Monday, March 1, 2010

Mar 10

All Canada Celebrates Tonight

I lived in Vancouver when I first came to Canada in 1976. The post-hockey-game Robson Strassse crowds the television's showing us tonight bring back a number of very fond memories: trees and trees and trees, rain, warm people, rain, hiking and rain. As a graphic designer new in Canada, I found myself visiting grocery stores and asking who had designed this or that remarkable store or package. The answer was frequently the same: someone in Toronto called Don Watt.

25 or so years later I found myself in Toronto working for Don Watt, himself. During that time I was asked by an associate to lead a workshop for new immigrants starting their own businesses. My topic was managing design as a part of their business assets. I asked Don what advice he would have for them and he generously gave me over an hour of his valuable time. He used examples from his own body of work to demonstrate his different points.

That body of work included part of the cockpit design for the Avro Arrow and developing the re-design of Loblaws stores, the No Name and President's Choice brands, Wal-Mart Super Centres and packaging, the Home Depot logo and more recently the Metro stores and packaging. One of Don Watt's most famous and enduring designs is the Canadian flag. Don passed away in December of last year. I have been saddened.

Tonight as I watch the Canadian Olympic men's hockey team celebrate their victory with the Canadian flag draped in front of them, I feel the impact of Don's body of work... and I feel the imperative of my own. After all, my monthly calendar habit began while I worked for Don. Over the years he has encouraged these monthly missives. I dedicate this month's calendar to his memory.