Jack Trevett

William Edward (Jack) Trevett (1905—1986) was a dynamic figure in the history of typographic design and art direction in Canada. Born in England, he arrived in Canada in 1914 and eventually became a compositor and typographic designer, specializing in typography for the automotive industry.

Trevett moved around, working in Toronto, New York and Detroit. He returned to Toronto in 1932 and was hired by Cooper & Beatty, where he became responsible for typographic design, specification and supervision. Trevett also enrolled at the Ontario College of Art, studying under artists such as Frank Carmichael and Yvonne Housser.

New opportunities arose, and Trevett left Cooper & Beatty to join the staff of Saturday Night Press as director of creative production. Later, he worked at New World magazine as art and production manager. When New World ceased publication in 1948, Trevett was hired by the Argus Corporation as the art and production director of National Home Monthly magazine, and later vice-president in charge of the publishing interests of the Home Publishing Company. In June 1950, Jack Trevett purchased Cooper & Beatty. He shifted the company's focus from traditional typesetting services to the broad area of graphic design. Trevett sponsored educational programmes (he hired Carl Dair to speak on typography) and adopted new techniques, such as introducing photo-typography in 1952. Cooper & Beatty grew rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s, developing a stable of young, talented and ambitious graphic designers and typographers, including celebrated names such as Stuart Ash, Jim Donoahue, Allan Fleming, John Gibson, Anthony Mann and Ken Rodmell. Typography created by the craftsmen at Cooper & Beatty appeared in the print ads of every major advertiser in Canada.

A profile in the August 1965 issue of Shoptalk, Cooper & Beatty's internal publication, captures Trevett at sixty years old. It lists an incredible array of memberships and executive positions held, both Canadian and international. Trevett received numerous awards, including in 1965 alone the Elmer Voight Memorial Award (for his contribution to graphic arts education), the Dean of Printing Award from the Toronto Printing Council and the Oscar Cahen Memorial Award (for contributions to Canadian art and design). Cooper & Beatty had five operating divisions by 1968, the year it was sold to McLean Management Group of Montreal. For a time, Trevett remained as chairman of the board of Cooper & Beatty Services Limited. The company prospered into the 1980s, when advances in the new technologies of desktop design and publishing led to a slow, and eventually fatal, decline.

The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.