the next few months and how with time and hard work, everything is possible.
Montreal Meets concluded with Rik Oostenbroek aka SecretShowcase. Rik had a lot to show; he seems to produce graphic art in industrial quantities (up to 10 designs per week, he said at some point during his presentation) and he willingly shared with us his creative process. From photomanipulations to abstract organic shapes, Rik embraces unknown territory and tries to push the boundaries of his graphic style to see how far he can go.
I would like to thank François for organizing this event: he dedicated countless hours to MMTWO and thanks to his hard work, it was a success. I would also like to thank the five speakers for coming and for sharing their knowledge and experience with the audience. I bet all the designers and art enthusiasts in the room feel the same as I do, and that is very thankful.
If I had one wish for Montreal Meets Three, it would be a conference more focused on the social aspect of design and how designers can help each other; it seems to me that only Fabio Sasso promoted that idea directly (that is what Abduzeedo is about, after all). It would be nice if discussions could take place and if designers could interact with each other (something that happened too little during MMTWO I believe).