Glenn Goluska, Book Designer and Typographer, 1947–2011


“You can lose a man like that by your own death, but not by his. So until then, let us rejoice in him.” — George Bernard Shaw

I have just learned from Parenthesis writer Chester Gryski that noted Canadian typographer and book designer Glenn Goluska has passed away. Glenn went into palliative care at the beginning of August, and earlier this week he married his partner Bernadette before a small group of friends and family.

Glenn was an accomplished and imaginative book designer, producing designs for Canada’s Coach House Press in the 1970s before designing catalogues for the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and numerous jackets for McGill-Queens Press. He also published books under his own imprints imprimerie dromadaire and Night Shade Press.

Chester Gryski reminded me

Glenn was one of the founders in 1980 (along with Will Ruetter and Paul Labarge) of The Devil’s Artisan. (It is still being published but now by Tim Inkster and Porcupines Quill and edited by Don McLeod). He left The Devil’s Artisan about the time he moved to Montreal. He was also an occasional contibutor to the journal Fine Print (when it existed) and designed one of the covers.

(I would love to know which Fine Print cover Gelenn designed.) I expect more thorough notices to appear in the coming days so I will let those who knew him best describe Glenn’s life and work.

This spring, as I was putting Parenthesis 21 to bed, I was presented with an opportunity to run a gallery of a few of Glenn’s book and poster designs. As I pulled this illustrated article together, I knew Glenn was ill and I feared that the article would turn out to be an obituary of sorts, and so it turned out to be. I am sad that Glenn won’t see this feature appear in Parenthesis 21, which comes out next month, but I am very glad to be able to share his work with readers of Parenthesis.

As an added tribute, the entire issue is set in a brand new typeface called “Goluska,” designed by Glenn’s friend, Canadian type designer Rod MacDonald. This will be the first appearance of this font in print.

Andrew Steeves, publisher of Gaspereau Press (and designer of the North American issues of Parenthesis) visited Glenn Goluska this spring in Montreal and posted an account of his visit on the Gaspereau Press blog.

Photo: Glenn Goluska judging at the Alcuin Society ‘Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada’, 2007.

— Paul Razzell

Postscript: On August 15, Glenn’s friend and colleague, Andrew Steeves of Gaspereau Press, reflected on Glenn’s passing here.