The director of new film Design Canada, Greg Durrell, explains why the story of Canadian graphic design needed to be told
Greg Durrell explains why the story of Canadian graphic design needed to be told
Having raised almost $100,000 on Kickstarter, Design Canada, a film about the history of Canadian graphic design is premiering this summer – five years since Greg Durrell – partner at Hulse & Durrell – and his collaborators Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit began filming. We caught up with Durrell to find out more about the project...
What inspired you to start the project?
Growing up in Canada, I realised I was surrounded by beautiful symbols and logos, but I could never really find any information about them. As my frustration grew, I decided to make a film about it. When I began the project I didn’t even know anyone who had made a film before. A mutual friend put me in contact with Jessica and Gary and a half-decade later, the rest is history.
Did you discover any new work?
I feel like I discovered archives which had not been seen in decades. Tracking down Canada’s design pioneers was often a challenge. Little information existed about them online and when I showed up at their homes often I would be looking through their body of work for the first time. The Canadian design story was not documented in the same way as in the UK or US.
Who were you most excited to talk to?
Having the opportunity to interview Massimo Vignelli about Canadian design two years before he passed was a huge honour.
How did you keep motivated over the long timeline of the project? And why did you decide to delay the film’s release in 2017?
The story was something I was very passionate about and I knew from the start that it would take years to complete. I believe that small daily habits can build into extraordinary outcomes, so motivation wasn’t a huge issue. I’ve always enjoyed long-term over short-term projects.
The decision to delay the release was doing what was best for the film. We had a narrative thread that weaved some of our stories together, and it was not working. It was one of those situations where on paper it sounded great but in execution it was off, and we knew we could fix it. This resulted in delaying our release nine months, blowing up our timeline, reshooting new stories and then reassembling everything. It was worth it.
Do you think the film will help boost Canada’s design reputation?
Regardless of what it does, or does not do for Canada’s international perception, I hope people take away that graphic design matters and it influences our lives every day. If we can become more conscious of it and use it as a tool, we can build a better country and ultimately a better world.
How can people see the film?
Follow us at www.designcanada.com and on social @designcanfilm to stay up to date about screenings near you and the digital release at the end of the summer.
Greg Durrell is one part of Hulse & Durrell, a Vancouverbased design firm that develops brands, products and films. www. designcanada. com