Graphic designer, lettering artist, educator, historian and writer, Rod McDonald was a late starter in the world of typography. He began his career in type while working for Mono Lino, where he encountered Cartier for the first time. The first typeface ever to be released in Canada, the font had originally been designed to celebrate Canada's centennial and was called Cartier Book. He was entranced by it, returning to it again and again. Finally he revived it, simply calling it Cartier.
His next typeface was Smart Sans - a tribute to the now dead Leslie (Sam) Smart, a design pioneer. He was inspired in this work by Matthew Carter's Helvetica Compressed and Fred Lambert's Compacta (Letraset). In 2001 he started work on his third typeface, Laurentian. He was invited by the Canadian magazine MacLean's to overhaul its whole design, including the typeface and masthead. It was the first time that a Canadian magazine had ever commissioned a custom typeface. He modelled his face on Garamond and Casion. Laurentian was commended in the New York Type Directors Club competition.
[LC, December 2009]