5 Designers Recognized as Fellows

On June 8, 2022 the Design Professionals of Canada (DesCan), at its Annual General Meeting, honoured 5 Canadian designers as Fellows.

Fellowship is awarded by DesCan to a designer who, by accomplishment or influence, has made a major contribution to graphic/communication design in Canada. It is the highest honour that can be bestowed by the Society and has only been granted to 72 other individuals since 1960. The recipients this year were Bruce Mau of Toronto, Ontario; Amanda Schutz of Edmonton, Alberta; Greg Durrell of Vancouver, BC; Marian Bantjes of Bowen Island, BC; and Blair Thomson of Mono, Ontario.

Marian Bantjes is a BC-based designer who has been recognized internationally for her intricate and beautifully complex typography and illustrative designs, and as an inspiration to countless design students. A former DesCan Vancouver communications chair, Marian shared “I’m so pleased to be recognized as a Fellow of DesCan. It’s not something I ever thought would happen.”

Bruce Mau is renowned around the world in both the design and non-design communities for his groundbreaking design and design thinking. In Bruce’s own words, “Thank you to the Society for this honour. As a young designer starting out in Toronto, I was inspired by some of the names on the list of Design Professionals of Canada Fellows. They were my heroes, and it is deeply meaningful to be considered among such august company and recognized as a Canadian for my contributions in the field of design.”

Greg Durrell is the driving force behind the influential Design Canada film documentary which tells the story of the evolution of the Canadian design scene, starting back in the 1960s with the work of many DesCan Fellows. Greg commented “I’m honoured to receive this Fellowship from DesCan and my peers. I am grateful for design pioneers such as Burton Kramer, Fritz Gottschalk, and Rolf Harder who helped establish our industry in Canada and made the job I love a possibility — thank you.

To all my friends and family who have supported my passion to become a designer and put up with many years of heated conversations about logo redesigns, or driving me to the middle of nowhere so I could film a sign, thank you.

I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some outstanding designers and our collaborations have spanned decades. To Ben Hulse, Matthew Boyd, Clea Forkert, Alexander Shoukas, I would not be receiving this Fellowship today if it were not for our collaborations and friendship, thank you.

Becoming a DesCan Fellow is an honour I don’t take lightly and I consider this a challenge to continue to create work that has longevity and to seek ambitious opportunities to make our country, and the world, a better place. To DesCan and my peers, thank you.”

Amanda Schutz is an Alberta-based designer who is not only a former DesCan Edmonton president, but is the creative genius behind the Women In Design website. “Every day of the past 20 years, I have been grateful to be a designer in such exciting times and in such a wonderful part of the world.” she declared. “The outstanding design scene in Canada owes a huge debt to its champions of education, advocacy, and excellence, and to be honoured by those champions in my lifetime is something I will spend the rest of my career attempting to deserve.”

Blair Thomson is an Ontario-based designer and archivist who has been gathering and celebrating the work of Canadian designers from the 1960s through to the mid-80s on the Canada Modern website. “To be recognized for what I do is one thing… but to be recognized by an organization I respect so much, and who are such huge a part of the story I champion, is the greatest of honours.” Blair stated. “Thank you for acknowledging my continued efforts and commitment.”

DesCan President Marga Lopez CDP remarked “This year’s Fellowship recipients have made an immeasurable impact on our industry and are strong promoters of the values and principles of our organization. As recognized leaders in their specific areas of expertise, their contributions and inspiration will continue to support DesCan’s commitment to growing design excellence, innovation, creativity, and leadership of Canadian design.”

You can read the biographies of each of this year’s Fellows, plus many of the previous nominees here.