Canadian Typography: A New Online Typographic Resource

Introducing —a website devoted to type and typography in Canada.

Canadian Typography will showcase the many talented typographers, graphic designers, web designers, information designers, type designers, printers, educators and countless others in this country who work and communicate with type every day. 

Initially the site will be financed by the Gibson Funds but is are also exploring other funding options – including grants.

The site will launch early next year, but to meet the goal your help is being requested in collecting material.

To start the site will consist of ten sections: 

  1. History of Type in Canada. Beginning in 1751 with the first printing press in Canada.
  2. Trade and Craft. Typesetting companies, printers and type manufacturers. 
  3. Designers and Typographers. We think of these as the ‘stars’ of our story. 
  4. Books and Editorial. From the earliest uses of type to present day fine printing. 
  5. Advertising and Promotion. Type in advertising, brochures and magazines. 
  6. Type Design, Lettering and Calligraphy. The foundations of typography. 
  7. Signage and Wayfaring. Type that tells us where to go and how to get there. 
  8. Digital and the Web. Type and typography in the world we live in.
  9.  Practise and Licensing. Working with type and licensing issues. 
  10. Multiscript and Multilingual Type. Canada has always been a multicultural country.

Although there is enough material to start, help is needed to locate missing or additional material. Some areas where help is needed include: 

The Cree/Inuit syllabics. To date this remarkable story has only been told from the European side. If you know anyone who can help rectify this imbalance please let us know. 

Any stories or background information about Les Usherwood and Typesettra, especially from someone who either knew Les personally or once worked at Typesettra. 

If you have any old type specimen books, brochures or posters we sure would like to see them. We don’t need the originals, a good scan of a few pages will do just fine. 

Share your knowledge, even a few sentences could help. It may be unrealistic to ask for photos of people who worked in the trade but there’s no harm in asking. Besides, it would be wonderful to see some of those folks. 

It is important to gather this material before it’s too late. Future generations need to know how we got here – we all need to know! Please forward this proposal to anyone you can think of who might be interested in helping out on this project. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this proposal. We look forward to working with you on this exciting project.

Please contact: Rod McDonald

The Canadian Typography site is being developed with Gibson Funds. 

Designed by Rod McDonald to honour John Gibson FGDC, his long time friend and mentor. The fonts were developed by Canada Type. All money raised from the sales of Gibson go directly to support typographic education in Canada. The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, The Carl Dair Typographic Workshops and the Sheridan Typographic Hub have all received Gibson Funds. 

To learn more about Gibson fonts visit: can license Gibson directly from:

Click here to download the complete proposal.