Production (Design, Illustration, Technology)

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Canada’s first publishers were also Canada’s first printers and type designers, hand-setting newspapers and books in small mid-eighteenth-century shops such as that of the Neilsons in Quebec City. In the 1800s, linotype machines and other innovations gradually replaced press-men and compositors and moved publications−now more elaborately produced and often professionally designed−quickly and in greater numbers into the hands of a country eager to read. As competition increased, shops like the Collingwood Bulletin newspaper office widely promoted the acquisition of new equipment and the quality of job printing services. Increased mechanization in the 1900s saw most print shops replaced by printing plants. Making full use of the artistic possibilities new technology offered, innovative mid-century designers such as Carl Dair, Paul Arthur, and Frank Newfeld “dress(ed) our letters in … strong fancy” and brought Canadian book illustration and design to the world stage. Toronto's Coach House Press, on the “bleeding edge of digital technology,” led the way when the tidal wave of computerization hit the publishing scene during the 1960s. Flourishing alongside these head-spinning advancements are Canada's fine presses, including Barbarian Press (Vancouver) and Locks’ Press (Kingston), who have brought the printing arts full circle in designing, printing, and publishing exquisite hand-crafted publications.