Key creatives: Guillaume Lavallée and Maude Turgeon.
Duration: We just celebrated Demande Spéciale’s two-year anniversary in October of 2019. Turgeon previously worked part-time at a design firm specializing in branding during her last year of university, and Lavallée has been working in graphic design for almost five years at a variety of different-sized agencies.
Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Creative process: Our specialty is branding, but branding can mean a lot! It can apply to many parts of a project and create the base for everything that comes after, like packaging, web design, wild posting campaigns and tote bags. The majority of our clients come from the cultural arena, like festivals or musicians, but we try to keep it varied. Our goal is not to just specialize in only one type of client or project, but also apply our aesthetic to a wider range of clients.
It’s more exciting when we can take a client to somewhere completely new for them, while still anchoring the brand in its value, and keeping it relevant to the field. We see projects and briefs as a problem-solving experience, where the client gives us the pieces and our job is to design a brand system that embodies those pieces in a clever, fun manner.
Artistic influences: “For me, my biggest influence came from skateboarding,” says Lavallée. “It touches on all my fields of interest: fashion, video, arts, architecture, music and sport.”
“I’ve always liked beauty merged with humor and weirdness,” says Turgeon. “I like when things are taken out of context and showcased differently. One artist I particularly love right now is the pop artist Grant Levy-Lucero and the way he takes brands and creates something new from it. Weird pretty experimentation and exploration, no matter the medium, are really inspiring to me. I also very much like clashing aesthetics, like modern versus classic. I’m pretty much about contrast and weirdness.”
Favorite projects: “I think, for me, it’s BleuRoyal,” says Turgeon. “I like a lot of our projects, but this one is from our very first client and it’s our first project that was kind of real—if we can say that. It was and still is, sold in SAQ [the government-owned liquor stores in Montréal], which means my mom can go buy it and understand a little bit of what I do for a living. And design-wise, it’s strong and it was fun to do. We worked closely with the client to choose the bottle, the cap, the paper—everything. We even made the project better when we did the shoot with photographer Nathan Lang. When I saw the pictures, I thought, ‘Damn, this case study is what I would have wanted to do if I saw them in someone else’s portfolio.’”
“My proudest project, since we’ve started the studio, is what we did for the Montréal-based photographer William Arcand,” says Lavallée. “I’m proud of every asset of this project, from the paper to the typeface to the color. It was a wonderful collaboration between us and Will.”
Work environment: We work in an open space office of nine desks with way too many windows. We share it with many creative people who come from different fields: photography, design, illustration and motion. We are almost a family and each month we do a “1124 Talk,” where we share what we did during the past month: tips, failures and inspirations.
Approach: The things that differentiate us from other creatives are our transparency and the fact that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We want to have a good time making great design, and we think we achieved that pretty well.
Philosophy: We want to be where we are not expected to be. We don’t want to put limits on ourselves. We love duality and contrast; it’s something that comes out of all of our projects, and it’s something that represents our team very well—a complementary duality.
Anything else? We don’t drink coffee, and one of us doesn’t always wear black.