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InspirationAug 17, 2022

Experience what travel looked like in the modernist era with Canada modern

From airline logos to route timetables, travel guides to hotel logos, we end this summer travelling back in time with designs of the past from the Canada Modern Archive.

Air Canada Logo

Hans Kleefeld, 1963

Archive: TM78 

Owing to Trans-Canada Air Lines' (TCA) consistent exponential growth since its launch in 1936 and a bid to better connect it with the world in the new era, a bill was proposed in 1964 to change the airline’s name. The name Air Canada was made official on New Year’s Day 1965. 

Ahead of the bill being passed, TCA commissioned Stewart & Morrison Limited (in 1963) to design its new insignia as part of the change to Air Canada. It was felt by both the airline and the designers that, once launched, the momentum of the ‘new look’ must be maintained. The former TCA logo included a hand rendered maple leaf emblem, embedded within a circle. It was decided, on account of the maple leaf being universally recognized as Canada’s national symbol, that this must be retained. Hans Kleefeld took this as a starting point but completely redesigned the symbol, taking a cleaner, more contemporary and stylized approach, incorporating a broken circle at the bottom that starts at its stem. Canada in the centre, leading to travel around the globe. A representation of an Air Canada passenger’s journey. Simple but ingenious. 

Today, Air Canada's symbol still resembles the original concept by Kleefeld, but was redesigned to be more ‘natural’ and ‘human’ in appearance in 1994. It has since gone through several brand refreshes, mainly in terms of the wordmark typography and its relationship with the symbol.

Hallmark Hotels Logo

Burton Kramer RGD Emeritus, 1970

Archive: TM37 

Hallmark Hotels President Ernest Balmer was a long-standing client of Kramer’s. The company created destination hotels in Northern Ontario. The logo combines four leaf motifs into a symmetrical butterfly arrangement that is an H. 

The company’s most notable (and ambitious) development was the Hallmark Centre in Hornepayne, Ontario. This indoor city centre funded by CN included a high school, library, shopping mall, accommodations and the Centre Inn. In addition to the Hallmark Hotels identity, Kramer created identities and supporting materials for both the Centre itself and its hotel and restaurant, the Centre Inn. The Centre first opened in 1982, closing 30 years later in 2012 when CN could no longer cover soaring maintenance costs.

Hotel Maritime Door Hangers

Hélène L’Heureux, 1984

Archive: CM218 

This is a fun take on the hotel-door hanger for Montréal-based Hôtel Maritime. Featuring the seabird used in the hotel’s logo, the addition of bucket and night hat on each side offers a playful touch to accompany the nautical references employed in the copy. 

Hôtel Maritime opened in 1963 and offered its guests elegant, luxurious accommodations at a price-sensitive budget and with a European touch. In 1983/84, the hotel became independent through new management and underwent a major program of renovation and investment. To reflect these improvements a new identity was developed by Gottschalk+Ash.

Rolph-McNally Road Atlas and Travel Guide

CM204 — Stuart Ash RGD Emeritus, 1975

Archive: CM204 

This combined road atlas and travel guide was designed by Stuart Ash for Canadian mapmaker Rolph-McNally. This piece is part of a series of maps and guides covering different regions, created to capitalize on the anticipated demand by visitors to Montréal’s Summer Olympics in 1976. 

Focusing on "pride of place" on the front cover was a specially-designed “Canada’ logotype. The arrows created in each upper case ‘A’ provide a direct link to the purpose of the atlas, i.e. to provide direction and exploration, while also connecting to trees, representing Canada’s natural beauty.

The Heart of Newfoundland

Heiner Hegemann, 1962

Archive: CM62 

This travel book was designed to give readers a sense of the real Newfoundland, its people and places. The cover design uses a stylized map graphic of overprinted red, yellow, green and blue circles that reflects the writer’s desire to help people explore what was Canada’s newest province. 

The cover design was a winner in the 1966 Art Directors Club of Canada (ADCC) Directions Awards.

Voyageur Timetables

Anthony Hobbs, 1969

Archive: CM128 

This set of route timetables was produced to support the launch of the Voyageur brand that same year created through the merger of four subsidiaries owned by Provincial Transport Enterprises Ltd. 

Eventually, all the operators united under the Voyageur brand name, although at the beginning Voyageur Colonial was used as an interim solution for Colonial Coach Lines (one of the original four). These timetables use different colours to represent the routes, while the main Voyageur sample adopts the company’s core blue and green palette.

Wardair Boarding Pass

Jim Donoahue, 1975

Archive: CM177 

Wardair was a privately run Canadian airline, founded by Max Ward in 1952, based out of Edmonton, Alberta. In its heyday, the airline provided domestic services to Quebec, Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, as well as International services to Europe, the United States and several Caribbean and South American countries. In 1989, the airline was acquired by and merged into Canadian Airlines 

Before boarding cards were printed by computer, their personalized markings consisted of a combination of rubber-stamping, stickers and handwritten details. The Wardair logotype was famously designed by Jim Donoahue, but the ‘half maple leaf’ was an addition developed by the airline, initially used in their advertising but subsequently applied to their identity — much to the disappointment of Donoahue. 

This pair of tickets (found inside another artefact, possibly used as a bookmark, or for safekeeping on a trip) were for a trip to Vancouver, BC. Unfortunately we were unable to identify the departure city / airport. List curated by Blair Thomson, Founder and Creative Director, Canada Modern

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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