Shit Happens. Great Experiences Are Designed.
Ottawa (343) 887-5303

Beautiful, Functional, And Meaningful Creative Without the Friction of an Agency.

We Create Outstanding Experiences.

The Art Department is a boutique consultancy built on the idea that finely-tuned experiences are shaped by innovative thinking, experimentation, and above all, collaboration. We are creative strategists and strategic creatives: seasoned problem-solvers who remove the layers and overhead of agencies to work directly with your team, learn your audience’s story, and design experiences with impact.

Expertise

  • Strategy
  • 
Brand + Story
  • 
UX + Visual Design
  • 
Film + Motion

Sectors

  • Associations
  • Rights + Environment
  • 
Arts + Culture

  • Higher Education
  • Technology
  • 
Lifestyle

Adept - Accelerated Problem Solving

An Accelerated Approach To Innovation.

Designed around speed, collaboration, and experimentation, Adept is an accelerated approach to problem-solving that helps teams quickly identify opportunities for innovation. Over the span of day or two, The Art Department works directly with your stakeholders and support teams to instil a better understanding of business challenges and their direct relationship to audience needs. By collaboratively focusing on issues and designing solutions iteratively, we ensure teams take ownership over business goals, start thinking like their customers, and unite on a vision for a better product.

People.

Great Creative Comes From Experience.

Everyone has the capacity to be creative. We’ve chosen to spend our lives at it.

The idea behind the Art Department is simple: we’ve gathered the most talented, experienced strategists, designers, storytellers and producers in Ottawa under one umbrella to provide unparalleled creative for clients who truly care about beauty and attention to detail. Our team is led by craftsmen with ten, fifteen, and twenty years under their belts, each with their own unique set of skills, and all sharing in a passion for delivering beautiful, functional, and meaningful creative.

Peter Wall. Strategy.

Peter Wall

A charismatic problem solver, storyteller, producer, award-winning video journalist, public speaker, and entrepreneur… Peter is a man who lets little get in the way of his dreams. In just two decades, he’s produced and directed numerous films for the CBC, launched a technology startup, founded a co-working space in Bali, and directed marketing and communications for Canada C3’s massive, 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria. And despite all of his success, the first thing he will tell you is that all he truly cares about is making great stuff.

   

Ben Waldman. Creative.

Ben Waldman

Beginning in live events back in 1992, through to his first agency, his two startups, and his years spent as Creative Director at bv02, Ben has built a career as a creative lead with a deep skillset — and a serious problem keeping his hands off of production. Delivering motion, design, branding, and product for major consumer and entertainment brands, national associations, and organizations in higher education, health, and the arts, he has earned a reputation for his ability to synthesize limited information while ensuring complex problems get an elegant solution.

   

Kelly Khan. Management.

Kelly Khan

In her 20 years in marketing, management, and operations for agencies, Kelly Khan has learned pretty much all there is to know about running a firm: she’s led project management, business development, and finance; designed HR, sales, and customer relations processes for a team of 45; written hundreds of proposals and dotted the I’s on thousands more; and led an entire digital agency as Managing Director. What’s more, clients love her for the same reasons we do: she’ll charm your socks off, she’s about the most organized person on the planet, and when you deal with Kelly you get the straight goods.

 

Gary Jansz. UX.

Gary Jansz

If there’s one person you want as an advocate for your audience, it’s Gary Jansz. Our resident champion of user-first design, Gary is not only a fount of knowledge when it comes to UX, information architecture, and content strategy, but an incredible facilitator who challenges norms by using experimentation to solve business problems. In the 15 years Gary’s been in his field, he’s worked at agencies in Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa, helping organizations like Fox, Just For Laughs, the NHL, United Way, the NCC and Algonquin College to innovate by thinking like their audiences.

 

Christian Sauvé. Design.

Christian Sauvé

An Art Director with an insatiable appetite for learning and a keen eye for beauty, function, and detail, Christian is from a rare breed: a designer who understands the importance of data in branding. Plucked from school in 1998 by Nonlinear Creations, he was quickly set to work on high-profile projects where he refined his skillset in both brand and UX until he eventually rose to Web Design Lead at Corel. There, he used data-informed design to increase revenue — an approach he takes seriously in all of his design work to this day.

   

Neil Dowling. Film.

Neil Dowling

An award-winning writer, director and producer, Neil has spent most of the last twenty years behind or around the camera, using film to capture emotions and tell engaging stories. As one half of Seoul, Korea’s Contented, Neil’s work has been featured in Saatchi and Saatchi’s New Directors’ Showcase at Cannes, and has been nominated from for Best International Video in the 2011 UK Music Video awards. Neil’s debut feature film, Finding Joy was awarded Best Film (Narrative) at the 2013 Liverpool Lift-Off Film Festival.

   

Manifesto.

Question. Listen. Think. Design. Repeat. Whatever you’re working on, there’s a good chance it’s been done before. So what? Do it better. Your work isn't yours, it belongs to your audience. Work with people who are better than you. Be thick-skinned. Listen and learn, dammit. A ‘no’ is just a ‘yes’ that hasn’t been impressed yet. Work smart, not late. Invest in good gear: it will save you time, and it looks cool. Failing that, find a pencil. Never do multiple comps: the best design is the best design… period. Break it. Clean it up. Make it better. If you use good design to do bad things, you deserve a punch in the neck. Be a better human. Never confuse social media with a social life: the dancing is better in the real world. Working down to the wire is exciting. It will also kill you in the long run. Take care of your eyes, your hands, your ears, and your back: you can’t create without them. Stick to your word. You can’t do business with out it. Always answer the phone. Parking is never easy, just show up early. Be honest, authentic and true to yourself. Teach someone, share what you know, and give back. Get out. Travel. Do something different. Be bold. Take risks. Be inspired.

Connect.

Let's Make Great Stuff Together.