Frank Newfeld: The Book [in a Box] Part I — Introduction

Frank Newfeld is one of Canada’s more colourful book-world characters. A celebrated book designer, illustrator, art director, publisher and storyteller extraordinaire, he has inhabited — and shaped — the insular world of Canadian publishing.

In 2008, The Porcupine’s Quill had the pleasure of publishing his memoir, Drawing on Type, a wide-ranging account of his life, from his youth in England during WWII, to his involvement in the Canadian book trade as Vice-President of Publishing at McClelland & Stewart, co-founder of the Society of Typographic Designers of Canada, and head of the illustration program at Sheridan College.

Randall Speller of the Art Gallery of Ontario has said:

‘Anyone who, in the last fifty years, has read a Canadian children’s book, gone to school, read a text-book, studied at university, read a novel, browsed a magazine, attended an art exhibition, purchased an exhibition catalogue, reviewed an annual report, attended art school, trained as a graphic designer, looked at a coffee table book or read Canadian history — all of you know something about the work of Frank Newfeld: for Frank Newfeld is everywhere in the world of Canadian books.’

The Porcupine’s Quill is happy to report that Drawing on Type is now available in PDF e-book fromat from Google Play and EBSCO. In honour of the occasion, we’re kicking of a short blog series of Mr. Newfeld’s ruminations on the advent of the e-books, their potential effects on children’s literature, and the possibilities that they offer when it comes to for artistic expression and appropriation.


by Frank Newfeld

Seven Centuries ago Western Civilization received a fantastic present. One that helped change our world dramatically. In Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg produced the first book using movable type.

The gift was eagerly adopted by many people who spoke many languages. The Book brought positive change to people’s lives. Changes not just in communication, but which widened moods, morals and minds.

As the centuries came and went, the Book stretched ever wider in search of distinct personalities in each of its creations. Different papers and typefaces were developed to aid the voices and views of each matter in question. More and more people found pleasure in reading, as well as the need to read for information.

The [successful] Book had the propensity not only to inform and entertain, but to soon even turn into a member of the ‘family’; often becoming an important part of it. The basic form of the Book never really changed — until the advent of the e-book!


Next up: THE BOOK [IN A BOX] Part II—A Complete Package.

Check back tomorrow!

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.