Dec 20, 2012
Laurie Lewis began her publishing career in New York City with Doubleday in the early 60s, acting as liaison between the book design and printing departments. In 1963 she moved to Toronto and joined the University of Toronto Press. When Allan Fleming came on board as Chief Designer in 1968 the new Design Unit was formed and Lewis became Fleming’s assistant. The department produced many important books, winning numerous awards both nationally and internationally.
For her outstanding service over they years to the design community, Lewis was made a Fellow of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada in 1975, proposed by Allan Fleming and Leslie Smart. She was vice-president of the Ontario Chapter from 1975 to 1977 and continued to support and contribute to the organization for many subsequent years and encouraged graphic design internationally through workshops in publication design in the third world, particularly in South East Asia and in South America, through volunteer assignments with the Canadian International Development Agency
Lewis introduced computers to the design office at University of Toronto in 1984, with the original Macintosh 512K. In 1991 she took early retirement in order to pursue interests in writing and small publishing. She is the founder and director of The Artful Codger Press, established to encourage the publication of memoirs and life writings.
After retirement from her international volunteer work Laurie began what she calls "another life." She became editor of Vista, the publication of the Seniors Association in Kingston, and began a new career as a writer. In 2011, at the age of 80, her first memoir, Little Comrades, was published by Porcupine’s Quill, and was selected by The Globe and Mail as one of the Top 100 Books of the Year 2011. As of this writing, her next book, Love, and all that jazz is scheduled for publication in 2013.
I caught up with Laurie Lewis at her home in Kingston, Ontario where we talked about her impressive career, her colleagues, and some of the more collectible books that she has had a hand in designing. Please listen here.