About Us

Small dog, less crap.

That’s not just funny, its a credo we live by. Small Dog Design combines over 30 years of design experience 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, Sony Music, IndieCan Entertainment, Raven Banner Entertainment, Eleven Seven Music, ABKCO, CMW, Factor, MusiCounts, MVD Entertainment Group, HMV, Sunrise Records and Wild Eye Releasing. 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 indie artists like Rykka, Jordyn Pollard, Laura Tremblay, Martin Kerr and Will Bowes.

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 two dogs Joey and Rocky, a betta fish (Starlord), a hamster (Bella) 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 filmmakersmusicians and bands, labels, distributors and studios or contact us to chat about your project and get a quote.

The People (and Dog) Behind Small Dog Design

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. And my Dad created and ran a local real estate paper in the early 1970s in Oshawa. In 1992, I graduated from the Graphic Design program at Durham College (with honors!) and I’ve been working in the field for over 25 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 2010 I was joined in the business by my husband Bill.

Our first small dog Rizzo (a terrier mix) was the inspiration for our name and is the silhouette in our logo. She was loyal, smart, and snuggly (the only dog I know that actually gave hugs), and she could also be fierce and feisty, all you could ever want in a dog.
RIP Rizzo 2000-2015 xo

2020 will mark Small Dogs 15th Year Anniversary.

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 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 2010, I left retail and joined Joanne at Small Dog Design where we have truly made it into a family business.

2020 will mark Small Dogs 15th Year Anniversary.

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.