Today's episode features Toronto-based graphic designer and lettering artist, Christopher Rouleau. He's back on the podcast one year after his first appearance, this time chatting about his newest project called The New Pop!
Here's a primer from Christopher about the collection:
"Packaged consumer goods are an ideal subject to explore socio-economic systems. "These carefully manufactured and immaculately finished cartons allude to the powerful (yet invisible) force behind the production and marketing of the products themselves... they are symbols of the complicated network of demand and supply essential to the formation of a consumerist culture" (MoMA). Product branding — the sophisticated visual language that manipulates our relationship with products — is essentially just strategic placement of colour and text.
Despite consumer's best efforts" to "support local", many of Canada's favourite companies are in fact owned by US mega-corporations. Even wholly-owned Canadian brands only offer the illusion of choice (including Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Valu-mart and Shoppers Drug Mart — all subsidiaries of the Loblaw Companies conglomerate). Brands under the same corporate umbrella sell us the same items at drastically different prices. Corporations benefit from consumer complacency, and furthermore, profit from this type of misaligned brand loyalty and product nationalism.
Christopher uses traditional sign painting techniques to create a false screen print overlay with acrylic paint, which in itself is a critique of the medium (real vs. imposter). Through careful juxtaposition, wordplay, and exaggerated scale, he subverts familiar legacy packaging to make us look closer. The New Pop urges us to think more critically about branding, the Canadian identity, and our everyday consumption."
During our conversation, we also chat about his other recent hand lettering and art projects, his creative process, as well as a very special source of inspiration from the home of his Grandmother. Let's listen in...
About Our Guest:
Christopher Rouleau is an independent graphic designer and lettering artist in Toronto. Along with his full-time freelance work, he is also a public speaker, lettering instructor, and published author, and his work has been featured in Spacing Magazine, Uppercase Magazine & Flare Magazine. He attended the Alberta College of Art & Design, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary. He recently received a Communication Arts Award of Excellence in Typography.
Music (public domain via freesound.org): Kesta - IOverjoy
Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle