Carl Brett was born in Cork Ireland in 1928 and educated there at the Crawford School of Art. Arriving in Canada in 1954, he began working as a typographer and designer at Vickers & Benson Advertising under art director Stanley Furnival. When Allan Fleming's influential typography at Cooper and Beaty began to garner attention, rival type house Howarth & Smith hired Brett in 1959 to create a worthy creative typography service in order to compete. Gordon Howarth gave Brett carte blache and, for ten years, Brett set new standards in visual thinking in type, particularly in advertising. He was a bane to the typesetters with his insistence on exactitude and always getting them to stretch themselves and set new standards.
He left to join a boutique design firm, then branched out on his own, setting up Carl Brett Design. He continued working until 2008, counting among his many clients the Bata Shoe Company, Hume Publishing and Canada Post.
He was quite active in the Typographic Designers of Canada, serving as president in 1968 and interim president in 1974, when the society changed its name to the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. He also taught extensively at OCAD.
He passed away peacefully after a brief illness at Princess Margaret Hospital on March 30, 2009 at 80 years of age. He is survived by his wife Kay, of 54 years, children Desmond and Tracy Brett.
There are some video interviews with Carl on the ccca-concordia.ca website.