Type Gallery – Laurentian

Font Designer: Rod MacDonald, 2003

Maclean’s is a weekly Canadian newsmagazine with a broad editorial mission. A typical issue covers everything from violence on the other side of the globe to the largest pumpkin grown in a local county.
In 2001, Maclean’s invited Rod McDonald to become part of the design team to “renovate” the 96-year-old publication. The magazine wanted to offer its readers a typographic voice that was professional, clean, and easy to read. Above all, the typeface had to be able to speak about the hundreds of unrelated subjects addressed in each issue while remaining believable and uncontrived.
A tall order, perhaps? Now add in that this would be the first text typeface ever commissioned by a Canadian magazine. McDonald, who some have called Canada’s unofficial “typographer laureate,” took on the challenge.
McDonald used two historic models as the basis for Laurentian’s design: the work of French type designer Claude Garamond, and that of the English printer and type founder, William Caslon. From Garamond™ Laurentian™ acquired its humanist axis, crisp serifs and terminals that mimic pen strokes. Caslon™’s letters are less humanistic, with a more marked contrast in stroke weight and serifs that appear constructed rather than drawn. These traits also made their mark on Laurentian.
Using these two designs as a foundation, McDonald drew Laurentian with the narrow text columns and small type sizes of magazine composition in mind. He gave his letters strong vertical strokes and sturdy serifs, a robust x-height and a slightly compressed character width
A tall order, per McDonald’s genius is evident in the face’s legibility, quiet liveliness and in the openness of the letters. The result is a typeface that not only met Maclean’s demanding design brief, but also provides exceptional service in a wide variety of other applications.
Laurentian is available in three weights of Regular, Semi Bold and Bold, with complementary italics for the Regular and Semi Bold, and a suite of titling caps.
Let the outstanding quality of this typeface convince you.
Download a printable sample of Laurentian as a PDF.

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