The partner spotlight is a weekly series where we go behind the scenes with some of the companies that make VendorDB great. Next up is Agent Illustrateur!
Name: Agent Illustrateur
Year Founded: August 2008, in the middle of the crash!
Specialties: A Montreal-based design and illustration studio working with international clients of the B2B, editorial and commercial sectors.
What inspired you to start your company?
I was a freelancer for a bit, working for agencies and whatnot after graduation. I got the blues after two years because I was too eager to move forward with my ideas and vision instead of following orders, so I started Agent Illustrateur out of pure recklessness. It was a difficult journey but I’m very excited about where it’s going right now.
What was the first job someone hired you for?
It was a pretty bizarre gig for Quebec Provincial Police. I had to design and illustrate dozens of animal heads in order for the snipers to know exactly where to aim so they could kill sick or hurt animals with a single shot, minimizing the suffering.
Which work or brand are you best known for?
A Holiday stamp for United States Postal Service (USPS) permanent collection, launched last year. I also have to say UK’s Toblerone holiday chocolate bar’s packaging from 2012.
What is the smartest work you’ve seen in the past year that didn’t come from your shop?
I recently fell in love with the work of a very unique artist, Steve Spazuk, a French-Canadian artist using candle flames to create his masterpieces. It’s brilliant and inspiring. One day I’ll purchase a whole series from him. You simply can’t be indifferent when you look at his work and process.
How has the business changed since you started?
We didn’t have the same pressure back then; now, everybody wants the deliverables for yesterday and expects great quality. It’s a challenge that’s getting tougher each day for a business focused on delivering high-end services and customer delight. Also, every creatives now has to be business savvy, have a strategy and know how to market themselves on multiple channels. Before, you could have those crazy ideas and still work like an artist, in your own little bubble, waiting to be discovered.
What do you make of the trend where brands are skipping their agency of record to work directly with production partners?
We’re these kinds of production partners; we’re small, so we’re quick, humble and clients appreciate the flexibility, so yes, I’m loving it! For example, it does wonder for a multinational client having local chapters that needs specific work. It’s all a matter of collaboration, transparency and at the end, efficient results for the client.
And you know what, we do collaborate with big agencies of record on specialty projects because we are specialized in distinct areas. So it’s not exactly a nasty competition all the time.
What advice do you have for agency producers or creatives?
Business wise: whatever the context, the client or the type of work, always give a top notch customer service, even if the client gives you a hard time.
Creativity wise: allow yourself to be bored and don’t bother to follow trends.
What is the best thing about working at Agent Illustrateur?
We have a beautiful brick and mortar office in Old Montreal, but designers & freelancers can work from home 100% of the time if they want, thanks to technology!
The pet mascot is a parrot. That’s kinda cool too.
Where is the best bar in Agent Illustrateur’s neighborhood?
Forget the bar, you have to eat breakfast or lunch at Olive and Gourmando right at the corner of our office, anything from their menu is to die for! Then you come by the office and we’ll have fresh beers in the fridge, for after work of course…