Julien


Totally smitten for the font Julien by Peter Bi─żak (Typotheque), who also created another favourite of mine, History.
(via Typographica's Favourite Typefaces of 2011)

Desiderata


Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. 
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. 
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. 
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. 
Strive to be happy.


-Max Ehrmann, 1927
(Thanks for the reminder, Auntie!)

NEUnited


I was contacted back in August of 2011 to create a logo for a new online forum for Northeastern University (in Boston, Massachusetts). NEUnited is a blog for students & alumni to share stories about LGBT life at NU.  Huge thanks to Greg for contacting me - it has been an honour working with you and Joe these past few months. I wish you both the best of luck!

Check out the site here.


Winter


It's a snowy day in Toronto this Friday the 13th. I hope you all have a warm, lovely weekend.

-CR

Alphabet 100

This year, I decided to devote more time to 2 of my favourite things: sketching and lettering.

I'm happy to announce a new project called Alphabet 100. I designed this sheet to help me organize my ideas (based on this exercise from my art school days). Every week, I will print out this template, choose one glyph, and create 100 rough sketches. From there, I will place the best / coolest / most interesting solution in the top corner, and then render it in Illustrator. My plan is to post the roughs and final version on the new blog every Wednesday. I should be able to cover all 52 glyphs (26 upper case, 26 lower case) in the 52 weeks of 2012 (fingers crossed!)

Let me introduce the first letter: capital A!

And, the final refined vector drawing:

Please subscribe to the new blog if you'd like to follow the progress.

And if you'd like to try it yourself, please download and print the free template here.

Let the fun begin!

Housekeeping


Nothing feels better than have organized, inspiring workspace. After surviving the holidays and catching up on sleep and RSS feeds, I finally got around to dusting and tidying my office. The last time I changed up my wall was 2 years ago (!), so it was about time for a fresh look. Below are a few close-ups!

Here's Po the Teletubby, and my Love letterpress print I created with Tanya at snap + tumble.

This is an awesome alphabet exercise book (also from Tanya!) and some porcelain kitties from Grandma.

This is a watercolour I found from grade 6 (who knew I'd end up living in Toronto?)

This is an antique Speedball alphabet book I found back in 2009, a Rubik's cube, and a white serpentine stone.

This is a postcard from my trip to Istanbul, a photo of my grandparents, and some letterpress blocks.

This is a name block (from my Veer days), another kitty from Grandma, a letterpress print from Tanya, and some antique date blocks I found at the St. Lawrence Market.

And this is a framed version of my alphabet print, available in my shop.
(Special thanks to everyone who placed orders over the holidays!)

Looking back, moving forward


2011 was a busy, awesome year, filled with some big changes, exciting landmarks, and new beginnings. As I move into 2012, I'd like to take a moment to look back on some of the goodness of this amazing year:
  • In January, I started a side project called 12 over 12, where I planned investigate the numbers 1 through 12 - one per month - from January to December, 2011.
  • On February 1, I launched my professional website, christopherrouleau.com (with the help of my ridiculously talented friend, Chris Roberts). I also created my first batch of handmade business cards to get things rolling.
  • In March, I visited my grandparents in Saskatchewan. It was lovely.
  • April rolled around, and I was thrilled to design the identity and season posters for Shakespeare Toronto. I even saw my first poster outside MuchMusic headquarters, which was awesome. (Huge thanks to Peter McHugh for this opportunity!) I also got to design a scripty wordmark for 32blades.com, a syncronized skating blog/forum. (Thanks Chelsey!)
  • June was ridiculously fabulous when I launched the Official Gay Card into the world, a fun website and print piece created to celebrate Pride 2011. The project went viral after it was picked up by Dan Savage at the Slog,  Andy Towle at Towleroad, Trendhunter, and NOW Magazine. After one month, the site had almost 70,000 page views from 137 countries, 2450 PDF downloads & 1575 iPhone downloads. So much fun!
  • In July, I was fortunate enough to visit two Canadian National Parks for the first time - Niagara Falls and Banff. Stunning². In between trips, I was asked to design and hand-bind a series of chapbooks for David Bateman, which were a lot of fun. (Thanks David!) July also marked my 5 year blogoversary.
  • In August, I was able to visit Montreal - and take lots of pictures.
  • September was a busy month. I launched a promo piece called "10* reasons to work with me" - you can see pictures here and here. I also got to design some super fun typographic art prints for a young lad named Lincoln. (Thanks again Stacey!) And finally, I launched two fun task-managment print pieces: the "Let's Get Sh*t Done Sheet" and the "What The H*ll's For Dinner Sheet".
  • In October, I designed a logo for Fulcrum Group, an HR consulting company in Alberta. (Thanks Gary!) I also had the joy of creating my first oil painting for some good friends, Hugh and Tracey. It was a lot of fun. At the end of October, I also announced that I would officially be pursuing freelance graphic design full-time in 2012. Exciting!
  • November was another busy one. After a lovely, relaxing visit to Ottawa, I saw my first non-fiction book cover design come to life. It was so exciting to see the book at the launch, and get a copy in my hands. I also launched my shop and made my first art print available for sale.
  • And, December. On the first day of the month, I launched the Toronto Etiquette Project. This little passion project exploded in the national media, and I found myself on CBC RadioCTV National News, and on the cover of the Toronto Star newspaper. It was a shock and an honour. Feel free to read the exciting progression on my blog here. As of today, the blog has been viewed just under 20,000 times, and the cards have been downloaded almost 3000 times.
As I transition fully into my new freelance career, there are a lot of unknowns about what 2012 will bring. But having said that, I could have never guessed how 2011 was going to unravel one year ago - and I couldn't be happier. Here are some exciting things to watch out for:
  • another annual blog project(s) - announcement(s) coming soon
  • Toronto Etiquette Project 2.0 - coming January/February (hopefully!)
  • more art prints in the shop - as soon as I can
  • Official Gay Card 2.0 - June 2012
  • more typographic love on this blog (as well as some possible collaborations...)
If you or anyone you know needs a designer, or you want to chat about cats or fonts, do not hesitate to send me an email:
hello [at] christopherrouleau [dot] com

And if you are on Twitter, let's be friends! Find me at:
@Chris_Rouleau

Thanks for making 2011 the best year ever. Here's to another great one!

xoxo,
CR