The Canadian Jim Donoahue provides a shining example for the thesis that graphic artists whose main approach is through type design possess the best qualifications for the job of trademark designer. Illustrators and calligraphers execute their work primarily with the hand: they develop their concepts with a minimum of technology and a maximum of esprit, an accurate eye and visual originality in the truest sense of the expression.

Proof of these statements can be found in Donoahue’s trademarks for «Typographic Quebec», «Plaza Hotels Limited», «The Windsor Arms Hotel» and «David Fleury Music». In spite of this intense concentration on calligraphy, the principles of typography-that is, design raster construction, the contrasting of forms and the intact relationship between tension and repose -have become indispensable guidelines for Jim Donoahue, all of them aspects of the kind of aestheticism which has developed out of type design. This was not only evident in his conversation with me, it also shines out of the trade marks he has created for «Harvey Cowan», «Moriyama & Teshima», Architects)) and «Mobren Construction».

While the lives of other communication media such as posters, ads or packaging are relatively short, company trade marks are visible for years, even decades on business visuals and labels, on information signs, shopping bags, vehicles, etc. Today Jim Donoahue is one of the most renowned Canadian graphic designers-his «Canada» modeling is known to every world traveler- and this may be possibly ascribed to the fact that a close relationship to type and the areas associated with it is first and foremost the right tool for real accomplishments in the field of trade mark design.

– Dieter Urban

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