Him and Her Paris Lectures

In Design, Paris Lectures, Work Life
Our February 23rd Paris Lectures event featuring Him and Her digital studio helped us recognize the benefits of being a creative couple. It was an evening of celebrating the return of Paris Lectures to 2016, and we talked, we laughed, we argued (more on that below), and we came away inspired.

We discovered Erin and Justin of Him and Her, a talented digital studio out of Kitchener and our latest Paris Lectures presenters, through the distributors list for The Great Discontent. We were A) surprised there was someone out our way who carried TGD and B) amazed at the parallels in our lives. Like us, Erin and Justin are a married couple with design and computer science backgrounds who are encouraging creative community by hosting the popular Brew Over Design networking events twice a year.

Issue 1 of The Great Discontent
Issue One of The Great Discontent

When we finally met in person, we discovered Erin sported a baby bump similar in size to the one on Cass – they are expecting in April, and our girl is due in May. But it is more than that – we share a similar frame of mind and approach to community building. And like so many other speakers who don’t hesitate to say ‘yes’ to sharing their story at Paris Lectures, we quickly realized Erin and Justin are a special breed of people whom we are lucky to have met.

Justin Frenette and Erin Martin, Him and Her
Justin Frenette and Erin Martin, Him and Her

A friend asked us prior to the event about the speakers and what they did. When we explained to them Him and Her’s background, our friend said, “Oh – but that sounds like you guys.” They seemed to imply that we should be the authority in this space, but we were making a conscious decision to connect with people like Erin and Justin. In our experience being open always leads to more possibilities.

During this Lecture we fully embraced the “creative couples” theme, recognizing that many of our biggest supporters and influences have been couples – from our friends and supporters Kim and Steve of Studio50, to Tina and Ryan of Great Discontent, to Kelly and Andy who donated a Rock Paper Scissors hoodie for our giveaway. We were even drawn to previous speakers – Monigram, for instance – because of the collaborative relationship that drives their business.

For our stoke – the regular creative warmup exercise we arrange for each event – we encouraged people to embrace the cathartic release of arguing for argument’s sake. We showed the crowd the Monty Python sketch of “Argument Clinic” then asked folks to turn to their partners and argue for one whole minute about whether the room was too hot or too cold. We figured giving this directive might bypass any real arguments people were inclined to have!


During the talk, we learned about Erin and Justin’s approach to branding as a full-service digital studio. We were inspired by how they incorporated details from makers and artisans to create brands that felt more authentic, such as when they hired Erin’s grandpa to create custom aprons for the baristas at Settlement Co, a coffee roaster and eatery in Waterloo.

Just a sample of the incredible work shown by Him and Her

We are ever inspired by the community that shows up as well. Early on we asked how many people were out to one of our events for the first time, and nearly half the room raised their hands. This impressed us, and we realized we still have so much of Paris and surrounding communities to reach. We’re excited about growing Paris Lectures over the next year, trying new things, meeting new people and pushing the idea a little further.

On the same hand, relationships with our regulars get ever deeper and more meaningful. Steve Howes, a playground designer, won a raffle at an early Paris Lectures event and has been coming back ever since. He brought us this amazing gift – a 1989 map of Paris drawn by him and his friend, Brian Jenkins, which shows the town prior to its recent housing development boom and even has the intersection of Jane and Jury streets! We were completely touched and can’t wait to frame it for our studio.

For our next event (Save the date: March 30st) we are trying something new. We will be hosting a Creative Show and Tell, where we’ll invite 10-20 speakers to show and talk about a creative project they are working on, have worked on or simply would like to share. Talks will be short, about two minutes each, and no sales pitches (selling other people’s products) allowed. It’s an experiment, but we’re excited to see what projects come out of the woodwork! Stay tuned on the Paris Lectures Facebook or Twitter pages, or sign up to our mailing list, as we will announce the event logistics and call for proposals early next week.


Until then – the HUGEST of thanks to Him and Her for speaking and to our event sponsors Mailchimp, Studio50, Stillwaters, Rock Paper Scissors, individuals Marc Lafferiere and Wonderful Ida for lending us equipment, and to all our attendees who RSVP’d with a donation – your support helps us keep this going. We are so humbled and grateful.


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