Allan Fleming Issue

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

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The Devil's Artisan is remarkable in Canadian publishing in that most of the physical production of our journal is completed in-house at the shop on the Main Street of Erin Village. We print on a twenty-five inch Heidelberg KORD, typically onto acid-free Zephyr Antique laid. The sheets are then folded, and sewn into signatures on a 1907 model Smyth National Book Sewing machine.

To take a virtual tour of the pressroom, visit us at YouTube for a discussion of offset printing in general, and the operation of a Heidelberg KORD in particular. Other videos include Four Colour Printing, Smyth Sewing and Wood Engraving. Photographs of production machinery used on these pages were taken by Sandra Traversy on site at the printing office of the Porcupine's Quill, December 2008.

The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF) through the Support for Arts and Literary Magazines (SALM) component toward our editorial and production costs. Thanks, as well, for the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Sleeman Brewing Company.