The PSDA Blog

Spanish Design: Azulejos

Spanish Design: Azulejos


On a recent trip to Spain, Alexander was accosted by a barrage of aesthetic inspiration in Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona. As a means of unloading some of the weight under which his eyes were straining, he captured many photographs along the way for later digestion of these sights in tranquility. The next few posts will contain examples of the sorts of design that most peremptorily attracted his attention.



Portrait of the Designer as a Young Monster

Portrait of the Designer as a Young Monster


As we descended on the kitchen table for this week’s team-building exercise, we found a metre-long array of brightly-coloured containers of modelling dough splayed across the table, beckoning us like an aesthetic smorgasbord. Edith had scarcely finished instructing us to produce miniature “monster” versions of ourselves with the curious substance hidden within before the canisters were already half-empty, the polychromatic contents being vigorously shaped into our beastly counterparts.



Our Neighbourhood, the Garment District

Our Neighbourhood, the Garment District


The Garment District has been our home for 14 years now, since moving to 35 Camden St. in 2005. Located between Bathurst Street & Spadina Avenue and Queen & King Streets, it’s a vibrant neighbourhood with a rich history and a lively future.



Käthe Kollwitz

Käthe Kollwitz


On recent trips to the A.G.O., we were able to behold the extraordinary charcoal drawings, etchings, and sculptures of Käthe Kollwitz, which are currently on display as part of a three-part series. In numerous macabre and gestural yet naturalistic portraits, Kollwitz renders the plight of the poor, working class, and women in early-20th century Germany.



Picking Up the Pencil and Paper

Picking Up the Pencil and Paper


Although there are obvious advantages to using computers which make them indispensable design tools, there are also ample benefits to reverting to older, more-tactile design tools which may be less obvious. At PSDA, we try to use these methods regularly to appreciate our work in new light (literally) or inspire different kinds of creativity.



Grapheme-Colour Synaesthesia

Grapheme-Colour Synaesthesia


Have you ever felt that letters and numbers imply certain colours, almost like an aura or personality, that come to mind when you think about them? This phenomenon, whereby the comprehension of aesthetically-neutral semantic units is accompanied by corresponding hues, is called grapheme-colour synaesthesia. It’s experienced by a portion of the population, though the exact percentage has yet to be determined.



Toronto Subway / Bloor–Yonge

Toronto Subway / Bloor–Yonge


If you take the TTC regularly, you may be familiar with what’s possibly the most prominent Torontonian typeface, since it appears in most subway stations and in much of the TTC’s print materials. A geometric sans serif, it made its first appearance with the opening of the first subway line in 1954. In typical Torontonian humility, it was introduced with such little fanfare that no one knows who designed it, their name having been lost to history.



Picas and Points

Picas and Points


While one of us brandished a ruler festooned with picas to measure a design recently, it occurred to us that picas are likely alien to most people, though we use them throughout most of our work. Both picas and points are units of measurement that are peculiar to and invented for graphic design.



Facing the Anthropocene

Facing the Anthropocene


On our most recent expeditions to the Art Gallery of Ontario, we were able to behold a poignant exhibition of photography and videography by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier called Anthropocene. The title refers to the epoch in which humans are the dominant terrestrial force—shaping ecosystems, the climate, and landscapes, for example, more than anything else—as we now are.



Birthday Feasting

Birthday Feasting


At Philip Sung, our six birthdays a year mean six reasons to feast on delicious food from local restaurants. We may all be getting older, but at least we’re not getting any skinnier!