All posts in design

Bruce Kennett on W. A. Dwiggins at The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto

On March 20th about 100 people turned out to hear Bruce Kennett talk about W. A. Dwiggins, book designer, type designer, calligrapher, and master of marionettes, and Kennett’s recently published biography entitled W. A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design. The Alcuin Society was a co-sponsor of the event along with The Typographic Hub at Sheridan College, the Association of Registered Graphic Designers, Canada Type, and Letterform Archive, the book’s publisher. Continue Reading…

Alcuin Society’s 35 Best-designed Canadian Books of 2016

March 23, 2017 – The Alcuin Society has announced the winners of its 35th annual competition, The Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, held Saturday March 18th. Awards will be presented this fall in both Toronto and Vancouver. The winning books will be entered in the international book design competition in Leipzig, Germany in February 2018. They will be exhibited in Germany at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs; in Japan, at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, in conjunction with the Tokyo International Book Fair; and in almost every province of Canada. The venues will be listed on our web site.

This year’s judges, Robin Mitchell Cranfield, Judith Poirier, and Matt Warburton, selected 35 winning titles from 211 submissions, from 9 provinces and 93 publishers. Click through to see the full list of 2016 Winners.

Ann Marie Holland retells Robert Reid’s postage stamps story on the McGill Rare Books and Special Collections blog

When we posted Robert Reid’s story about designing stamps for the post office and the subsequent visit from the RCMP to his office and the Rare Books and Special Collections at McGill University Library last spring (you can read it here) we let the staff at Rare Books and Special Collections at McGill University know. Now Ann Marie Holland has posted a retelling of the story and a short biography on their blog:

In March of this year, Robert Reid wrote a blog article for the Alcuin Society which began like the beginning of a suspense novel: “I was running a type house in Montreal at the time I was asked to design Christmas stamps.” Continue Reading…

1930s sheet music from the collection of Terry Berger

During the 1930s Tin Pan Alley produced the most tuneful popular music the world will probably ever see. Because the phonograph was still being developed and was not in general use, the populace produced their own music at home—generally on the piano. The success of a new song was gauged by the sale of the sheet music printed up so people could play it at home. And what wonderfully designed covers were produced to attract customers in the music stores. Art Deco was the style of the day, and here it is in abundance. And the performers’ photographs have become an archive of the great professional musicians, band leaders, and singers who were the superstars of their day. For a while Terry went through a mania of collecting sheet music and has boxes of it, from which a very few of the more interesting ones are shown here. Continue Reading…

Tailored to Fit:
 On the Importance of Bespoke Ebooks

The Porcupine’s Quill has always been known for creating beautiful print books. For over forty years we have offered handsome editions of Canadian literature whose quality in design and craftsmanship harkens back to 19th-century letterpress volumes. Needless to say, the recent boom in electronic reading, with its emphasis on reflowable ebooks often hastily and imperfectly rendered, is not easily reconciled to the ethos of our press. Continue Reading…

Luggage labels of Canadian airlines

CANADIAN COLONIAL AIRWAYS. Founded in Montreal in 1929 and ceased operation in 1942 when it was reformed as Colonial Airlines, an American airline later absorbed by Eastern Air Lines. Continue Reading…

On Gaspereau Press’ “Glenn Goluska in Toronto” by Andrew Steeves


In 2011, Glenn Goluska received the Robert R. Reid Award for his lifetime of distinguished contributions to the book arts in Canada. Sadly he died that year. It is hard to believe that it is five years since Glenn left us – that makes the Gaspereau Press publication Glenn Goluska in Toronto especially welcome. In 2011, Andrew Steeves visited Glenn and recorded him speaking about his early years as a designer and printer. One of these occasions was the afternoon of the day that Glenn was presented with the Robert R. Reid Award and medal in Montreal.

Continue Reading…