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InspirationSept 14, 2022

Education projects from the Canada modern archive

Discover design-forward education projects from the Canada Modern archive.

Ecole et Societe au Quebec

Gilles Robert, Raymond Bellemare, 1970

Archive: CM71 

This was the first edition of this book, which in later editions was split across two distinct volumes. It offers a sociological perspective on the education sector within Quebec at that time, and this desire to look at both the constituent parts (pupils, institutions) and the whole (society) informs the cover design which uses abstract forms to consider the interrelation of elements.

OECA Corporate Design Manual

Burton Kramer RGD Emeritus, 1974

Archive: CM291

The Ontario Educational Communication Authority (OECA) was created by the provincial government of Ontario in 1970, producing educational and children’s programming as well as printed matter for classroom use and exhibitions. The symbol, designed by Burton Kramer, was adopted by the Board of Directors at their first meeting on August 20, 1970. You can read more about the OECA trademark here.

Following the development and implementation of the symbol, Kramer was invited to develop a fuller set of identity standards which culminated in the production of this corporate design manual. The manual was prepared to clearly describe all elements basic to the OECA corporate identity program and contained complete specifications for a wide variety of corporate materials in order to assure consistent results.

The cover of the manual takes the OECA symbol and incorporates further detail in the form of several gradient fills and an overlaid field of horizontal lines, evoking the illusion of a live television screen (and a bonus touch of Kramer’s signature style). The contents inside cover the full spectrum of corporate elements and applications including: Symbol, Logotype, Typography, Use of Color, Applications (from letterhead to vehicles) and Addenda (additional information). The inner pages are printed in black and blue/purple ink only, predominantly on uncoated stock, with the addition of several shades of heavy colored paper used as divider sheets to indicate the start of each new section.

The OECA corporate design manual was a winner in the Look of Books 1974 Design Awards, organized by Design Canada.

Ontario Student Assistance Program

Tiit Telmet RGD Emeritus, 1974

Archive: CM287

The Ontario Student Assistance Program was a scheme offered through the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities. It provided financial assistance to four difference strands of full-time students by way of part interest-free loan and part grant. Loans were provided interest-free until six months after the student’s graduation or cessation of full-time study, at which time interest was charged at the prime bank rate. Awards ranged from as little as $50 to as much as $2,300 depending upon the Government assessment of the student’s need. As an example, full-time academic fees at Scarborough College, part of the University of Toronto, ranged from $500 to $750 per year depending on the course load and sex (women’s fees were lower).

The contents of this simple informational leaflet is purely functional typesetting, but it’s the covers where G+A designer Tiit Telmet manages to visualize the process of application in stunning simplicity. The four applicant types are represented by four tracked (green and yellow) strands. These strands simultaneously reach a point where they all hit a barrier, a change in their trajectory and a point of required assistance. Once resolved, the paths continue on a new, continued course through to a natural culmination the rear face. Typography is all Helvetica, the provincial corporate typeface.

There are two editions of this artifact, one in English (this version) and one in French. Canada Modern holds both editions in the permanent collection.

Post-Secondary Education in Ontario Draft Report

Bruce M. Wrapp, 1972

Archive: CM56

This was the second report in the commission’s work, coming after the preliminary report. It was published in order to attract public feedback prior to the final report being submitted to the Government of Ontario together with recommendations. Pleasing in its symmetry and geometric construction, the cover reflects the Commission’s desire to formalize best practices and raise standards across the board, while recognizing that the schools and pupils are individuals with specific needs.

The Methods of Science Series (1,2,3,4)

Rolf Harder, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965

Archive: CM151/152/153/154

 A series of four text books that accompanied the teaching of science in Canadian schools from the start of Grade 7 (this edition) through to the end of Grade 10 (The Methods of Science 4). Each cover in the series uses a different background color, over which illustrations depicting various scientific topics and techniques are laid. Although this book is the first in the series, it was in fact the third cover that Harder produced. The wraparound design is a feature on all but the third book in the series (which was the first one that he designed). The result is colorful and appealing, relating scientific concepts to everyday experiences, with a large numeral to define its position in the series.

UofW Calendar 1974/1975

George W Roth RGD Emeritus, 1974

Archive: CM175

A course calendar was produced annually to provide a comprehensive catalog of all the courses offered by the University of Waterloo. Traditionally this had been procured via a contract printer, and was an expensive and time-consuming process. In this year (1974) however, George Roth, the head in-house designer, proposed an innovative production system to the Registrar in order to produce the 30,000 copies required.

Roth put in place a master ‘Critical Path’, defining specific dates for all content collation and proofreading schedules for the 40 or so faculty contributors. Roth revised the page design using Times New Roman, combining margin titles with italicized references for all course descriptions. The typesetters sent back full finished and numbered page proofs ready for proofreading, and following a round of corrections they produced the final pages, reducing the number of steps required by the printer.

The publication was printed on a web offset press, using cost-effective newsprint paper, finished in perfect bound form. The entire streamlined process resulted in significant savings for the University, both in terms of the financial cost and the time it took to produce. The entire process, from start-to-finish, took only 90 days.

The cover design was selected by the Registrar from a number of options presented, and consisted of four ‘cubes’ with magenta/black duotone imagery on the front face of each. This publication was exhibited as part of the 1974 edition of ‘The Look of Books’ competition, where the jury commented on the straightforward, clean and very functional typographic design treatment. The cover added interest to the otherwise ‘informational’ content within the volume.

About Canada Modern

Canada Modern is a physical archive of modernist Canadian graphic design focused on the period 1960-1985. It exists to preserve, document, educate, inspire and build a richer understanding of a seminal point in Canada’s development as a nation. The collection is primarily interested in identity design, typography and graphic communication and is shared online via its own website. We cannot find the way forward without clear knowledge of where we began — perhaps through fostering a greater understanding of Canada’s first golden era of design we can begin the process of heralding a new one. 

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