I fell for typography when I did junior cataloguing work at McGill Rare Books. We took a little elevator, off in a corner of the McLennan Library, descended down a floor to the Department, and further down another floor into the stacks. Well we could, but nobody else got down there, just staff. They had an original, fabulously illustrated Audubon there, along with first editions of Henry Miller and the strange poetry publications of pre-Lennon Yoko Ono. Everything.
Plus, diversified collections of what old McGill men had left in their attics.
There was a Map Room, Print Room and a room with, if I remember rightly, 14,000 limited editions from smaller private presses. God there were some beautiful books there. Some rooms had ancient metal presses on display, big pieces of workable machinery, with the obligatory wheels and plates – all silenced now – and sets of mostly iron type. They let me loose on a collection of original typebooks from Bodoni, Caslon and other seemingly ancient, arcane type masters. I fell in love.
There were full sets of Palatino and Sistina, based on Italian calligraphy, the sans version Optima and the specialty caps setting Michaelangelo. These are rarely used as companions anymore. Similarly, names like Garamond, from the 16th century French craftsman Garamont, and now Adobe Garamond and Linotype Garamond and Google Cormorant-Garamond forge the trail to bring this wonderful font into current use. Modern typographic selections have been redrawn, formerly ‘recut’, until now we have many versions of all with names dimly reminiscent of the originals, comprised of shapes and spacing ‘improved’, modernized, made more legible… or less. Type design is a wrestling match between rhythm and regularity with effortless readability or recognizable personality as sometimes mutually exclusive prizes. Typophiles get all this stuff, where others simply read.
This logo is a variation of a traditional script font, and is again the result of my iterative, logo design process. Many times we start a logo or branding investigation with assessing legibility, proceed to illustrated, cleverly drawn and conceived ‘gizmos’, research, then circle back to a type solution. This mark, for a company that recycles cell phones, employs elegant ascenders and descenders to imply the nature of the business.