A. Ramiy

January 20, 2015

A. Ramiy

Happy New Year from Toronto Type!

Here’s a Cabbagetown sign that’s full of life. The multicoloured lettering and abundance of information give the impression of a friendly person with a lot to say.

I believe the language at the bottom is Tamil. Multilingual signs are found throughout Toronto and I hope to feature more in the future.



‘Tis the Season of Dreams

December 23, 2014

'Tis the Season of Dreams

William Ashley China is one of those places you can always count on for interesting window displays.

Here’s an excerpt from their holiday windows, featuring graffiti lettering and two playful elves.

Happy Holidays from Toronto Type!


November 30, 2014


I spotted these posters on Church Street in front of a restaurant called House-Maison. I love the way these two words are stacked up on top of each other.

The column of type has a percussive energy, like the sound of a drum roll. It easily commands attention, its noise overcoming everything around it.

The typography of a city often has a kind of music to it and it’s up to us to tune in to it, like honing in on a radio frequency. Are you listening?

Hastings Barber Shop

July 31, 2014

Hastings Barber Shop

I came across this barber shop in Leslieville last weekend. The painted lettering has the warmth and character of something made by hand.

Visually the words “Barber Shop” dominate, but the much smaller words bracketing “Shop” have a quiet impact: “Look Better” and “Feel Better”. It’s an acknowledgment that there’s more to a haircut than meets the eye.

The Venetian blinds provide the perfect backdrop, complementing the retro flavour of the sign.

Friperie St-Laurent

June 30, 2014


I was in Montreal back in May and I snapped this photo of one of my favourite Montreal signs. Its style is laid back yet elegant, like the dashed off handwriting on a greeting card to a friend.

This is a vintage clothing shop and the sign is absolutely fitting. It has the verve of an outfit that transforms its wearer into an effortlessly chic urbanite. Buy an item of clothing here and who knows whom you’ll become!


April 30, 2014


If you’re a Toronto booklover, you probably know that The World’s Biggest Bookstore has closed its doors for good. Its remnants on Edward Street are a melancholy sight.

The massive letters of the sign are gone, leaving shadowy traces behind. A bunch of painted slogans remain untouched, including “A book for every passion” and “Booklovers hangout”.

Are the hangouts of booklovers really vanishing? Are they an endangered species in need of our protection? Or are we simply finding other places to congregate and appreciate the printed word?

The Management…

March 31, 2014

My father took this picture at a car wash entry. It’s not the first time I’ve featured a photo by him. (Thanks Dad!)

The sign, with its all caps and red and white colour scheme, is reminiscent of a stop sign and has the same blunt force.

What do you think? Would you patronize a business with a sign like this one?


February 28, 2014


Parking signs are at once simple and multifarious. They usually consist of a capital P and an arrow, and within that template there are endless possibilities.

Here’s a Parking sign with a unique difference. There’s no arrow, but instead we’re presented with a gesturing cartoon character. Imagine if all Toronto’s signs were this exuberant.

I’m curious about the exclamation in the lower right. Does it say Parking in Japanese? Readers, if one of you can read this, please let us know in the comments.

Fluffy Tails

February 6, 2014

Fluffy Tails

This sign bets it all on going bold… and succeeds.

If the poodle silhouette were simplified it would become a pictogram, but as it stands it has too much detail to be one.

There’s a pleasing contrast here between refined script and forceful image. Overall this is a very effective sign.


January 19, 2014


I took this photo back in the fall and it seems appropriate for the beginning of a new year.

In the past I’ve speculated about the idea of traffic signs for human emotions. Here’s a good example of what it could look like.

Happy New Year, dear readers! May 2014 give you many reasons to smile.