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  • Bryanna Brown

Meet Mark Bennett: Designer for Kaapittiaq's New Packaging

Updated: May 11, 2021

Have you noticed that our coffee bags seem a little different? Kaapittiaq is excited to announce the work of graphic designer Mark Bennett, who created Kaapittiaq's new look.

Mark Bennett is Nunatsiavummiuq (Inuk from the Nunatsiavut region), and currently works in Toronto as a graphic designer, art director and image maker, while attending the University of Toronto as a student in Architecture. He also serves as the Art Director for UofTMed Magazine, a publication of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Inspired by his culture and the distinctive aesthetic of his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Bennett forefronts the exploration of identity in his design philosophy. As someone of mixed Inuit heritage, the question of “where do I fit in?” guides his interest in ways that people experience spaces in relation to their own identities. Mark brought this sense of curiosity to his design of Kaapittiaq's packaging. As an Inuk artist commissioned by an Inuit company, Mark felt a certain freedom to visually explore his culture outside of the usual parameters for Inuit aesthetic. In his words: "It is good to see that Kaapittiaq is Inuit-owned, and that self-represented, self-determined Inuit companies are out there now, focusing on products in a contemporary way... Often many people want traditional art design when they think of Inuit. When speaking about this with a friend of mine, she said, ‘remember that as an Inuk, you are not necessarily obligated to make purely traditional Inuit art – you are an Inuk in the arts. So, there is a broad range of things you can do."

With the Kaapittiaq project, Mark was led into an exploration of cultural nuance and regionality within the Inuit identity, with Kaapittiaq originating in Inuinnait (Inuit from the Central Canadian Arctic) community and traditions both conceptually and geographically distanced from his own Inuit experience. Research on the history and material culture of Inuinnait became an important part of his design work. He familiarized himself with textile work of Inuinnait, incorporating patterns into the gussets and bottom of the new Kaapittiaq bags. The subtle use of topography lines throughout the bag further connects the design to place, linking it to the story of Inuinnait culture and people embedded in the land. When asked about his thoughts on the process of creating designs for another another Inuit community, Mark replied: “I think it was important to ensure the designs stayed true to representing the organization, and ultimately the Inuinnait was important to me that my work for Kaapittiaq’s designs were drawn from the rich imagery and aesthetic of Inuit textiles, art, culture”.

We hope that our customers will appreciate these new designs as much as we do. Quanaqpiaqquhi Mark! We cannot wait to learn more about all of the wonderful work you put out there in the future.

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