GUEST POST by Wellandarium 'Designer Carl Dair's formative years in Welland'

Carl Dair was a graphic designer and author whose classic book, Design With Type, discusses type as a design material and means of communication. It was the first Canadian work to be awarded “Book of the Year” honours by the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

In 1967, Dair was commissioned by the Governor-General of Canada to create a distinctly Canadian typeface for the country’s centennial. The result, Cartier typeface, was the first text type designed in Canada. The most prominent use of Cartier font can be found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Born in Welland, Carl Dair spent his formative years in the Rose City attending Central Public School and Welland High. At the age of ten, he became a delivery boy for the Welland-Port Colborne Evening Tribune, where he worked for Louis Blake Duff. Dair would go on to work in printing establishments across Canada and the world, but his early years in Welland were important ones, as indicated in the dedication of Design With Type:

To the memory of Louis Blake Duff, a bibliophile of great knowledge and fine taste who nurtured my interest in typography at an early age and never turned his head away from me except when I was swiping type from the hell box of his printing office in Welland, Ontario.

The work of Carl Dair, one of Canada’s most celebrated designers, has had considerable influence on subsequent typographers and designers. Douglas Lochhead, Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto from 1963-1975, composed Dair’s obituary in 1967. It can be found here.

Further reading on Carl Dair can be found below…

Dair was honoured in the Devil’s Artisan Rogues’ Gallery of the Canadian Book and Printing Arts:

Canadian Encyclopedia Entry of Carl Dair:

A Memoir of Carl Dair by Laurie Lewis:

Command Type: The Typographic Quest of Carl Dair:

The Carl Dair Typography Workshops in Winnipeg:

Cartier Typeface


“Space is meaningless unless something happens in it.”  –Carl Dair

This GUEST POST is originally posted here on Author Kevin Santone's Wellandarium BLOG

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 What's a Wellandarium?

The suffix “arium” is used to refer to “a place associated with a specific thing” or “a device associated with a specific function.” When I started the @Wellandarium Twitter feed in 2011, its purpose was to be a place to discuss the needs of Welland in a non-partisan manner during the federal (May) & provincial (October) election campaigns. But issues important to this city don’t come to life only during elections; in many ways, it was the conversations I had after the campaigns that proved to be the most useful & genuine. This blog is an attempt to expand on some of those conversations with people interested in rejuvinating the City of Welland, and Niagara as a whole.

About me:

My name is Kevin Santone.  I grew up in Welland, moved away to Toronto & St. John’s through the 1990s, and came back to Niagara a few years ago. I currently reside in Welland. I’m a high school history teacher at Lakeshore in Port Colborne, where I’ve developed a Local History course & overseen some exciting student research into local houses, businesses, and cemeteries. Through the course, we’ve done historical bike tours, cemetery walks, and artifact analyses. I also teach History & Social Sciences AQ courses in Brock University’s Faculty of Education.

My grandfather ran Santone Brothers Variety store on Niagara St. My other grandfather came to Welland to work at Atlas Steels. Both of these men made conscious decisions to live and work here. When I moved back to Welland, a lot of people asked me what I was thinking. I encountered that typical fatalistic attitude so common in cities that have declined. A lot of people continue to think that Welland’s problems are unique. Part of the role of this blog will be to show just how common these problems are in hundreds of post-industrial cities across North America. And to investigate some of the solutions that have worked in those cities. I hope to continue the conversations I’ve been having on my Twitter account (@Wellandarium) with a fascinating & diverse group of people interested in developing a healthy & strong City of Welland.