TTCSI Case #2 - Backwards letters

Case #2
The accused: Businesses on Church Street, Toronto
The crime: Backwards letters on signage

I've been living in Toronto for over a year, and everytime I walk through my neighborhood, I consider walking into these establishments and asking who made their signs. Or, finding a ladder and fixing them myself.

Anyone with a finely-tuned eye will notice that the sign maker has horizontally reversed one of the seemingly symmetrical seriffed characters.
Ruling: Serif fonts are generally designed to have a pleasing visual rhythm and flow by using a combination of thick and thin strokes (reminiscent of calligraphic brush strokes). When dealing with cutouts, stencils or signage lettering, please try to observe the type designer's intent and set your characters correctly.

Butternut Squash Soup

Another fall favourite around here is butternut squash soup. I picked up this giant squash at the St. Lawrence farmer's market last Saturday for $3.00 - makes enough soup to feed a small army. And it's so deliciously buttery and velvety, it nearly passes as a dessert.

Read the full recipe after the jump.


In September 2009, I created my first modular font called Razorblade, using the free online application, Fontstruct.

As a uni-width font, I was quite pleased with the result. But esthetically, there were several things that bothered me about it.

With my newfound Illustrator skills (!) and my recent work on Geometrica Sans, I have been revisiting and expanding this font over the last few months. Here are the results.

I was interested in creating a geometric display face, based exclusively on shapes (circle, square, equilateral triangle) and their derivatives (no linear elements).

I am a huge fan of modular fonts; my inspirations for Razorblade include:
I was also keen to create a font that incorporated overlay / transparency / collage capabilities, similar to:
Even Toronto city streets helped in the formation of the lower case i:
And now to import into FontLab!

p.s. Lesson learned: Listen to your gut; if it feels wrong, it probably is.

p.p.s. Much thanks to Tanya for her succinct feedback and endless encouragement.

Type that turns heads

Beautiful type treatment by Working Format in Vancouver

TTCSI Case #1 - GO Transit

This is a new segment I'd like to call:

Case #1
The accused: GO Transit
The crime: Too many fonts!

I recently encountered this GO Transit display at Union Station. At a glance, I was very impressed - organized, colour-coded, and well-stocked. Thumbs up!
But upon further inspection, my pulse began to race. The display was using 4 (FOUR) different fonts:
Exhibit A: Helvetica
Exhibit B: Verdana
Exhibit C: Arial
Exhibit D: Unknown label maker serif font

Ruling: When possible, try to use no more than 3 fonts in one document or layout. Reserve Verdana for web use and resist using it in print (unless you're IKEA). And please, if you must use Arial, do not pair it with Helvetica.

Roasted Veggies

In honour of Thanksgiving and the colours of fall, I'd like to share one of my favourite recipes (a year-round staple in our house): Oven-roasted veggies.

Read the full recipe after the jump.

(This one's for you Steph!)

Happy Thanksgiving

Be thankful, every day.


Why is this awesome?
  • 10 represents perfect unity, oscillating between 1 (completeness) and 0 (nothingness)
  • 1 symbolizes pure originality, and 0 is a symbol of wholeness. Whenever you have a zero after a number, that number is magnified.
  • 10 also stands for luck, perfection, power, fame and reputation.
And most importantly, it's my Grandma's birthday! Happy birthday Grandma!

Geometrica Sans

"The intention of creating an entire alphabet from a few shapes is a design challenge — problem solving at its purest. For those with minimalist tendencies, the temptation is to strip away all the decoration and produce a simpler form." (source)
Almost one year ago, a font idea was born.

In February, I did a painting based on some preliminary ideas, and it has continued to inspire me every day.

And now, after much ado (from sketches on napkins to learning about beziers in Illustrator- thanks Anne!), my first true typeface is coming to life.

Say hello to Geometrica Sans.

(Disclaimer: From the beginning, my intention was never to be groundbreaking or innovative. I did not set out to create the next Helvetica or Gotham. This was more of an exercise in research, development, creation, and satisfying my own self-indulgent compulsion with geometry, symmetry, order and balance.)

I wanted to create a simple, geometric sans serif display font, inspired by:
  • Modernism and the Bauhaus school (1920s)
  • Art Deco and the attention to / focus on geometric elements
  • the Golden section, a simple geometric equation for proportion (employed as early as the ancient Greece) that is considered to have universal, subconscious esthetic appeal
  • antique elementary school lettering guides & posters
And specifically, inspired by these sans serif fonts:

  • Renner's Futura, circa 1927, one of the most used sans serif fonts today
  • Koch's system-based font, Kabel, circa 1920
  • Toronto Subway Font, circa 1960, (which I am so delighted to see every time I ride the TTC)
  • Lubalins's Avant Garde, circa 1970, and its use of circular letterforms and ligatures (and ligatures in general)
  • Acier, circa 1930
  • Century Gothic, LTC Twentieth Century, Neutraface, Brownstone... the list goes on and on

In a lot of ways, this font is a culmination of so many different ideas, sources and inspirations, it's hard to compose an concise summation.
In short, I wanted this font to be everything you expect from letters - nothing more, nothing less.

Now it's time to begin the import into FontLab... wish me luck!

p.s. Lesson learned (so far): Simplicity is not so simple after all.

26 Warriors

"Here stand the 26 warriors who have brought down the walls of ignorance and darkness. They remain our greatest tool in a continuing quest for education, enlightenment, and a hope for a better future."
-a poster from Tanya's recent trip to Don Black Linecasting
(Photo credit: Tanya)