Nick Shinn RGD undertakes restoration of Canada's first typeface

Designed by Carl Dair in 1967, Cartier has only been available in the past decade in modernized versions which are quite different from the original. In honour of the typeface's 50th anniversary, Nick Shinn RGD endeavours to realize the classic phototype fonts in digital format. 


From 1967 through the seventies and eighties Cartier was the go-to typeface for Canadiana, especially in coffee-table books with historical content. Notably, Cartier was also the type in which the iconic full-text poster of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) was set.


Hewing closely to the typography of the phototype era (roughly 1965-1990), Shinn's restoration of Cartier, which he has named 'Dair', comes in three versions:

  1. Dair 67: with all the idiosyncracies of Carl Dair's original, no kerning, and italic with upright roman capitals. 
  2.  Dair TBNT: meticulously kerned to reproduce the 'Tight But Not Touching' style of the 1970s hand-set headlines.
  3. Dair: lightly polished and with all the bells and whistles required by today's typographers - small capitals, alternate figures, extensive language support and that new-fangled idea (at least in Jacques Cartier's day) - slanted italic capitals! 

The fonts are available at


Canadian type designer Nick Shinn RGD was born in London, England in 1952 and has a Dip.AD in Fine Art (1974) from Leeds Polytechnic. He moved to Toronto in 1976. During the 1980s he was an advertising art director, before going digital in 1989 with Shinn Design, specializing in marketing design. From 1980 he occasionally designed typefaces, before entering into it full time in 1998 with Shinntype. His first digital font, Fontesque, was hugely popular internationally, and his type designs Beaufort, Bodoni Egyptian, Brown and Handsome have sold steadily since their release almost 20 years ago. The Globe and Mail is set entirely in his custom fonts commissioned for the publication, Pratt Nova and Sense. He lives and works in Orangeville with his wife, artist Karey Shinn.  


Read more about Nick Shinn RGD's restoration and expansion of Canada's first typeface.