Paul here. I hope all is well with PQ. We were in Erin on Sunday and picked up DA 62 at Renaissance. It’s such a great publication. And I was especially impressed that the issue was devoted to the great Allan Fleming.
When I came back to Canada in 1976 and went into third year OCA, Mr. Fleming taught one of the classes I took. He was probably the most influential person I have ever met — mostly because his passion for design transcended both the corporate and book worlds. He seemed to love hand-made paper or letterpress books as much as designing logos for corporations like CN.
One of the fondest memories of that time has to do with a poster. During that year, he had been approached by some folks from York University who needed a poster design for an Urban Planning conference they were hosting. So Mr. Fleming held a design competition in his class. Fortunately I won. However, the choice of me as the winner was mostly based on the concept and drawing I submitted — the type still had to be applied. Since I was clueless as about type and typesetting, I asked Mr. Fleming for help. He invited me over to his house on Markham Street to discuss it. The following Saturday I arrived there and he invited me in, offered me a Heiniken and proceeded to explain where to put the type, what font to use and which lines should be bigger than the others. A few days later he checked my type mark-up and off it went to the typesetter. Voila! It came back correctly, and I pasted onto the artboard along with my new size-as illustration and lo and behold it was printed like a real big-time job. An epilogue to that story has to do with a trip to Edmonton. A friend and I hitchhiked to Edmonton that summer to get work `out West’ in the oil industry. Our destination was really Fort McMurray but decided to stay in Edmonton and look for work. I went to the Student Job Centre and, unbelievably, there was a summer design job going — the Edmonton Social Planning Council needed someone to design and illustrate a book they had written about social planning. I went to the interview but hadn’t brought any kind of portfolio with me. When Linda, the woman interviewing me, asked if I had samples of my work, I said `No … but you see that poster on the wall of your office? I did that’. Take care and keep up the great work. — Paul Hodgson