To celebrate the New Year we have produced a list of important creative talent in the country and introduce them both as inspiration and to give the business community a guide to our premier design talent. This was a tough list to put together. The well is deep but our selections concentrate on people who consistently bring amazing ideas to the world and raise the value and relevance of design. It is our feeling that these people will be the drivers of design in 2012, sparking growth, imagination, and enriching the creative experience in Canada.

Marian Bantjes – A one-person design powerhouse who has created a global marketplace for her ideas and illustrative style.  Her work comes from an obsessive mission to bring wonder to the world. Bantjes’ work proves Canadian design is a desirable export and that prestige clients will look north if we give them a confident vision.

Peter FriesenPreloved pioneered green design, creating a high-end fashion label remixed with existing clothing.  Cutting, sewing and hacking clothing into new clothing, Friesen’s process as Creative Director is truly an innovation. This approach gives the Preloved line a richer story, and both the consumer and the planet win. This process is seeking new outlets and it would be wise to learn from Preloved’s success.

Zoe Coombes – Nailing the space between design and architecture, Coombes’ work evolves like a Canadian explorer breaking new ground. An expert in new languages for objects to reflect contemporary life, her studio has become the darling of the New York design elite, evidence that Canuck design thinking is being picked up around the globe.

Doublenaut – Brothers Andrew and Matt McCracken have singlehandedly created an addictive graphic design look that has spread like wildfire into the Canadian design scene.  Masters at using social media and traditional swaps to push their unique style, they are always finding fantastic outlets and collaborators. Unpretentious, they are keen to work with a broad collection of clients, big or small, a lesson for all designers.

Cristina Covello – A dedicated force for good in the world, Covello taps the potential of design to make meaningful improvements in our community. Her work is a template for any designer wanting to have a positive influence in the world.

Carey Ann Schaefer – Clearly the Avantgarde of the Canadian scene, Schaefer has been using design process to make marvelous art. An object poet, her work reminds us how much wonder is contained in the things around us; that objects can wake us up and invite us to new ideas and joy.

Rita – Quebec is full of big name design talent but Karine Corbeil and Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard are carving out some of the coolest turf with their fresh body of work. Their studio uses design in a broad way, embracing everything from interiors and architecture to graphic design and products, reminding us that great design has few edges.

Stéphane MonnetWith a solid background across multiple design outputs, Monnet has built a reputation for dropping the ego and putting his clients’ needs out front. No trendy statements or modernist cookie cutting, his work remains focused and classy. His work will continue to help clients solve their problems, and not as a vehicle carrying the latest graphic trend.

Bookhou – Springing from the Toronto craft community, Arounna Khounnoraj and John Booth’s work always stood out. Linking design to craft, they produce a straightforward collection of beautiful and thoughtful products to stimulate the eye and heart. Bookhou will keep raising the bar, lifting craft from its folksy roots to contemporary sensibility.

Lukas Peet – Seemingly coming out of nowhere this multi-disciplinary designer has been a quick study, breathing new life into the furniture business in Canada. Completely broken free from traditional Canadiana or the wood themes that dominate interiors in Canada, he will continue to be a fresh departure with a global aesthetic.

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