Designed With Love: How It All Started

By Isabelle (Izzy) Poirier and Ariane Bédard

“The Ottawa Design Club isn’t about a postal code, it’s about a feeling.”


About a year ago, I was sipping a cocktail at the Darling bistro in Montreal. Suddenly, I was invited by pure coincidence by one of my IG contacts (now my good friend) Sergio Vega Perry. He was inviting me to attend the Montreal Design Club, Print edition.

Intrigued, I decided to check it out! It’s always scary to visit a community event when you are from another city. The event was starting in the next hour (I had to chug my drink lol!)

When I walked in the space, the energy was welcoming and I immediately felt at home! There were some activities, food and drinks and a lot of networking.The speakers that night were Mathieu Lachapelle and Eliane Cadieux, they were amazing and very engaging. I was blown away. I left with a phone full of new contacts, I was energized and inspired. I couldn’t remember the last time I left an event feeling like this. That’s when everything clicked, I wanted to bring this amazingness to Ottawa!

Ottawa Design Club

Two weeks later, I sent a message to Kassandre who is the Co-Founder of the Montreal Design Club and asked if they wanted to franchise. I really wanted to have the Montreal family as part of the Ottawa family (plus I wanted to be their friend so badly!).

Fast forward to February 2020, there are now 3 design clubs: Montréal, Marseille and Ottawa. We are a big international family of design creatives. Our different backgrounds, life experience, personal taste and personalities are at the core of our brand. We each bring something different to the table and that’s why the design club is so rich. It can’t get better than this!

Even though Covid-19 has set us back a bit by making us postpone our in-person speaker series, we pivoted and stayed engaged with our community online. Our members are wonderful. Without them, the club wouldn’t be what it is today. We are lucky!

I’m excited to see where the club is going in this new normal. We are trying new things and maybe it won’t work...maybe it will be a success, who knows? We invite you to be part of our journey. The more the merrier! Our policy is, if you have a heartbeat and interest in design (in every sense of the term), you’re in!

Isabelle Poirier (Izzy)

Thank you Sergio, without you the Ottawa Design Club wouldn't be what it is today! If you ever see Sergio at our events, please go say hi!

Ottawa Design Club

It’s really funny how life works. The night Izzy was sitting in that room, falling in love with the Montreal Design Club community is the same night I watched instagram stories of Mathieu speaking at that same event, wishing so badly I could’ve attended. Yep, even though Izzy and I didn’t know each other, we both discovered the Montreal Design Club at the same time!

Ottawa Design Club

What I never expected is that one year later, I would be joining forces with that complete stranger to help bring the Ottawa Design Club to life. I am still pinching myself.

The truth is I’ve always wanted to be part of a community like this one. Ever since I started my journey in graphic design, I’ve had this itch to create something bigger than myself, to bring people together and share my passion with others. I just had no idea how. I would attend other creative events, volunteer at them and try different things but I always felt like an outsider, I never quite fit in.

When I saw the instagram post announcing the Ottawa Design Club, I flipped. I immediately sent them a DM asking how I could get involved. I had a feeling this might be my shot at being part of something great. I am SO glad I did.

What we wish for our club is for no one to feel like they don’t fit in. I want everyone to feel at home, whether they work in-house at the government or as an art director in the coolest agency in town, it doesn’t matter. We all have a common passion for creativity and design and that is what we want to celebrate.

Even though we are at the very beginning of this journey, the club is already exceeding my expectations. I’ve already met so many amazing people and feel incredibly proud of what we have accomplished.

We hope you will find inspiration reading this blog, flipping through our zine or attending our virtual workshops and we can’t wait to meet you in person soon!

Ariane Bédard

Get to know us a little better. Listen to our conversation with the Montreal Design Club on their Podcast!

Read More Blogs!

Connect with us!

Got a question, comment, or just curious?