Type Attack 2 recap

After the success of last year's Type Attack lettering duel, we decided bring it back again this year. We had a tremendous turnout, with a record 20 competitors and over 50 spectators. The rumble was held at Shopify. In case you missed it, Type Attack is a tournment-style lettering contest, where artists are paired against each to drawn one glyph (letter or number) in successively shorter rounds. Other than that, there are no other rules: whoever creates the most interesting character (determined by the crowd vote) advances. Winner takes all!


We were happy to have Beau's Brewery samples their ales all night long.

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Here are all of the glyphs created during the battle:


Here are the fierce competitors who gave it their all:


And (drumroll please) here are the winners:

Team favourite / People's choice: Anna Balares

3rd place: Anthony Trask

2nd place: Bronwyn Cowan

1st place: Mark Serrano


We were also blessed with an outpouring of support from the community in the form of sponsorship and prizes. Above Ground was generous enough to donate all of these supplies for participants to use throughout the night:


And these were the amazing prize packs for the our contestants, including door prizes for everyone who participated:


A huge thank you to the following sponsors for their overwhelming support this year. Please show your love for these local suppliers and stop by their shops.


We look forward to seeing you all at next year's Type Attack!

Ligatures Toronto Brush Lettering Workshop Recap

Learning brush lettering in Toronto On the weekend of March 12, 2016, Ligatures gathered at Shopify in Toronto to share the basics of brush lettering to two groups of eager students. We were super excited to announce our newest instructor Veronica Wong, who joined Christopher and Kyle in teaching our weekend workshops.

Veronica Wong Teaching Brush Lettering

Christopher Rouleau Example Letters

Kyle Gallant Teaching Brush Lettering

Our lettering workshops cover everything you need to get started with brush lettering. Using our Ligatures lettering workbook, we helped students learn the most crucial brush form to practice in lettering: strokes! Once everyone was comfortable writing "rows of picket fences",  we dove into the uppercase brush lettering alphabet.

Students receive a selection of our favourite brush lettering instruments, along with tips and tricks on how to get the most of them. Students are encouraged to experiment as they work through the class, but favourites were quickly found.

After everyone recharged over a lunch break, we offered a primer on lower case alphabets and script lettering. Then, we put their new skill to the test. Students were tasked with crafting word marks for brands and match lettering styles. We are always impressed with the progress folks make from the morning to the end of the day.

Ligatures Brush lettering workbook and brush lettering in Toronto

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Christopher teaching students about brush letter construction

Thank you to Margot for the amazing photos, and Leslie for her support and social media savvy.

If you're interested in learning Brush Lettering in Toronto or anywhere else, please contact us with specifics or sign up for one of our lettering workshops today.

Brush Lettering Practice

Nº30 Meeting Recap: Type on Tap

After a busy holiday season, the Ligatures team organized a fun Type on Tap meetup and greet at O'Grady's. As with all new beginnings, resolutions were discussed and encouraged. It was a wonderful opportunity for the team to get feedback about what events people are looking for and create an exciting, typography-filled 2016. As always, we encourage suggestions for future events. Feel free to e-mail us at ligatures.yyz@gmail.com.








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Meeting Nº29 Recap: Happy Ball-idays


Last Wednesday, we held our first 'Happy Ball-idays" ornament decorating event. We filled Shopify with the smell of warm apple cider, the sound of holiday tunes – and lots of sparkles – as we gathered to create unique typographic bulbs for gifts (and for ourselves). We were super impressed with the talent and creativity that folks brought to the table. Check out the results below!

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We have lots of amazing things planned for 2016, so please stay tuned to our website, social media and blog for updates.

Ligatures wishes you and yours a wonderful holiday, and all the best in 2016.

Recap: Better Béziers at hackerYou

Photo 2015-11-28, 3 02 33 PM On Saturday, November 28, we held out first "Better Béziers" digitizing lettering workshop. The event was sponsored by hackerYou, who generously offered their space for the event. For this four-hour workshop, we reviewed our favourite tools and shortcuts for approaching digital lettering projects, and provided thorough demonstrations of point-by-point bézier construction, as well as how to make the most out of auto-trace. The latter half of the workshop was dedicated to one-on-one time with each participant, helping solve problems, apply their skills and create a finished piece. The best part was a group show & tell at the end of the day to showcase the amazing talents in the room.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this workshop, and much thanks to Eva & Eunice at hackerYou for your support. If you'd like to participate in the next Better Béziers workshop, join the wait list on our Workshops page.

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Ligatures Turns Two

Ligatures Turns Two Time flies when you're having fun! This past Thursday, Ligatures had it's second anniversary party at O'Grady's. We can't believe how quickly time has passed since our first event in 2013 and how much we've done between now and then. At the same time, we can! It takes a fair amount of organization and preparation to put on events each month, but as a team, we don't regret a single moment. Our second anniversary is a culmination of many late nights, long emails, and team meetings, filled with laughter, friendship, discovery - and fun!

Thanks to Ali of Light & Paper for collaborating with us on the cake topper!

We've accomplished a lot in the past two years, but we've learned even more. We're grateful for every single person that has attended one of our events. Whether you've attended once or you've been to every event, thank you! We couldn't have achieved any of this were it not for the wonderful design community in Toronto (and beyond!) It is the passion for lettering and typography from our friends and supporters that Ligatures is able to thrive and create an environment for creativity, collaboration and ideas.

We're excited to celebrate two years, and we're ecstatic for the next two, three – or ten! Cheers to celebrating more Ligatures landmarks with all of you.

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Ligatures Turns Two

Recap: Swash & Serif Two

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This year was the second year that we hosted our typography show, Swash & Serif, officially making it annual! The first Swash & Serif was held in November of 2014 at Black Cat Artspace on Dundas West and was a huge success. This year, we returned there to celebrate another fantastic round of artists and designers and the great work they shared with us, and like last year, we had a packed house on opening night!

We had a great number of submissions again this year, and saw a lot of awesome newcomers. Some of this work was so great, we couldn't believe we had never heard of these people! The creativity and level of skill that everybody in the show had was just stunning. Just like last year, of course, we received the majority of submissions at the last minute. Typical. (Hint: start working on your 2016 submissions now!)

Swash & Serif

A lot of people thought outside the box in creating imaginative lettering and typography work. We had pieces ranging from the huge and heavy to very tiny, incredibly detailed pieces. Wood burning and laser cutting, screen printing, painting and original hand lettering were all well-represented, and the show also included embroidered work and hand made jewelry. We also included prices for each piece on the artist cards for the first time, to try and help designers sell their work; last year there was a lot of interest from visitors and we wanted to help start a conversation about making a purchase by having all the information up front. Last year, we had our first submission from outside of Ontario, but this year marked our first international entry: a piece from sign painter Scott Boms in California! Swash & Serif was born in Toronto but we're excited to see and share work from all over the world.

With the success of year two, we're already looking ahead at 2016 and thinking about how we can keep Swash & Serif exciting for regulars and newcomers alike in year three. More info will be posted online as we make plans, so keep an eye out. We're excited to make Swash & Serif an annual event for the Toronto design community and can't wait to see what everybody comes up with next year!

Swash & Serif

Thank you to all the people who participated in our show, we couldn't have done this without you.

Alley Kurgan Andrew Robinson Anthony Menecola Ben Weeks Benjamin Lory Brad Pyne Brendan Gore Brett Martin Brian Narayan Kare Cat Walrond Davin Risk Edisson Cajamarca Campfire Jason Jay Studio Jay Wall + LOKI Jesse Watson Jules Stacey Kiros Chu Lauren Holden L.E. Frost Mark Serrano Marta Ryczko Melanie Abernethy Merrill Liu Natasia Leung Rilla Fernandez Sam Johnstone Sarah Trafford Saša Djukić Scott Boms Simone Robert Tanya Roberts Tatjana Petkovic Thary Chhom Veronica Wong Walker Ballantyne-Maund William Robinson

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Swash & Serif

Recap: Double Screening of Ink & Typeface

20150916-_DSC1165 Last Wednesday, we held a double screening of Ryan Couldrey's short film, "Ink", as well as the 2009 film "Typeface". Shopify was filled with excited Toronto creatives, ready for their dose of calligraphy, wood type & popcorn. The event was a huge success, and we can't wait to host another screening in the near future.

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A huge thank you to our friends at Wonder Pens, who provided some amazing giveaways for two lucky participants. Thanks, everyone!

Meeting Nº 25: Brush Lettering Workshop Recap

IMG_8795 After the success of our spring brush lettering workshop, the Ligatures team organized a summer workshop. Taught by Toronto letterers Kyle Gallant and Christopher Rouleau, the workshop focused on building the proper techniques associated with brush lettering. Participants were given all of the tools and resources to get them practicing with this particular style of classic lettering.

The Saturday workshop sold out in a matter of days, so a second date was added due to high demand. Both workshops were full of fun and eager people of all different skill levels. It was amazing to see a vast array of people participating.

The morning was spent working on the basic stroke techniques and becoming comfortable with all of the tools. Once the stroke exercises were complete, instructors Kyle and Chris lead the class in constructing casual uppercase letters.

After lunch and a bit more practice, participants moved onto lowercase lettering and began putting together basic letter combinations. Students are always encouraged to hold off on writing words right away and focus on stroke consistency and letterform construction. The rest of the afternoon was spent with different lettering exercises that put all their practice to the test.

The workshops were a massive success! It was amazing to meet so many new people and reconnect with others. The success of the workshop couldn't have been done without the help of Veronica Wong, and the generosity of Shopify for allowing us to use their beautiful space.

The Ligatures team has been in discussions to host an intermediate lettering course, which would focus on taking drawn letters and bringing them onto the screen. Stay tuned for more information on this, and please contact us if you like to get on the waiting list.

We are also working on a way to bring you our workshop book and tools, which would be available in our online shop for purchase. IMG_8793 IMG_8792 IMG_8788 IMG_8787 IMG_8786 IMG_8785 IMG_8783


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Again, big thanks to all of you that participated and looking forward to organizing another lettering workshop shortly!

Meeting Nº 24: Type on Tap Recap

Last week, Ligatures organized, "Type on Tap," a creative hangout for those font-loving individuals. The team secured a lovely back patio at O'Grady's, which was conducive to mixing and mingling.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet some new people as well as seeing old members.

Type On Tap

We lined the tables with kraft paper and spread out some fun tools to play with and test out. With drinks in hand, people got right into decorating the tables with different forms of lettering. Kyle was always around to help and share techniques.

We had a wide array of new members, not all in the design field, which was amazing. It was amazing to hear the different stories from all these people and their intrigue with typography.

We always encourage our members to put forth ideas that they may have about future Ligatures events. If you know of another venue that may be able to support a future, "Type on Tap," let us know! It's fun to kick back and talk type, especially if it's another warm, sunny day!

The Ligatures team has a number of great events coming up in the next few months. Stay tuned for more information about our Brush Lettering Workshop (August), Movie Screening and Lecture (September), and Swash & Serif, our Toronto collective type show in October.












Meeting Nº 23: The Type Attack Recap!

https://vimeo.com/131556748 June 18th marked our inaugural “Type Attack!”, a head-to-head tournament-style battle for typographic supremacy. The stage was set and the battle were lines drawn: twelve creatives were poised to doodle their way to victory and the Type Attack trophies! These epic battles took place at Critical Mass in Toronto.


The matches consisted of a randomly selected letter that the two participants had to create in 3-5 minutes in their own personal style. To fuel the creative fire, each round of the tournament drawing time was shortened, until the final one-minute battle for the grand prize.

Prizes included “Just My Type” donated by Leslie Harrod, a vintage lettering guide donated by Benita Aalto, and four sets of Parallel pens, gratefully donated by the amazing folks at Wonder Pens.

The energy of the crowd was intense and electric. The creativity of each fighter was apparent: Mark Serrano flicking ink on the page, Veronica Wong using fire (literally flames – no joke), and Kiel Perchinig using tape and ribbon all to create beautiful and inventive letterforms. At the bottom of the post are all the letters that were created throughout the night.

Everyone fought valiantly, but there could only be three finalists. It was a close match for third place between Jesse and Veronica, but in the end, Veronica vanquished Jesse with her flourished script “P”. The nail biting ‘ampersand’ final was between Brandon Gore and Kiel Perchinig. You could see the pressure in this round – hands were shaking, sweat was dripping, the seconds passed too quickly. In the end, Brandon was crowned the first ever Type Attack champion!

We’d like to thank the competitors for signing up (without knowing any of the rules beforehand!), everyone that came out in support, and Leslie, Benita and Wonder Pens for donating such amazing prizes for our contestants.

We are already planning our next Type Attack event, so if you’re interested, please sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know. Who knows – it could be you that holds up the first place trophy next time!

Meeting Nº 22: Marquee Letter Workshop Recap

When the Ligatures team was working on the Swash & Serif type exhibition last year, we constructed the logo out of cardboard and created beautiful 3D lettering. It's success gave us the idea to run a workshop on marquee lettering and illustrate how easy and simple they are to make! 2014-show-outside

Despite it being the long weekend, a wonderful group of participants joined us at Shopify to create their own marquee letters. All the tools were provided and people dove right in!












Thank-you to those that came out to our workshop this afternoon. I think I can speak for the whole Ligatures team when I say it was a fun and exciting afternoon. We're really looking forward to seeing the final letters/characters so please share them online (Twitter / Instagram) and tag us (#ligaturesyyz). We'd love to see the final products!


If you're looking to add lights to these letters, DeSerres has a few options available and you can check them out here. If you're looking for more vintage lights, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, or Michaels are other options. When looking for lights, ensure that they are indoor safe and have a battery pack that you can tuck away. Depending on the strand that you purchase, measure, mark, and cut points to which you can push the light through. Make sure that you're working with a sharp knife as this will help with cutting out the smaller holes. If you have any questions or concerns about this step, please feel free to e-mail us and we'll get back to you.

For future reference, you can purchase rolled corrugated cardboard from Rotblotts and any art store will carry larger sheets of cardboard.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Meeting Nº 21: Spring Show and Tell Recap

After a successful brush lettering workshop last month, the Ligatures team organized a Spring Show & Tell to showcase current work and to mingle with other creatives in the city. to start

The evening began with a preview of a short documentary, "Ink", directed by Ryan Couldrey & featuring the calligraphic talents of Tanja Tiziana. The short film, still in the final editing stages, explores Tanja's hand-lettering and some of her process work. Despite the decline of handwriting as a result of technological changes, the interest and relevance of hand-lettering is still alive and well. "Ink" was a wonderful way to open our meeting. We'll keep you updated on the progress of Ryan's film, and we look forward to sharing the completed documentary at a future event.


The rest of the night filled with discussion and opportunities to try new brushes that the Ligatures team had brought along. It was also a great chance to connect with friends – new and old – that had joined for the night. Critical Mass was kind enough to lend out its space – we maximized the opportunity by covering the tables with kraft paper & varying styles of markers and pens. Many different styles of lettering graffiti on the tabletops –  it was a great conversation starter.

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We also gave updates on a few of the upcoming events that the Ligatures team is working on:

  • We'll be hosting a "cardboard marquee letter-making" workshop on Saturday, May 16th at Shopify. More information coming soon.
  • Our Ligatures Lectures series will continue in June / July with a special guest speaker.
  • Due to the success of the previous brush lettering workshops, Toronto letterers Kyle Gallant and Chris Rouleau will be hosting another session in early August.
  • In keeping with the film festival spirit, we're looking to screen a type-related film in September.
  • The Ligatures annual type exhibition, Swash & Serif, will celebrate its second showing come October at The Black Cat Gallery.

More information will be provided shortly – please stay tuned to our website and social media.

Again, thank-you to all those participants that came out to our Spring Show & Tell. It was a great to see some new faces and reconnect with friends from previous events. Thank-you to Critical Mass and Margot Trudell for hosting the meeting, and for the ongoing support of the design community.

Meeting Nº 20: Brush Lettering Workshop

After much success with our brush lettering workshop back in July 2014, the Ligatures team offered its first full-day workshops this past March, hosted by Toronto letterers Christopher Rouleau and Kyle Gallant. 1

The participants started with the basics, learning the fundamental strokes that make up brush letterforms with our new & improved lettering course book (retail version coming soon to our shop!) There was an opportunity to try out all the different brushes that were provided: Tombow, Faber-Castell, Pentel, Copic Wide, and the Sharpie Brush. As people found their favourite tools, and got comfortable holding the pen, the construction of letterforms began.

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After a thorough review of the basics, Chris and Kyle led the group into developing classic upper case letterforms with the strokes learned.








The afternoon portion of the class explored the lowercase alphabet, with short letter combinations. Both Chris and Kyle had encouraged the students to hold off on writing words until the basics were covered. Slowly but surely, they eased into word construction and the results were stunning.



We also had several exercises, including matching a style, and fictional branding exercises. The talent in the room was incredible!


At the end of the day, it was amazing to see how far everyone had come in their brush lettering. In just 7 hours, people had discovered which tool they were suited for, and began developing their personal style.

On behalf of the Ligatures team, I'd like to thank Veronica Wong and Shopify for allowing us to use their wonderful space. The open air concept and natural light couldn't have made for a better learning space. Thank you to all of those that participated in this event - it was a big step for the team and we were grateful for the warm reception. We can't wait to do it again.

If you're interested  in working with Ligatures for future workshops at your agency or office, please contact us at ligatures.yyz@gmail.com and we'll be happy to discuss options.

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