People

Logo typeface designer Jim Rimmer is that rarest of typographers — equally at home cutting typefaces from metal or designing them on a computer from his New Westminster studio.

Logo typeface designer Jim Rimmer is that rarest of typographers — equally at home cutting typefaces from metal or designing them on a computer from his New Westminster studio.

For new logo, SFU turns to a Canadian icon

February 7, 2007

Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Related Links

By Stuart Colcleugh

To create the unique typeface used in the three-initial logo for its new brand, SFU turned to an equally matchless icon: one of Canada's foremost typographers, Jim Rimmer.

With more than 50 years of exceptional craftsmanship under his belt, Rimmer is that rarest of typographers these days — an artist as gifted at cutting metal typefaces by hand, in the centuries-old manner, as he is at working his designs digitally on a Macintosh computer.

While technically retired, he is still on the job most days at his New Westminster studio, Pie Tree Press and Type Foundry, where he designs, illustrates, prints and occasionally writes limited-edition books. His current project is a self-illustrated edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, for which he designed and cut the typefaces himself out of hot lead.

For SFU's logo, "I first used pen and paper and then the computer," says
Rimmer, who graciously donated his talents and the lion's share of his time on the project. "I began with a typeface developed 50 years ago called Optima, but I completely changed it in every possible way except that the original flavour is still there. The proportions, the width of the letters to their height are different; things like the placement of the cross stroke in the F are different; even the shape of the F — the top and the bottom — is different."

While most typographers would have simply scanned the original font into their computers and then worked on the scan digitally, he says, "I like to put some individuality into it. So first I drew it free-hand with a big marker on paper and then I outlined it and digitized it by hand on a tablet computer, and then it became a partial font family with the only letters being S, F and U."

As a result, he says, the SFU logo "has more of an organic look to it, not mechanical, and it's not a lift of somebody else's work. It's unique."

Search SFU News Online