Allan Fleming: CN, 1960

Allan Fleming, Sketches for the Canadian National Railway, 1960

Thinking about diagrams and Adobe Illustrator and the alleged legitimation of the handwritten scribble by transforming it into dead font and clipart arrows; thinking about this because one of our On Site contributors was fretting about not being fluent in Illustrator. There are parallels with auto-translation here: a whole lot of meaning, intelligence, emotion and sheer life can be lost from the original.  

Allan Fleming's sketches clearly informed the ultimate CN logo: it isn't an entirely intellectual exercise, this design process thing, it is largely a visual exploration, running through hundreds of ideas, relying on the eye to weed them out before they go mechanical.

The 1960s  cleaned up a lot of our national icons, gave them all a simplicity which is now mostly replaced by font selection: the Bay, for forty years a quill pen hand pressure ribbon of ink, now a font that looks like a version of Banknote. 

Hudson's Bay logo, ca 1960, designer contested but perhaps Savage Sloan.

Stephanie Whitedrawing