Carl Dair (1912-1967) was a prominent Canadian graphic designer and typographer who is best known for designing the “Cartier” typeface, the first Canadian-designed text face. As a fervent advocate for good typographic design, Dair made an indelible impact upon Canadian graphic design and typography. Largely self-taught as a designer, Dair became the Typographical Director for the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal, and later established Everleigh-Dair studios with designer Henry Eveleigh. In 1946, E.B. Eddy Company published Dair’s Design With Type, which would influence generations of design students as a textbook. Moving to Toronto in 1951 to work as a freelance designer, his ambition to create a national typeface for Canada led him to learn type design and metal typecasting at the Joh. Enschedé en Zonen type foundry in the Netherlands. He was a founding executive member of the Typographic Designers of Canada, the sole Canadian contributor to Libor Librorum, and exerted influence through the strength of his work and through his eloquent writings on the subject of design. On January 1, 1967, Dair presented his typeface Cartier as a centennial gift to the people of Canada. He died later that year at the age of fifty-five.

The Library holds his papers, correspondence, design work, and reference library. Dair’s reference collection can be located within the U of T library catalogue by entering “Dair” in the search box, and searching within “call number”. A finding aid to the fonds can be found here: Carl Dair Fonds Finding Aid. 

In addition to the Carl Dair fonds, the library also holds Dair’s personal reference collection. It consists of his personal collection of books about design and typography, as well as examples of interesting design or art-related materials collected during his career. Exhibition catalogs from his time spent in the Netherlands, tourist guides of places to which he traveled, type specimens, and a range of other publications are also contained within this collection. These materials can be located within the U of T library catalogue by entering “Dair” in the search box, and searching within “call number”.

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