Pursuing his passion to it’s fullest, fostering typographic education, Christopher Rouleau co-founded Ligatures YYZ with Leslie Harrod, sharing creative resources and creations through workshops. Doodling and watching his Gran writing inspired Chris to discover the world of typography.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.
My name is Christopher Rouleau, and I am a freelance designer and lettering artist. I use traditional hand-lettering, calligraphy and sign painting for clients (logos, restaurants displays, commissions, etc.) as well as for my own personal art practice. I also teach lettering workshops with Ligatures, Toronto’s typography meet-up organization, which I co-founded in 2013.
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I was always the kid doodling in the margins. I loved shapes, colours, and in particular, the alphabet. I always had a fondness for my grandmother’s cursive handwriting – beautiful & rhythmic – scribed on notes, recipes and greeting cards. As a child, I can remember sitting at her kitchen table, writing the alphabet, my name, and names of the family over and over again on lined paper. I liked that anyone could write the same 26 forms on paper, but they would be slightly different. It wasn’t until about age 12 that I discovered the world of typography and fonts, and that’s when interest in design began.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the studio that you work for.
After graduating with a BFA from the University of Calgary in 2006, I started doing small graphic design projects alongside my day job at a stock photography company.In 2012, I decided to take the leap and go full-time freelance, and have never been happier. In the spring of 2016, I opened my first studio in Toronto, where I was able to grow the retail side of my business, host workshops and events, but most importantly, have a place where I can focus on my craft and create work/life balance. I am so grateful for this space, and happy to share it with creators and collaborators in Toronto.
What does a typical working day include for you right now?
I have always been an early riser. On an average weekday, I am usually up before 7am so I can get emails out of the way and head to the studio. My best, most creative time is between 9am and 11am, so I like to reserve that time for lettering work, either personal projects, client work or commissions. I have a light lunch and then run to the gym for about an hour – it’s a perfect way to break up the day and get a boost of energy. In the afternoons, I either focus on computer work (digitizing, layouts, etc.), or allot time for meetings, errands, or deliveries of my prints (I like to hand-deliver all purchases within Toronto). In the evenings, I like to cook dinner and unwind, but often do a few bits on my computer before I go to bed around 10:30pm.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?
In high school, I took the mandatory “career quiz” that was supposed to highlight my aptitudes and point me towards the best post-secondary school. The quiz did not work.
If I could talk to my 16 year-old self, I would tell him (and everyone!) that no quiz can predict the path that lies ahead. It is vital that you uncover what you are passionate about – what you love doing – and pursue that to the fullest. Release any fear that your happiness rests in this one decision, because your passion will inevitably change and evolve. Work hard, be kind to everyone, and have fun.
Any passion projects you would like to share?
I am extremely passionate about the creation and sharing of creative resources, and I believe that Toronto has some of the most talented creatives in the world. This is why I co-founded Ligatures, which fosters typographic education & promotes local talent through workshops, lectures and events in Toronto. One of our most popular events is Pixel & Bristle, a showcase of the best typographic prints and products in Toronto. We are proudly celebrating our fourth anniversary this fall, and we are looking forward to more exciting projects & collaborations in the coming months.