Highlighting the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21
After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.
Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.
Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!
When did you first learn about Young Guns?
I’m pretty sure the first time I heard about Young Guns was during my first year as a design student, when a teacher was telling us about Stefan Sagmeister (YG1) — and I don’t know why, but I feel like this anecdote is very cliché.
How did you end up in the creative field anyways?
I knew from elementary school that I wanted to become a graphic designer. However, my teenage crisis combined with a naive rebellion against society led me to study visual arts for three years before entering a graphic design program.
Congrats on the W! What motivated you to enter this year?
This year was my first time entering and it was literally now or never, as I turned 31 the day before the finalists announcement — quite a nice birthday surprise. I had been following the awards for a few years and knew I wanted to give it a chance before it was too late.
You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were strong enough to make the cut?
Bullsh*t version: I selected the work that felt the most aligned with what I intend to do in my career. So, mostly projects that have a cultural impact for clients with a great mission. I feel very lucky so far to be able to do such fun projects with non-profits, cultural organizations, and artists.
Honest version: Being only four and a half years post-graduation, I feel like my best work is still ahead of me, so it felt like a challenge to even find six projects that I thought were good enough to showcase in my application.
What was your reaction when you discovered that you won?
I read the email in question straight before a long-planned lunch date with my former creative director at Sid Lee, Marie-Elaine. I’ve worked on two projects with her that are featured in my submission, so that was my first celebration of the news. I reread the email several times during the day, because I couldn’t believe it.
In what ways does your hometown inspire your creativity as an artist?
It’s not something specific to Montreal, but I really like to look for surprising, vernacular or even accidental graphic design when walking on the streets. Like weird old store signs, homemade restaurant menus, or totally unhinged car wraps for local businesses. These are things that make me smile and inspire me in some way, even though they are not always "good design."
"I really like to look for surprising, vernacular or even accidental graphic design when walking on the streets. Like weird old store signs, homemade restaurant menus, or totally unhinged car wraps for local businesses."
Now that you’re a part of the Young Guns community, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?
Yes! There are a lot: Braulio Amado (YG13), Eric Hu (YG8), Elana Schlenker (YG13), and Nejc Prah (YG14) for their playful and experimental work. Leo Porto (YG17) and Zak Kyes (YG5) for their impactful approach to branding.
Jessica Walsh (YG8) for her fearlessness and inclusivity.
Name a creative and professional dream project that you have yet to fulfill — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!
Maybe a printed type specimen for Dinamo! Other than that, my dream clients would be museums, musicians, or fashion brands. I look forward to doing more editorial work, identities, and album covers.
This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033?
On a larger scale, I hope we will live in a more progressive, inclusive society and that our economic system will adapt to fight the climate crisis.
Will we see you at the YG21 party in NYC in November?
Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!