Archive for the Aurora Category

Graphic Design Celebrates Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre

Graphic Design for Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre

Graphic Design for Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Barrie, Ontario l4N 7R9

Always a pleasure working with the folks at the Aurora Cultural Centre. A smash hit from the time it was born, the Centre unites art, culture and heritage in what seems to be the perfect fit for Aurora. This is the cover for the latest in this successful series. New branding will augment the look and feel of these brochures in future that are bundled into the local newspaper for distribution throughout the Town of Aurora. But for now the warm feeling remains of a wise, old friend with lots to offer the community.

Graphic Design in Winter – Colour and Typograhy

Winter Progams at the Aurora Cultural Centre, designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Ontario L4N 7R9

Brrr! Chilly winter is a tough palette, all grey and threatening skies. Or bright blue sky and white snow… after Christmas a winter palette leaves few choices.
So I was surprised when the Centre asked for the yellow headline, and surprised that it worked so well in this context. I love working with Gibson, a great, clean font just released. And what could be more apt? Designed by a Torontonian! Suits the Centre well and always sets beautifully. One luxury seldom afforded the typographically inclined is a full set of weights. In the case of Gibson, a beautiful, spare Light weight that just seems to sit effortlessly at the top of this brochure cover on the left. Like Winter minus the chill.
Well, almost….!

Image Blends Iconic Architecture with Graphic Design

Aurora Cultural Centre Membership Brochure illustrates the many ways to participate in the success of the Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie.

Aurora Cultural Centre Membership Brochure illustrates the many ways to participate in the success of the Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie.

Sometimes creative work just seems to go right, unforced and natural. That’s the way it is with my work for the Aurora Cultural Centre. The iconic design of the Church Street School struck me right off as a architectural logo, meaning that the recognition factor of the school had integrity and cultural intent written all over it.

To date I’ve done a small series of brochures like this one, featuring an ever widening set of learning opportunities for the good citizens of Aurora. Guitar, Painting, Wood Carving, Lectures… even historically themed birthday parties where kids can dress up and go pioneer.

So I think the building serves well as a sign posts for what is offered within, and I am glad to offer and in my way, communicate a small part of it all.

In this case it’s the perfect fit.

Graphic Design: Why I love type.

When I designed this brochure for the Aurora Cultural Centre it was the pictures that came with the opportunity that struck a chord. And what could be better? A sunny day in a beautiful town in front of a minor architectural wonder. These images do not come without a bit of reverence. Storybook, perhaps.
But the shots told the story of how much fun one could have and be a bit of help to the community too. There’s certainly no lack of things to do and things that just have to be done in a venture like the Centre. Volunteers are needed in every capacity. For me, the task became one of emphasizing an already great story with typography – and then, as a designer – getting out of the way.
I’m always looking at new fonts and the extreme narrowness of this ‘grotesque’ caught my eye. I thought it might be interesting to throw in some colour as well. So in came the blues and teals. The basic beiges and sage in the background mirror the interior of the newly-renovated Centre.
As these brochures must literally shout out louder than the competition on brochure stands around town, most of the pertinent information must be contained in the top few inches.

AURORA CULTURAL CENTRE Membership Brochure, designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Barrie, Ontario. L4N 7R9

Three simple pages telling three simple related stories. Three ways to enhance your experience with the Aurora Cultural Centre.

A little graphic design for the Queen’s York Rangers

Well, our little show went off without a hitch on Wednesday night here in beautiful downtown Aurora. The visiting Lieutenant Governor arrived to the sounds of bagpipes, welcomed by a happy crowd of sincere well wishers and a dozen or so Rangers, our honoured guests.

I was pleasantly entertained all evening not only with the sincere affability of the Aurora crowd but with the pomp and circumstance of the event itself. I met not a few of the Rangers, each resplendent in their regimental blues, and heard what being a Ranger means in a number of different voices.

All my little special projects worked out well, with thanks to the generous efforts of our organizing team… I was outbid on the Silent Auction however: lawn tickets to a Blue Rodeo concert under the stars in August. Other than that, an affair to remember!

A night to remember in Aurora

I have been recently ‘gifted’ as some would say these days, in meeting and working with a group dedicated to helping Queen’s York Rangers by staging this prestigious event. This regiment goes back to American revolutionary times and their history is deep in the DNA of Aurora. Follow me as QYRbugleboy on Twitter!
Shown is the logo for this event, graphic designed as part of an overall design, marketing and social media strategy for the event.


The Aurora Cultural Centre is in its inaugural year. Already its well on its way to realizing its vision to enrich the community through arts, culture and heritage.

I am privileged to have them as new clients. Here’s my design for the Music at the Centre series of piano concerts at the Centre.

Find out more at

Meanwhile, a short drive north from Toronto

Had a conversation this week with new Aurora councillor Chris Ballard. The range of topics was wide as Chris is open, friendly, worth listening to – and has his ‘finger on the pulse’ to wax metaphoric. The discussion arose out of my confusion about what is really happening at town council, which may become a topic for future postings. I come to my interest in community happenings somewhat reluctantly, as someone who, in ten years, has had 7 new stoplights thrown up as barriers to hinder any easy exit to Highway 404 south to Toronto.

We covered what to do with my little corner, the northeast quadrant of town, ie the last few open and forested spaces in our rapidly expanding burb. Whether it’s wise to punch through pristine ponds & yes, over the river(!) for an unnecessary we both thought, quarter-mile mile road.

The conversation kept coming back to a certain billboard, at 60 feet across a blot in the open fields, featuring the prominent face of what looked to be a noble stallion staring straight out at the viewers, drivers really, at a busy intersection that was – up until a few years ago – wide open land. ‘Live here where horses roam’ or rather we mused, ‘where horses used to roam’ before we strip cleared everything for these lots. Gallop & frolic where horses once ran. What a headline. These last few lines mine, not from Mr. Ballard.

I have done a lot of real estate in my long past advertising agency life, but never have I put forward the proposition with quite so bold a face, nor stated the obvious quite so cynically, in such a ‘way beyond sad’ ironic fashion. Fast forward to the present and yes, access to this freshly sold out community may demand the previously referenced, quarter-mile road.

I once met with a previous publisher of our local paper, who commented that York Region had nothing really remarkable to boast about, nothing to draw tourists, not like, say Niagara or Wasaga. ‘Miniput?’, I said. But surely the treasure, in the absence of grand natural attractions, is the presence of being ‘still what we used to be’. Shouldn’t this be a consideration in our rather grand regional planning discussion, not brutal, raw growth. Could we please leave just a few horses around for the kids? Maybe an open field every few miles? No not just for the kids, for me, for my peace of mind. I could so go on…


AS I GAZE OUT MY FRONT WINDOW TONIGHT, I realize Aurora has everything. It’s the ultimate sleepytime community (I was going to write ‘sleepytown’ but that old Cream song brought this word).
Sometimes we stand outside on the back deck on a Saturday night and hush for a moment straining to hear any sound of life. So quiet. Really nothing on most nights. The odd party or two… maybe. This is the peace we find after what? 40 to 90 minutes on one of the 400 series highways north from Toronto – but worth every second most nights.

IT’S FEBRUARY, SO OF COURSE WE’RE SNOWBOUND. This is real Canada, past 3 or 4 of those weather zones you find drawn so carefully on seed growth maps. Way north of balmy Toronto.
I’ve done the rounds recently, up and down the street, collecting for the Heart & Stroke people, so I can relax not only because I have done my thing for the number 1 cause of death… but I now have the rather smug assurance that even though some houses have newer, more seamless wood floors and yes, many are bigger, but my front porch is no more neglected than others.

MINE IS THE LUXURY OF BENIGN NEGLECT, the haphazard detrius of living that gets a little messy & my not caring for every little thing brings a carefree relaxation I can’t help but value. More upscale dwellings in more tony neighborhoods may invite a certitude of correctness which demands a tidiness and proper presentation that is the foundation of displaying real dough. And now that I’m thinking about it, there’s not a BMW on the street. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… but you know of what I’m thinking.

MY SISTER FROM AZ COMMENTED ON THE BRICK. You don’t see that in the states anymore, anywhere she told me. The brick is protection from the perceived chill, the fireplace, the hearth of home. An indication perhaps that we, yes we in Canada, are so coddled – perhaps like lfe was in the 1950’s – bellybutton life – hibernation in the march of time. but now with the world at the edge of vortex, either blissfully unaware or or blissfully unconcerned are we.

OUR COUNCILLORS ARE SUING EACH OTHER FOR GOD’S SAKE! So passion in our small part of the universe is not in short supply, at least not here in Aurora. Thank God someone is fighting the good fight, I think, as we cuddle up for yet another long winter’s night.