The son of Armenian parents, Georges Haroutiun was born in Lebanon in 1945. When he was in his teens he moved to Denmark, where he completed high school. By this time he had already discovered his passion for painting—an activity that remains an important part of his life. His interest in art led him to study graphic design at the School of Design & Applied Arts in Copenhagen. Seeing images of Expo ’67 convinced him that Canada was where he wanted to pursue his design career. In 1969, shortly after graduating from design school, he moved to Montreal.
It took him a while to find his true calling. “I went through about 10 jobs in my first year in Montreal,” he recalls. “I just didn’t fit in at any agency or corporate environment.” In 1971, however, he began working in the art department of Élan, a fashion magazine. Magazines have been central to his career ever since. During his years in Montreal, he art directed several, including the movie magazine Ticket and the award-winning general interest publication Nous.
Georges moved to Toronto in 1977 to become the art director of Homemaker’s Magazine. Two years later he founded M.A.G. Graphics, a consulting firm that handles all aspects of magazine design and print communications. The company has designed or redesigned many of Canada’s most prominent publications, including Homemaker’s Magazine, Canadian Art, Elm Street, Harrowsmith Country Life, Canadian Select Homes, Recipes Only, and others. M.A.G. Graphics also published Images Magazine, a fashion publication.
Convinced that Canadian visual communicators needed a magazine that would showcase their creativity, Georges founded Applied Arts Magazine in 1986. From the outset, Applied Arts has maintained exceptional production values and high editorial standards. “I also made the magazine oversized, to compensate for our Canadian inferiority complex,” Georges adds with a laugh.
Over the years George has received numerous awards from National Magazine Awards including the magazine of the year, Advertising & Design Club of Canada, including the Les Usherwood Award for lifetime achievement, Communications Arts Magazine, Graphis. Applied Arts magazine publishes six issues per year, including two comprehensive awards annuals—one for Design & Advertising and one for Photography & Illustration. Georges continues to publish and art direct Applied Arts.
Over the years, Applied Arts has been instrumental in promoting GDC events and membership publication. In 1987 and again in 2002–2003 the magazine published a series of profiles on GDC Fellows; it has also published winning work from Graphex and other GDC competitions.
In addition to designing and publishing Applied Arts and running M.A.G. Graphics, Georges Haroutiun teaches fourth-year editorial design at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto.