2017 IW Winners

Business of the Year - Sudbury

Design de Plume

Design de Plume

Design de Plume pride themselves on bringing graphic design services to the communities that need them.

It helps that the three owners of the Sudbury graphic design studio bring impressively diverse portfolios to the table, as well as impressively diverse experiences.

Design de Plume is one of the only all-female owned and operated design studios in Northern Ontario.

Owners Jennifer Taback, Melissa Deschenes, and Meggan Van Harten think this gives them a unique edge.

“It’s exciting for us to bring in new perspectives to a field that’s been male-dominated,” said Taback. “The way we communicate is different; we reach a different audience.”

Taback and Deschenes started Design de Plume right after graduating from Cambrian College’s graphic design program in 2009. Another Cambrian grad, Van Harten joined them in 2013.

Although they’re going into their eighth year, they’re still a relatively young company, and with young ownership. Their youth is something that’s come up as an obstacle, one they’ve worked to reframe as a benefit.

“Sometimes people feel that we’re younger even though we can compete against the same age group; if they’re men they perceive us as less experienced,” said Taback. “We try to compete against that, keeping that youthful vibe. We’re excited about projects, we’re not afraid to show that, and we’re excited to work with clients who share that energy.”

Many of their clients are new to using graphic designers.

“We really try to increase communications for underserved communities — Indigenous not-for-profit — that’s the work that gets us excited,” said Taback.

Taback is a member of Shawanaga First Nation and said having Indigenous ownership helps them serve those clients, and the feedback they get backs her up.

“The importance of understanding the subtle, but important, nuances of being able to accommodate and understand working within a First Nation cultural lens was a definite strength by this trio,” wrote their client Kim Wheatley, an Anishinaabe cultural consultant.

They can also serve the Franco-Ontarians in Sudbury, with Deschenes hailing from Quebec.

Since starting, they’ve created two more full-time positions, a graphic designer, and a web programmer. In the coming months, they plan to add another member to the team.

The trio at Design de Plume is committed to helping the next generation of graphic designers, too.

They provide several opportunities for local students to do their internships at the studio while in school, training them directly in the studio environment and providing them with valuable connections that will assist their transitions into the workplace.

“Our greatest success is being able to help other designers recognize that this field is only limited by what they’re able to learn,” said Van Harten.

As they go into their ninth year, they plan to continue learning, too.

“The future looks bright for Design de Plume as we continue to expand, grow, and look for new opportunities to support our local communities,” said Deschenes.