International Retail Design Conference 2010, Toronto

Audience: Retail designers and visual merchandisers
Items Produced: Print/Online Campaign

While I’m not a fan of conference “themes” (they tend to be trite, and programs seldom reflect them), I do like to build campaign themes around features or benefits of attending. For IRDC’s 10th year, I proposed “The retail event that has everyone talking,” to (a) emphasize the networking atmosphere of the conference, (b) reflect the degree of industry buzz IRDC generates each year and (c) make prominent use of some great attendee testimonials.

We applied the theme with “talk bubble” design elements and lots of attendee quotes—in a series of spreads for VMSD magazine, in a personalized URL/postcard effort, in the IRDC E-Newsbrief and in the 48-page brochure, which began: PASSPORTS READY? The retail event that has everyone talking is going to Toronto. Registrations were 65% ahead of the 2009 count—a phenomenal success for an industry still struggling to recover from the recession.

Design: Becky Mengel

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Brochure Excerpt:

A Designer’s Guide to SHOP-SEEING IN TORONTO

Every city IRDC travels to has its own retail story—and a unique array of stores to inspire you. In Toronto’s case, the story is profusion.

TO, as it’s known to locals, has weathered the recession better than most cities—good news for its bevy of architecture and design firms specializing in retail. Most of the concepts, flagships and renovations in this guide were designed in the past five years by local talent, including 3rd Uncle, dialogue 38, Figure 3, Kohn Shnier, Perennial and Yabu Pushelberg.

This is, of course, a mere sampling of the standout retail in Toronto. There’s much to see. But for an IRDCer with limited downtime, it’s a quick guide to some of the best designs in a variety of sectors—most within easy distance of conference headquarters. Enjoy TO!

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Brochure Excerpt


This year’s party takes place in what Wallpaper magazine called “one of the coolest guesthouses in the world.” Boutique by definition, the 19-room Drake Hotel is in a category all its own. Think 1940s glam, mid-century swank and modern sophistication in a magical blend that extends from the Underground performance venue to the Crashpad guestrooms to the Sky Yard rooftop patio. We’ll occupy the recently remodeled Lounge overlooking Queen Street West, the primary corridor of Toronto’s Art and Design District. It probably goes without saying, but this is a party not to be missed.

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