Design Canada 🎬

design canada title card

Design Canada is a documentary film celebrating the golden era of Canadian design. View the trailer.

I attended the Montreal screening of the film last week and definitely learned a few things. My design history knowledge skews heavily towards Britain and Europe, so it was pretty awesome to see Canadian efforts in the spotlight. I grew up during the period when much of this work was being scrapped in favour of the new, so I never really appreciated some of the systems that we had in place.

The film is showing around the country over the next month, including several more screenings at Cinema du Parc in Montreal. It will be released digitally in the fall.

Thanks to the film’s director, Greg Durrell, for providing me with the film’s title card for this post.





Lots of Fun With Finnegan’s Wake

Peter O’Brien is currently illustrating the 628 pages of Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. Here’s a page from an article in the Globe and Mail:

Joyce used grist for Finnegans Wake from wherever he found it: the Bible, drinking songs, the morning paper. I likewise use images from various sources. These two trees are side-by-side at the cottage of a friend, and I thought they would be appropriate on a page where Joyce invokes Lucien Lévy-Bruhl and his work in the growing fields of sociology and ethnology.

Visit Peter’s site for more sample pages and links to other articles about the project, Lots of Fun With Finnegan’s Wake. He hopes to be finished by 2022.






My font was in a movie

My font, Plastic Tomato, appeared briefly in Despicable Me 3.

I get a huge kick out of this, mostly because I made it twenty years ago while I was still in high-school. Grunge design was popular and there was an indie font scene happening on the early web. I churned out a bunch of fonts over the span of a year or two, released them all online, but didn’t take it much further. They managed to make it through several site migrations, and are still tucked away in the dusty type section of the site.

All of the fonts were freely available and had a note attached saying to get in touch if you want to use them commercially. I still get the occasional email, mostly people using them for smaller personal projects. So, I was a bit surprised to get a message from a movie studio asking for clearance to use it.

I wanted to reach out because I’m working on Despicable Me 3 and production is interested in using your Plastic Tomato font for a 1980’s style action figure commercial in the movie. The font would be seen on screen (along with other fonts) stating the action figure’s features. If you’re okay with the use, we’d appreciate it if you could sign the attached clearance request.

I signed the request, but wasn’t sure if it would actually make it into the movie. Never got around to seeing it in the theatre, but grabbed a copy when it was released digitally.

And there it is, the font I made in high-school, on-screen (gif) for approximately two seconds!