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The Public is an activist design studio specializing in changing the world.

The Public is a community-centered, social justice design studio that works alongside non-profits, grassroots organizations, and people trying to change the world for the better.

We engage in a diversity of creative strategies to envision and practice this kind of world.

  • Our graphic design work (everything from flyers to videos, t-shirts to websites) supports broader social movements while being as unique and inspiring as our clients.
  • Our popular education resources and co-creative workshops create opportunities for folks to share skills and build capacity among themselves to create the just world they wish to see.
  • Our studio itself is available to rent to folks who share our vision for a better world, and our window gallery always features work by local artists, designers, and activists.

The Public is built on over a decade of love and care that we continue to invest in, offering experiences that are as relational and thoughtful as they are critical and groundbreaking. We are a team of activists, creatives, and friends, and for us, the personal is always political. Our work continues to be informed by our lived experiences as queer and/or racialized people.

We are not just committed to ethical and sustainable practices; we are defined by them. We believe in and practice eco-friendly printing processes, progressive hiring, democratic decision-making, and local purchasing. We are very present in the communities we work in and with and strive to make a positive impact on their cultures, environments, and economies.

Our team is:

Sheila Sampath (principal & creative director)

Sheila Sampath is an artist, educator, and graphic designer crafting creative for social good since 2003. Former chair of the board at the TRCC/MWAR, she has a background in grassroots anti-oppression organizing and activism, which she incorporates into her strategic and participatory approach to graphic design and trauma-informed facilitation. She is the editorial and art director of award-winning feminist magazine, Shameless, an assistant professor of alternative and speculative practices at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, a member of the British Council’s TN2020 Network, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Artists. Sheila holds a diploma in graphic design from the George Brown School of Design and an Honours BSc. in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Toronto. She has lectured internationally on community-centred creative praxis, alternative media, and anti-oppressive work. Her first book, Letters Lived, was published by Three O’Clock Press in the fall of 2013.

Natalia Saveedra (principal & creative director)

Natalia Saavedra (principal & creative director) is a graphic designer and artist interested in popular education, design practices outside of the mainstream, and learning from/contributing to grassroots and social movements in Toronto and beyond. They have worked with various anti-oppressive and anti-authoritarian community-based organizations, both as a community organizer and as a designer. Nat holds a Bachelor of Design degree from OCAD University, has taught at the School of Design at George Brown College, and is a collective member of the Radical Design School, a grassroots community response to graphic media needs in the city of Toronto and beyond.

LJ Robinson (art director & graphic designer)

LJ Robinson is a designer and illustrator who has been creating communications for resistance in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto for the past 10 years. Politicized by student movements, they have worked as both an organizer and designer on promotional strategies and visual language for initiatives such as the Rainbow Reels Queer & Trans Film Festival (2011-2013), Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Waterloo Public Interest Group (WPIRG), Free2Pee at George Brown College, York University Graduate Students’ Association, and Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Queering Sex Ed project. LJ holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Waterloo and studied Graphic Design at George Brown College, receiving an Equity Award for their design thesis project, a toolkit for small businesses to promote the safety of trans and gender nonconforming people accessing public bathrooms.

Derek Hogue (preferred contract web developer)

For over 15 years Derek Hogue has been designing and developing websites for radical publishers, artists and musicians, and non-profit advocacy organizations across Canada and beyond. An HTML and CSS expert, he is also an experienced PHP developer, and deeply-versed in content-management platforms such as Craft, ExpressionEngine, and WordPress. He designed and developed the free, open-source WordPress plugin GigPress (acquired by Modern Tribe in 2016), which has become an essential tool used by musicians and artists the world-over; and his custom ExpressionEngine add-ons have won numerous awards and nominations.

The Public Studio
58 Lansdowne Ave.
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 2V9

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