12 Months of Type: Ink

Here are some highlights from January's typographic adventures with ink for 12 Months of Type. Check out all previous posts here, and follow my current progress on Instagram.

Have a great weekend!



A lovely mention of the 12 Month of Type project on the UPPERCASE Magazine blog! Thanks again to Erin and Janine for their love and support, and for my new notebooks that will keep my ideas flowing all year long.

Be sure to pick up your UPPERCASE everyday notebooks here!

Ligatures Meeting Nº3

Just a reminder that Ligatures Meeting Nº3 is happening tonight at Coach House Books.

Please RSVP at ligatures.ca.

(Lettering above is by the talented Kyle Gallant!)

12 Months of Type

If you've ever stopped by my blog, you'll know that I love two things: letters, and year-long projects.

2010: 26 in 52 research project
I researched all 26 letters of the English alphabet (origins, history, and interesting anecdotes).

2011: 12 over 12 research project
I decided to do the same for numbers, investigating the numbers one through twelve (background, symbolism, and fun facts).

2012: Alphabet 100 lettering project
I choose one letter of the alphabet each week, and illustrated it 100 different ways. After the 5200 (!) sketches and 200+ hours, I compiled the final 52 illustrations into one awesome print, available for purchase in my shop.

2013: 12 in '13 for '14 calendar lettering project
Each month, I hand-lettered a dozen calendar header options each month. After curating the selects, I rendered the final titles in Illustrator and incorporated them into the layouts. I created a supplementary set of numerals and capitals for the week title (a full post on the process here). And voila! An extra special, hand-lettered, limited edition calendar, also available for purchase in my shop.

This year, I set these goals for myself:
  • create more art
  • practice, practice, practice my lettering
  • get away from my computer
  • try techniques and materials I've never used before
  • get messy!
And that's how 12 Months of Type was born. The premise is pretty simple: each month will be dedicated to one art medium. And for the entire month, I will immerse myself in the new medium, and create as many typographic pieces as I can. Some will be highly experimental, some more refined, and some will likely end up as special pieces of typographic art available for purchase.

Here's a breakdown of how the year will progress:

And the best part: you can participate! Feel free to follow my schedule, or create your own monthly projects. If you want me to share them on my blog, please send me an email, or just hashtag them with me on Instagram as #12monthsoftype.

So let's get started! I'm off to do some ink projects for the rest of January – please watch my Instagram for the most up-to-date projects.

I hereby declare 2014 The Year Of Type!

Lessons from 2013

Every year, I keep an ongoing list of quotes and mantras to keep me motivated.

With a bright colour palette, a bit of creative copyrighting, and some new ink lettering, I am happy to present the words that kept me going in 2013:

This year, to spread the word and keep these ideas alive all year round, I've created a couple of fun FREE downloads! You can adapt these for your desktop or mobile devices, or even print a copy to display in your home or office.

Here's to making 2014 the best!


High res (1980px x1440px)
Low res (576px x 432px)

High res (1440px x 1980px)
Low res (576px x 768px )

p.s. Want larger sizes or custom prints? Please send me an email!

C is for calendar!

Just a friendly reminder that I still have a handful of hand-lettered 2014 calendars available for purchase in my shop. Pick up your copy today!

The calendar was featured on FPO this morning - thanks again to Duncan for the generous mention!

Looking back, moving forward

2013 marked my second full year of freelance graphic design. Where 2012 was a year of beginnings, 2013 was a year of growth, filled with many opportunities to learn new skills, meet new people, and hone my craft. As in previous years (2011, 2012), I think it would be fun to share what made this year so special.

In January, I launched my Alphabet 100 print. It was super exciting to see all 52 illustrations on one sheet. You can still purchase your copy here.
I also took the time to reflect on 2012 and compile the things I learned about life and work. Even re-reading them today, they are still good reminders:
12 things I learned about life in 2012
12 things I learned about work in 2012

In February, I launched a year-long lettering project called 12 in '13 for '14. My goal was to hand-letter a calendar throughout the year and release it in time for the holidays. This project grew out of my growing passion for hand-lettering and sign-painting, as well as a love for documenting the creative process from beginning to end. (In case you can't handle the suspense, here is the finished result.)

March was steady with client work, but I also took time to continue with my lettering. One exciting development was this cut and fold alphabet.

As the days started to get longer (and warmer) in April, I started training more vigorously for a 10K marathon. I also did a fun infographic about relaxation for Dr. Chris Roberts, a commission for a professor (and friend) at the University of Calgary, and updated my portfolio with some other new work. One piece I was proud to highlight was my asterisk glyph created for Font Aid VI: Aster Affects, a collaborative effort to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. You can purchase the font here.

May was busy. On the 1st, I launched 9 new pieces in my online shop. I was so pleased with the reception - I even got a mention on Quipsologies! I also took March's cut and fold alphabet to the next level, which was accepted to participate in Creative Type Five, an annual curated exhibition of typographic artwork from Toronto illustrators, artists and graphic designers.
On May 12, I participated in the SL 10K marathon. Even though I did not set any records, I still raised $1260 to help kids with cancer go to summer camp.
I also joined my grandparents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. This was my gift to them.

In June, The Urban Etiquette Project was translated into Portuguese, thanks to the help of a journalist at the Folha de São Paulo, a major Brazilian newspaper.
I was also honoured to connect with Uppercase Magazine this year; first with a mention on the blog, and then in issue #19 of their print magazine. Thanks again Janine, Erin and Jocelyn!

The highlight of July was a trip to Paris, France. 1119 photos, 14 days of perfect weather, 17 expressos, a lot of bread, 3 quiches, 2 lemon tarts... it certainly was a vacation to remember. I put together a special photo blog with all of my favourite moments: http://paristopher2013.blogspot.ca/

In August, I took a leap and participated in my first flea market – the Parkdale Flea – with the help of my good friend, Tanya. It was a blast!
I was also thrilled to show off some fancy album artwork, featuring my Razorblade typeface.
The Urban Etiquette Project was featured in Flare magazine - so cool!

While working away at client work in September, I also did two extra special commissions for Ian and Robyn.

In October, The Toronto Etiquette Project got some more print coverage - this time in the Globe and Mail.
I rediscovered my love of chalk lettering , and did some fresh chalkboards for my local food store, Pusateri Fruit Market.
But the most exciting part of October was the birth of Ligatures, a new type club from Toronto. Along with the help of two very talented friends – Kyle & Leslie – we got our type appreciation group off the ground and held our first meeting in October, with subsequent monthly meetings in November and December. Watch for more cool type events in Toronto throughout 2014!

On November 1st, I launched 9 new pieces in my shop, just in time for the holidays. They included the 12 in '13 for '14 hand-lettered calendar, as well as a set of hand-lettered holiday cards.
I also attended the DesignThinkers conference in Toronto as the Roving Reporter for Uppercase Magazine. Over the two-day event, I was able to participate in 14 (!) events & lectures by designers and creatives from around the world. Here are the reports from Day 1 and Day 2. Thanks again Janine for this amazing opportunity!
I also shared a special Deco-flavoured wedding commission I did back in the summer for Alex and Jeremy. Congrats!
And as a response to the Rob Ford fiasco at Toronto City Hall, I created a new online project called We Are Not Ford. The project got coverage on City News and Global National.

After my success with the Parkdale Flea in August, I decided to do two more craft markets in December. The first was the Gladstone Flea (posts here and here) and the second was the 2-day City of Craft, which garners nearly 5000 attendees each year (posts here and here).
I also shared an exciting new poster for the Music in the Barns special Cinerama concert, happening January 24. Get your tickets today!
And for no reason as all, I created an entire alphabet out of Lego blocks on Instagram. Should I make a print?

This year of freelance life has certainly made me more confident, business-minded designer. The feeling of uncertainty that predominated Year One has diminished (for the most part). I have learned to recognize the ebb and flow of fluctuating client work, and dedicate every down beat to self-improvement and project creation. It has also become increasingly important to think beyond myself – beyond my needs – and find ways to help others. Doing good feels good.

I have a few exciting things brewing for the year, including another little blog post about lessons from 2013, and of course, more lettering projects. Please check back soon!

This magical year wouldn't have been possible without the love and encouragement from family, friends and clients. Thank you to EVERYONE who purchased a print, bought a calendar, donated to my 10K run, shared my blog links, liked my photos on Instagram, visited my at the flea market, sent me a heartfelt email. You empower me. I am truly blessed to be able to do work I love each day.

May your new year be the happiest!


Lego numerals

Here are numbers 1-9 to accompany my Lego alphabet!