Sam Johnstone is a Toronto based graphic designer, illustrator and partner of the design studio Night Shift.

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A branding and digital design studio, owned by Natasha McDiarmid and myself.


A clothing brand I operate that is focused on creating minimalist illustrated basics.



Design is a cultural practice. The context, intention and end result of any design work should be judged based on how it affects people, and how it contributes to our cultural landscape.

I believe that all designed material should aim to a cohesive, considered whole. I believe that every piece of design should answer to logic, by either submitting to a practical foundation or subverting one.

I believe that design should strive to beautiful, and that the search for beauty is not at odds with any other desired outcome. And that beauty is quiet, and requires patience, grace, and confidence.

Examples of Beauty


Investigating craftcommitting to a form, narrative examples of empathy, virtual bands, patterns, pictorial archeology, New York in movies, Mount Eerie, making bad bets, understanding yourself as alien, grey sweaters, stories about foxesself-imposed solitude, Teagan White’s animals,  truth, work that reflects the human scale.

Experience & Education


Night Shift Studio

Partner, 2017-Present

Virgin Mobile Canada

Graphic Designer, 2015-2017

Inkubate Art Exchange

Board of Directors, 2016-2017

J. Walter Thompson Canada

Designer, 2013-2015

Upperclass Recordings

Web Design Intern, 2012


Oscar de la Renta

Intern, 2012

École Parsons à Paris

Visiting Student in Communication Design, 2012

Sputnik Design Partners

Graphic Design Intern, 2011

OCAD University

Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design, 2009-2013



Salon of Inclusiveness III

Black Cat Artspace, 2016

The Drawing Show

Gerrard Art Space, 2016

Salon of Inclusiveness II

Black Cat Artspace, 2015

Swash & Serif II

Ligatures at Black Cat Artspace, 2015

Cocoon Art Exchange

OUT/AUT Gallery, 2015

The Isolation of Samuel Morse

Solo exhibition at Album Gallery, 2015


By the Pound VI

Goodfellas Gallery, 2015

Take Home the Unknown

South Asian Visual Arts Centre, 2014

Salon des Inclusivité

Black Cat Artspace, 2014

Swash & Serif

Ligatures at Black Cat Artspace, 2014

Kinship: A Social Exhibit

Gallery 1313 (Curator), 2014

98th Graduate Exhibition

OCAD University, 2013

By the Pound II

Sleeping Giant Gallery, 2010

Selected Features & Awards


Indigo Design Awards

Silver Award Winner, Professional Lettering (As Night Shift)


Featured Member


Featured Member, Illustration / Shop

The One Show

Merit Award Winner, 2016

Zeum Magazine

Interview, Digital Publication

Lürzer’s Archive

Featured, Volume 5/2015

Communication Arts

Featured, 2015 Design Annual

Kid Icarus Blog

Digital Feature for ‘The Hunter’ & ‘Swim’



Digital Publication Feature

Invision Blog

Digital Publication Feature

Omit Limitation

Digital Publication Feature, The Isolation of Samuel Morse

Adobe Creative Jam Toronto 2015

Best Motion Design (with Kemar Lawrence)

Advertising & Design Club of Canada

Merit Award Winner, Directions 2015

Applied Arts

Complete Design Promotion Winner, 2015 Design Awards Issue

OCAD University

Joubin-Selig OTSS Scholarship Winner