Carl Dair, designer and typographer, was born in 1912 in Welland, Ontario. He was essentially a self-taught designer and in 1930 began his career as an advertising layout designer for the Stratford Beacon-Herald. During the 1930s, he worked as a freelance printer and, in 1940, while living in Montréal, Quebec, he worked as a department store art director. He became the typographic director in 1945 for the National Film Board of Canada. Through mutual friends, Dair and Henry Eveleigh met and between 1947 and 1951 they were partners in the design studio Eveleigh-Dair Studio. In 1951, the partners were preparing to take on a third partner and expand when Dair suddenly left Montréal for Toronto, thus severing his partnership with Eveleigh. It was not an amicable split.
Except for a brief time at the Toronto agency of Goodis, Goldburg, Dair, he would never work for anyone except himself. Dair travelled to the Netherlands and Europe between the years of 1956 and 1957, and this experience afforded him the opportunity to study hand punching of metal type at Joh. Enschedé, which led to the typeface “Cartier.” It was to be Canada’s first domestic typeface and was designed as a personal gift to Canada for its centennial.
He achieved international recognition when he received a silver medal at the Internationale Buchkunst-Austellung in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1959. The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts awarded him its Arts Medal in 1962. In 1967, he became a Fellow in the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada and died that same year in Toronto, Ontario, on September 28. York University has the Carl Dair Memorial Scholarship for the Department of Visual Arts in the Faculty of Fine Arts.