The Toronto Design Directory is an online resource and community hub for graphic designers, art directors, illustrators, and other creatives in the City of Toronto. The primary focus of the TDD is the directory itself, listing nearly all design studios, ad agencies, and digital shops in Toronto. But it’s grown beyond the agency directory in recent years to include a printer directory, a showcase of talent, and bunch of events that run throughout the year.
The idea to create a website like this came to me soon after I graduated from OCAD University’s graphic design program. I didn’t know where or how to find design work, but I knew there had to be more than the two or three agencies I knew of (otherwise my 1000+ fellow grads and I were all in big trouble). It seemed like a simple solution - I just wanted a list of all the companies out there - but nothing like that existed. So I put my skills in web design and development to work and created that solution myself. I launched the Toronto Design Directory in 2014, after developing and designing it for about a year, with a list of 100 studios and agencies.
In 2014 the TDD hosted the the first run of Swash & Serif, a typography and lettering design show, with Ligatures. That show was a big success and showed me how much designers in Toronto want to participate in their community, and how much talent there is here. I’ve since created more events to showcase this talent, and help people find work. Portfolio Review Night has been running since 2016, Cool Concept, a talk series about creative passion projects, has been running since early 2018, and Swash & Serif is still going today, running every fall. I was also one of the original hosts of the Pixel & Bristle design market.
The Toronto Design Directory is constantly growing. I am constantly observing the community to see what people want and need, and looking for ways to promote Toronto design and designers to the world. I am crazy about the work being done here and it deserves to be recognized.
I’ve been a graphic designer and art director since graduating from OCAD in 2011. I got into graphic design via web development: at 13, in the very early internet days, I stumbled upon HTML and CSS. I loved solving problems and figuring out how to make things look just right with code, and eventually Paint Shop Pro came into the mix too. When it was time to choose a university program, I had to choose between graphic design and programming, and with my additional love of art, graphic design was the right choice.
I’m a born and raised Torontonian and absolutely love my home town. This drives my passion to promote Toronto designers to the world. The TDD is a passion project and side business of mine; I work full time as an art director, and I also teach part time. I work on other projects and fun stuff here and there - check out my portfolio to see the work I’m most proud of.
I created the Toronto Design Directory myself and continue to run it alone. However, I have had help here and there over the years. Thanks to all these people for pitching in: Jason Chau, Roman Swietlik, Stefan Kupych.