Montreal Meets: Interview with François Hoang

Montreal Meets: Interview with François Hoang



For those who didn’t have the chance to come to the first Montreal Meets held in Montreal for the first time in January 2011, just know that it was a spectacular event that brought together over 100 designers from the region. Those who were there had the chance to assist to presentations from Fabio Sasso, founder of, and James White, also known as Signalnoise. Organized by François Hoang, founder of AoiroStudio and inspiring local designer, supported by volunteers, this event was successful in more than one way; it created a bridge between design practitioners and the stars of the field, and it gave us a glimpse of what a real design community looks like, something that is lacking in Montreal since professionals are broken into small groups who do not communicate on a regular basis, from our perspective.

Montreal Meets wasn’t a unique event though; François Hoang is preparing a Montreal Meets II and we, Veodesign, had the great opportunity to interview him about what such an event means for the design community and what we can expect for 2012.


Q1: In January 2011 you held the first Montreal Meets event. It was a premiere in Montreal, unless I am mistaken. What inspired and motivated you to prepare such event?

François: First of all, thanks Tina for the opportunity of being interviewed on your awesome blog! I really enjoy your blog!

Back to business! Montreal Meets was just a simple idea of someone that wanted to make a difference in our design community. I didn’t expect that much success in the first place.

To tell you a little bit of the story, Fabio Sasso (Founder of always wanted to come to Canada and instead of him just coming here, in Montreal, for fun, I decided to make it into an event! So that people could meet this super cool guy. James White (Founder of Signalnoise) also came along, one of my great inspirations. James’s a guy that gave so much to the community.


Q2: Since I was there to witness the first Montreal Meets, I know that although it was a success, it wasn’t an easy task. What is hardest when organizing an event as big as Montreal Meets? How did you solve the problems you faced?

François: Wow! Where to start! It was my first time organizing an event so I had no clue “how-to”. It was really a big challenge to learn how to organize an event.

The challenges just keep piling up and I just couldn’t quit. I would say that the whole planning was a surreal challenge. I have to admit that sleep wasn’t part of my routine back then!


Q3: Now, a little bird told me you were preparing the next Montreal Meets for 2012. What can you tell us about that?

François: Who’s the little bird? :)

Since April, I was caught real hard with a huge amount of work and projects so I just started the planning of the upcoming Montreal Meets 2. What I can say is that, the experience won’t be the same.

What I’ve learned from MM1, definitely give a better experience to the people who will be coming to MM2. I can promise you that there will be more than 2 speakers and it will be a two-day event. So a lot to come!


Q4: I heard you say you wanted Montreal Meets to become a yearly event. How do you see it evolving within the next 5 years? How about 10 years?

François: Concerning Montreal Meets Series, I want to take it to one year at the time. There is so much planning involved that I am not really sure where this is going to take me.

Maybe in the near future there will be a Montreal Meets in other cities? Like maybe a Toronto Meets or a San Francisco Meets? We never know! We’ll see!


Q5: How do you think Montreal Meets is affecting the design community? And what are your hopes and aspirations concerning the future of this community?

François: The Design Community in Montreal is HUGE! I mean to know there’s so many good designers in our city, it’s crazy! I don’t really see MM making an impact yet in the community of Montreal. It’s weird, I know!

I recently gave a talk at the “Café-Bar of the Cinémathèque Québécoise de Montréal” for UQAM and from my perspective, designers are eager to work and they don’t know what’s coming after the glorious school years. We have a strong and growing community so I think the future sounds promising…


Q6: Montreal Meets brings designers together once a year. What else do you think could be done to strengthen the design community in Montreal?

François: In my opinion, I hope that Montreal Meets will inspire the community to, maybe, do the same or even better. We should organize some design meet-ups to keep us together and maybe work together. Help each other.

I believe that success could be achieved with the help of good people around you, not just by yourself.


Q7: Finally, if you could add one more thing about design, Montreal Meets or your philosophy to all the designers out there who might be reading this, what would it be?

François: My philosophy is simple, NEVER GIVE UP and WORKING HARD PAYS OFF!

If you want to be successful in your design career, don’t take no for an answer and truly know yourself to be able to stand in front of the crowd because the hardest thing in life is… knowing your limits. Once you know them, it’s when you’ll be capable of going beyond.


So what can we expect from the upcoming event? We know it will have more than 2 speakers and that it will be a 2-days event. We can assume that since it was a great success in 2011, Montreal Meets II will most probably be held in a much bigger room than Concordia University’s auditorium and have under its roof hundreds of designers. Some questions remain unanswered though: Will it be affordable? Which designers will be invited? What will be the dates? Where will it be?

We’d like to thank François Hoang for organizing such wonderful event and bringing Montreal designers together. We wish him best in his career, projects and, once again, we would like to offer him our support in the making of the next Montreal Meets.

Visit the Montreal Meets website here.

About the author

Tina Mailhot-Roberge is a graphic designer, illustrator and co-founder of Veodesign. She holds a BFA in Design from Concordia University, Montréal. She loves to help people and wirte about arts, design, web and technology. Find her on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.