When Katie Brioux emailed me out of the blue to tell me she had started making and selling rubber stamps of Montreal’s architectural heritage, one of the big questions I had in my head was “that’s cool, but what would people do with these?”
As paper becomes less important a part of our daily lives, these stamps seem to be going the way of the dodo as well. And unlike the “APPROVED” and “PAID” and other useful office stamps you get at Bureau en Gros, these ones seem destined to lose their novelty quickly.
Thankfully Brioux isn’t making this her career. She’s a graphic designer, one I met two years ago when I was asked to speak to some journalism students and she was doing cool graphics for The Concordian. (I also follow her father, Bill Brioux, who writes about television for a living.)
As she explains in this story, which appears in Saturday’s Gazette, she created a series of stamps as part of a Concordia Student Union orientation campaign. Inspired by the passports used at Expo 67, it was a way to get students to visit all of the venues and events, each of which would have a different stamp to mark their passports with.
Later, she brought those stamps to colleagues in the design industry, and they loved them, encouraging her to make more and sell them. And so a small business was born.
Brioux had to make new stamps, mainly because the CSU ones had dates on them. She made five, but plans more, though she admits she probably won’t get to the point where she has one for each of the city’s boroughs. (How do you illustrate Pierrefonds-Roxboro, anyway?)
She’s selling them on her website for $15 each, or $80 (currently on sale for $65) for all five and a stamp pad.
The CSU stamps were made at an office supply store, Brioux said, but these ones are made locally by a supplier she found. They come in three flat pieces, which can be knocked out and then slotted together into a cross-shaped handle. They fit well enough together that you don’t need glue, though that couldn’t hurt.
Brioux admitted that they’re not so much practical as they are sentimental. The kind of thing you’d send to a former Montrealer living in another city. The kind of thing you’d display on a shelf in your living room, and occasionally take out to stamp a bunch of pieces of paper for the fun of it. Or use it to stamp postcards and letters to remind pen pals how awesome your city is.
It’s something she hopes will be an alternative to shot glasses and other cheap, soulless made-in-China knick knacks you find in gift shops around the city. She’s thinking people might prefer something that reflects the city, something that was made here, with love.
It certainly looks better than an iTunes gift card for Christmas, no?