About Us

Small dog, less crap.

That’s not just funny, its a credo we live by. Small Dog Design combines over 25 years of design experience with essential knowledge of marketing to create custom tailored design for the music and film industry. We have created visual identities, press sheets, posters, package design, advertising and many things in between for the entertainment industry’s big guys and little guys.

At Small Dog Design every project is a big project.

To us, your indie film should look just as good as a blockbuster and the album you spent your college fund on should look like you made it with a major studio. Our continuing experience working with distributors, major labels and publishers helps us make every project stand out from the crowd, big or little.

Since we opened 2005, Small Dog Design has proudly provided design for companies like Universal Music, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Sony Music, Master Lock, Roadrunner Records, Eleven Seven Music, Hype Music, Factor, MVD Entertainment Group, Wild Eye Entertainment, and HMV Canada. We are also proud to be the Official Graphic Designer for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. We’ve also created brand-building attention-getting design for artists like Elaine Ryan, Silvergun & Spleen, Luke McMaster, Laura Tremblay, Lindsay Broughton and Jason Hastie.

Small Dog Design is run by us, Joanne and Bill Howard. We live and work in our hometown Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, just 40 minutes East of Toronto. We share our lives with our daughter Evie, our dog Harley, a betta fighting fish (Chloe) and two wild rabbits that just like to hang out in our backyard. Find out more about Small Dog Design’s team below. We hope you will explore our work, see our services for filmmakers, musicians and bands, authors and publishers,and labels, distributors and studios or contact us to chat about your project and get a quote.

The People (and Dogs) Behind Small Dog Design

 

Joanne Howard

Photo: © Rachel Callan

Joanne Howard

Design is in my blood. My grandfather Gordon Croft was a partner in the family business Croft Printing Ltd. a commercial printer in Toronto, which operated from 1916 to 1986. In 1992, I graduated from the Graphic Design program at Durham College (with honors!) and I’ve been working in the field for over 24 years with a style and flair that is truly my own. My first graphic design job was with renowned Toronto editorial designer and artist James Ireland, where I worked as a layout artist on such publications as Today’s Parent.

After a few years of  freelance jobs, I joined Adinfinitum, a fresh young design studio that specialized in music and entertainment industry design. It was there that I honed my skills to tailor fit the industry where I found my niche. Sadly, Adinfinitum closed in 2005, and I started with the help and encouragement of my entertainment clients, my own graphic design studio, Small Dog Design.

In 2000 I was joined in the business by my husband Bill and 2015 marked the 10 Year Anniversary of Small Dog Design. We have a daughter, Evie, and a dog named Harley and sadly mourn the loss of our dog Rizzo who was the inspiration for our name and is the silhouette in our logo.

Photo: © Kevin E. Proulx

Bill Howard

Hi. I’m Bill and I’m a movieholic. I worked in entertainment retail management for over 25 years, 15 of those with HMV. This experience has not only honed my knowledge of music and film to such a degree that I’m killer at bar trivia (which enables me appear much cooler than I actually am), but it also gave me unique insight into what people will buy when they’re looking for music or movies. The good news is, you benefit from this (ultra cool) knowledge when it comes to customizing your designs to appeal to your desired audience.

I also write film reviews for my own site, FountainPop.com as well as a weekly new release column for BoxOfficeBuz.com and have completed my first full length fiction novel, 10 Minutes from Home published by Books of the Dead Press. You can also benefit from these skills, as I have become quite adept at synopsis’ and taglines.

In 2000, I left retail and joined Joanne at Small Dog Design where we have truly made it into a family business and in 2015 celebrated Small Dog’s 10th Anniversary.

Rizzo & Harley

dogs

 

 

Small Dog Design wouldn’t be what we are without our pets. Harley is the big one and Rizzo is the little one (and also our logo). Rizzo unfortunately passed away in 2015, but lived a very full and happy 16 years with us. Both dogs were rescues and showed their appreciation for that every day. Harley still provides a ton of entertainment and love and despite her age still acts like a puppy. We couldn’t be Small Dog without them.

How We Give Back

 

Life is simply better when you give back.

Small Dog Design loves to be involved with our community. Here are just a few of the projects we’ve been involved in.

  • Proudly donated to the ‘Censored Women’s Film Festival’
  • Proudly supported two crowd funding campaigns in film: Kickstarter campaign for the film ‘Ayla’ and
    a local Indiegogo campaign for the film: ‘Clapboard Jungle – a film business documentary’
  • Helped save baby squirrels by donating funds for their care to our local ‘Durham Wildlife Refuge’
  • ‘145 Solutions’ helps independent artists raise money and awareness for their favourite charitable causes, and we designed their logo.
  • Helped with the travel costs to save a very sick dog named “Leo”. He was rescued from a beach in Thailand and traveled to Canada for life saving medical treatment.
  • Joanne served two terms on the ‘Humane Society of Durham Region‘ volunteer board of directors as a graphic design consultant.