Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category.

Signs and labels at TTC Russell Carhouse

Car door at TTC Russell Carhouse, labelled "7," "2" and "DOOR #3"

Multi-labelled car door at TTC Russell Carhouse

Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, 2014 were the dates of the annual Doors Open event in Toronto. Buildings both public and private opened their doors to allow glimpses behind the “Private” and “Do Not Enter” signs of the city.

This year I visited the Toronto Transit Commission’s Russell Carhouse on Queen Street East, with my iPad as my camera. Surrounded by vintage Peter Witt and PCC (Presidents’ Conference Committee), and future Flexity streetcars a few typographic treats were to be found.

Embossed lettering on TTC streetcar tracks: "7NA-X 12-ORH, J40-00511 REV H SN09E 1694 NORTRAK"

Embossed lettering on streetcars tracks on Queen Street West outside TTC Russell Carhouse

It seldom occurs to me to look down for lettering. Access covers (i.e., manhole covers) being one exception. Here was another: embossed lettering on the actual streetcar tracks. The embossing of the “Nortrak” brand name in the above photo is especially attractive, clearly evoking the 19th-century beginnings of rail travel.

Hand-labelled "CALL BELL" at TTC Russell Carhouse

Hand-labelled call bell at TTC Russell Carhouse

Whose diligent and decorative painted lettering identifies this prosaic call bell? The casual elegance of the curves of the “C” and “B” and the exuberant crossbar on the “E” elevate it above the everyday. (This photo is right-side up, by the way.)

Hand-lettered sign at TTC Russell Carhouse: "Valve No 5 with Valve No 4 at S.-W. corner of Bldg. controls all inside Sprs."

Hand-lettered sign at TTC Russell Carhouse

On the outside wall of the carhouse were sun-faded signs, carefully hand-lettered.

Close-up of Valve No 5 sign at TTC Russell Carhouse

Close-up of Valve No 5 sign at TTC Russell Carhouse

The number “5” seems to have been drawn with extra-special care.

Talking about creating the Xtra logo

On February 9, 2011, I spoke with John Martins-Manteiga, as part of Dominion Modern’s oral history project. Dominion Modern is “Canada’s foremost archive of 20th Century Canadian architecture and design” and works to increase awareness of Modernist design in Canada.

I spoke with John for about 3 hours about my career as a graphic designer, and specifically about Toronto Subway, my revival of the iconic Toronto subway lettering.

Part of that discussion included my reminiscing about my creation of the now-retired logo for Xtra magazine.

Xtra logo, circa 1985

Original logo for Xtra magazine

John has now posted that particular bit of our talk on Vimeo, as a teaser for the display about Toronto Subway that will go up early this spring at the George Brown College School of Design in Toronto.

Still to be posted: me yakking about how I reconstructed the Toronto Subway typeface. Stay tuned!