Onça Design Roundup: Fall 2017


The Fall 2017 season was very busy at Onça Publishing. Not only was I kept hard at work on upcoming books for a record five publishers, I’ve also had six new books published with my design or typesetting work in them.


The earliest release was Harry: A Wilderness Dog Saga. It the memoir of Harry and several other of Czajkowski’s many dogs. This book was a lot of fun to work on, combining photos and drawings with the text. I tried something in this design that I hadn’t done before: all the photo captions are at the bottom of the page, regardless of whether the photo itself is at the top or at the bottom. I think it worked well!

The text font is Mrs Eaves XL Serif OT, a classic body font with a lot of character, while the titles and captions are in Mr Eaves San OT Light, a companion typeface by the same design firm. The handwriting font used for the dog names in the chapter openings is Walter Turncoat. The cover was designed by Anna Comfort O’Keeffe.

Harry: A Wilderness Dog Saga, by Chris Czajkowski. Harbour Publishing, 2017. 6 × 9 inches, 288 pages, $22.95.


Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies was the second time I got to work on a book of collected columns, but the first time I got to work with humour. Unfortunately, there was a lot of text to fit in not too many pages, so I couldn’t be as free with the design as I would have liked. Still

The body font is the flexible Freight Text Pro, while titles, introductions and the like are in the elegant sans-serif Sofia Pro. The cover was designed by Anna Comfort O’Keeffe.

Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies, by Tabatha Southey. Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. 6 × 9 inches, 320 pages, $24.95.


Vertical Horizons was a rarity for me because I had a hand in designing every aspect of this book. Not only did I do the text design as usual, but I also did the cover and dust jacket, the endsheets, and I even contributed to the choice of case colours. What’s more, it was my first time working on a large-format, complex book, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

The main text font is Kinesis Pro 3, which as the name implies, has a lot of energy, perfect for a book on helicopters. Everything else, from titles to captions and sidebars, is set in various weights and widths of Skolar Sans, a wonderfully readable, attractive and flexible typeface made for academic and technical texts.

Vertical Horizons: The History of Okanagan Helicopters, by Douglas M. Grant. Harbour Publishing, 2017. 8.5 × 11 inches, 256 pages + 24-page photo insert, $39.95.


This is another one that I’m very happy with the way it looks. I place it among my proudest work. The text is readable and elegant, in contrast to—and, oddly, complementing—the gritty subject of backpacking. But I especially like the chapter openings. Since each chapter deals with specific countries, the globe that illustrates each chapter turns to highlight that part of the world, too.

The body font is the traditional Arno Pro, and the titles and drop caps are in the more modern Kepler Std, which pair very nicely. The cover was designed by Anna Comfort O’Keeffe.

The World’s Most Travelled Man: A Twenty-Three-Year Odyssey to and through Every Country on the Planet, by Mike Spencer Bown. Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. 6 × 9 inches, 384 pages, $29.95.


I also typeset two books this season. The first was A Frenchwoman’s Guide to Sex After Sixty, by Marie de Hennezel, my first job for Greystone Books, a leading BC and Canadian publisher of nonfiction. It presented a unique challenge, since it featured pull-quotes, which are not common in books.

The design was done by Nayeli Jimenez, who was a pleasure to work with. The body type is Leitura News, the chapter numbers are in Good OT, and the chapter titles and pull quotes use Stilson Display Condensed.

A Frenchwoman’s Guide to Sex after Sixty, by Marie de Hennezel. Greystone Books, 2017. 5.5 × 8.5 inches, 224 pages, $22.95.


The second book was The Cinderella Campaign, the latest in Mark Zuehlke’s extensive Canadian Battle Series. It was my second time working on the series, since I worked on the cover for Forgotten Victory (2014), and my second time typesetting one of Zuehlke’s books, since I also typeset his Canadian Battle Series companion title, Through Blood and Sweat (2015).

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to figure out who originated the design of the series, though I’m sure it has evolved since the first book came out in 1999. The body font is Scala OT; the titles are in Agency FB Bold and various weights of Knockout.

The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports, by Mark Zuehlke. Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. 6 × 9.25 inches, 488 pages + 8-page photo insert, $37.95.

Your thoughts