24 August 2006
Ottawa (Canada) - When even the most analytical minds are seduced by such visual things as paintings, prints, posters, and books and CD covers, the graphic designers know they have done their work well.
Ottawa (Canada) - When even the most analytical minds are seduced by such visual things as paintings, prints, posters, and books and CD covers, the graphic designers know they have done their work well. On 16 August, Canada Post issued a domestic rate (51 cents) stamp to mark the 50 anniversary of the founding of The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC), an organization whose members are professional exemplars in the field of graphic design.

Parents who have shared with their children the joy of Dennis Lee's poems as brought to life by the illustrations of Frank Newfield (one of the founders of the GDC), as found in the children's classic Alligator Pie, know intuitively why they are drawn again and again to this book. It is the same for youths and their parents who purchase CDs or books based on the cover artwork alone: they are drawn to the intangible made real.

The profession and art of graphic design originates from traditions and techniques in the industrial trades of printing, typesetting, illustration and typeface design. However, it was the establishment of the GDC as a professional society that allowed the unique skills of the modern graphic designer to emerge and develop.

When the Post Office Department (now Canada Post) established the Design Advisory Committee in 1969, the forerunner of the current Stamp Advisory Committee, the GDC played a key role in establishing the committee and its members have held positions on it throughout the years. Canada Post's own design evolved over those years and the early work done on it by GDC Fellow Paul Arthur, earned him the honour of being the only Canadian graphic designer to date to be awarded the Order of Canada.

GDC founders Leslie (Sam) Smart and John Gibson trained in Britain as typesetters. Their arrival in Canada did much to raise design standards and further awareness of typography as an expressive element on the page. They also brought with them a sense of the importance of membership in a professional design society. Today, the Society's mandate and membership is broader than ever before. The GDC is organized into regional chapters representing British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Arctic and Atlantic Canada. The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD Ontario) is an association of accredited graphic designers formed from GDC Chapters.Designers in Quebec are represented by the Societe des designers graphiques du Quebec (SDGQ). Membership is comprised of practicing professional graphic designers, design educators, design administrators, design students, associates in related fields and corporate sponsors. Members form a network of professional assistance that acts as a resource to the profession and the public.

This 50 anniversary stamp is the result of a collaborative effort between Rod Roodenburg, David Coates, and Len-Nard Yambot of Vancouver's Ion Design Inc. It is an intriguing piece of work, as the rather minimalist design features a stylized lower case "g" that also forms a unique graphic of a beaver, a treasured Canadian symbol and the subject of Canada's very first postage stamp. "When you first look at it," Coates says, "you see simple lines, you see the type treatment. But then you look closer and you see the other levels, you recognize the iconic aspects. That's what design is about."

The 51-cent stamp measures 32 mm x 45.5 mm. Lowe-Martin printed 2,500,000 stamps which will be available in panes of 16. The stamps were printed using lithography in six colours and P.V.A. gum on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. They are general tagged on all four sides. The Official First Day Cover reads: TORONTO ON.

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The GDC is a professional Member of Icograda.