Artisan puts digital signage content group on life support

October 16, 2009 by Dave Haynes

Toronto-based point of purchase printing specialist Artisan Complete, which for the last few years has been building a business and reputation as one of the leaders in content strategy and production for digital signage, has all but pulled the plug on its Artisan Live group.

Mike Brown had been leading the group and left recently, and then on Thursday the well-known face of the Live group, Stephen Ghigliotty and creative director Kris Steeves were shown the door. The group had at least a half-dozen people in it going back two or three years, and had won awards and a lot of recognition for its work.

Both Stephen and Kris are great, talented guys and will be good picks for anyone who wants to grab them, Stephen on strategy and Kris on creative.

It’s too bad, as good, innovative work was getting done. But this has been a tough year for the printing industry and the people hooked in to it. The other big content shop based in Toronto, Alchemy, has been very quiet the last few months, as well, but I know it is still active. Alchemy’s Dave Dolejsi, one of their key guys, had a cryptic Twitter note up on Thursday about a big account win of some sort.

I don’t know if it is just me, but it strikes me as a few companies that managed to wobble their way through the worst of the recession are starting to run on fumes, and are being forced to make some hard choices. Maybe the worst of the recession is ending, but I think we will continue to see more right-sizing and exits from the sector. 

This is how you find Stephen (and he can get you on to Kris, I’d imagine):

iPhone 647.680.8512
stephen.ghigliotty at
Twitter @ghigliotty 

Kris Matheson, the other Artisan guy well known for his involvement in the sector, is still around but has been involved in non-DS stuff with the company for quite a while now. 

UPDATE – Comment from Artisan’s Kris Matheson in comments. He says, “A revised strategy has been implemented and let me be clear, Artisan was in this space very early as a pioneer and will continue to create great work moving forward.”

I do know they still have one junior person who can do motion graphics, but all creative is under the overall umbrella of the Artisan creative group. Kris is back in charge of the Live product, among other duties.

I excised one part of the comment from Kris because it left me uncomfortable and have removed the photo, as I was not trying to irk people. From what Kris is indicating, Artisan Live is not dead but perhaps more accurately described as on life support. 


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