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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Workshop Announcement: Better Béziers: Digitizing Lettering

Poster We are excited to announce the details for our next workshop.

By popular demand, we are excited to hose our first ‘Better Béziers: Digitizing Lettering Workshop’. The event will be held Saturday, November 28 from 12pm-4pm at hackerYou (483 Queen St W, Toronto, 3rd floor).

The day will be hosted by local letterers (and Ligatures co-founders) Kyle Gallant & Christopher Rouleau. Kyle is a multi-faceted designer, skilled in calligraphy, expressive lettering, and even graffiti. He is a self-described “compulsive doodler” and passionate about all things type. Christopher is a freelance graphic designer & letterer, with a love for alphabets, antique lettering guides and old hand-lettered signs. He is comfortable working in a variety of media, including pen, chalk, acrylic, ink… the list goes on.

Check out more of their recent work on Instagram:

 | http://instagram.com/chris_rouleau

After the popularity of Kyle & Christopher’s brush pen workshops in Toronto and Calgary, they have pooled together their skills, knowledge and resources to put together a 4-hour tutorial on the fundamentals of digital lettering to take your work from the page to the screen – and beyond.

Pre-requisites: - Ligatures brush pen workshop (suggested) - basic working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator

Requirements: - laptop - Adobe CS (CS5 or higher) - a Dropbox account (for file sharing) - scanned lettering work(s) you would like to digitize

Cost: The cost of this full-day workshop is $80 ($60 with valid student ID, presented on workshop day). This price includes digital exercises, handouts, course instruction, as well as access to personal books and resources. Space fills up quickly, so please sign up today.

Course plan: This 4-hour workshop will help budding letterers convert their lettering and calligraphy work into versatile vector files, perfect for all print and web uses. Half of the workshop will be dedicated to reviewing the digital toolkit (including the beloved pen tool), an overview of building beziers, and tips on making the most of Illustrator’s auto-trace, with plenty of demos and exercises. The latter half of the workshop will be allocated for one-on-one time with the instructors to ask questions and perfect your work. Participants will leave the workshop with at least one completed vector file, and the skills to continue their digital lettering journey.

We look forward to bringing your talents together, sharing knowledge with one another, and creating some new brush pen work work! Thank you to hackerYou for sponsoring this event.

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!)

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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

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!



This past weekend, Ligatures was invited to participate in #100in1day. From their website:

What if hundreds of people united, each taking one small action to improve their city, all on the same day? 100In1Day is a global festival of civic engagement returning to Toronto for its second year on June 6, 2015. Imagine the possibilities for our city if hundreds of people united to participate in small initiatives to spark change. Share your vision for a better city.

We gathered in Forest Hill Village neighbourhood bright and early on Saturday morning to help Suzanne Long revitalize Bilton Laneway & community garden. Along with doing a bit of cleaning & weeding, Kyle & Christopher created a few hand-painted signs for the exciting new space. Check out some photos below.

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Thanks Suzanne for this great opportunity! We look forward to helping out more this summer!


Meeting Nº 22: Make Your Own Marquee Letters Workshop UPDATED

Join us on Saturday, May 16th for an afternoon of marquee letter making! We thought we'd give you a little sneak peak into the process that goes into making these fun and easy to make letters!





Creating these 3-dimensional letters is so easy using only cardboard, exacto knife, and a glue gun! As part of the workshop, you'll be provided all these tools to use and take home with you! You'd be amazed at how well the rolled corrugated cardboard adds a lovely stroke to the entire piece.

Last day to sign-up for this workshop will be Wednesday, May 13th. To sign-up, head to ligatures.ca!

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A big thank-you to Chris for sharing his own personal cardboard lettering!

The Swash & Serif Gallery Show Recap

2014-11-16-balloon Swash & Serif was the first typography-focused art show hosted by Ligatures and the Toronto Design Directory. The show opened with great anticipation on November 13th at The Black Cat gallery on Dundas West and ran until November 19th.






If you'd like to see more pictures of the event, please check out the great shots by BongoPix & Black Cat Gallery, as well as this great coverage by Torontoist.

The show was comprised of 40 pieces by 36 artists. We were delighted with the quality of the work that poured in from the creative community. It was difficult to curate the final selections – there was only so much space! It was a pleasure to see so many different mediums which made for an eclectic arrangement of typographic eye candy.




The full collection archive can be found on the Swash & Serif website.  It will also be the first place to find out when we'll be accepting submissions for next show, slated for fall 2015.

The Swash & Serif team would like to extend a thank you to Paul Dotey and Rob Shostak for helping set up the night before the opening reception. Thank you to Black Cat Gallery and Andrew Williamson for all of his help leading up to opening night. Thanks to the public for spreading the word about the show and supporting the artists show during the show's run. But the biggest thank you goes to the 36 artists that submitted their work

Go check them out now!


Type Camp Toronto – Recap

IMG_4656 I was fortunate enough to attend last week's Type Camp pointed pen workshop at Design Exchange, hosted by founder Dr. Shelley Greundler & calligrapher-extraordinaire Xandra Zamora. If you remember, Type Camp came to Toronto this past spring. We were so grateful that Shelley decided to set up camp in Toronto a second time.


The workshop started with some friendly introductions and Type Camp's infamous "Name Game", an innovative way to help all attendees break the ice, meet each other and get their brains warmed up. Then, we got right into the workshop with a review of our materials and a demo by Xandra. The mornings exercises focussed around stroke pressure and consistency using a pencil. We worked with a basic italic monoline alphabet, as well as a majuscule Roman exemplar.


Just before lunch, we got started with ink and our new nibs. Xandra gave another demo on how to tackle lower case script characters, using the press-and-release techniques we had just covered with the pencil.


After lunch, we were free to practice a variety of script alphabets at our own pace, with one-on-one help from both Shelley and Xandra. Below is some of my process work from the afternoon.

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This pointed pen workshop was a pleasure to attend – I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon than crafting tiny letters. I had no experience with a pointed pen, so it was a privilege to have this dedicated time to learn. Shelley & Xandra's knowledge & advice was invaluable, and the group was very supportive. Don't miss the next Type Camp – watch for the next Toronto workshop in early 2015.

Thanks Shelley & Zandra!