Collection C10 - Deborah Barnett Fine Print Collection

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00389 C10


Deborah Barnett Fine Print Collection


  • 1973-2018 (predominant 1974-1982, 2010-2018) (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

28 cm of published material

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Deborah Barnett (born December 15, 1953) is a Canadian creative director, fine press printer, and graphic designer based in Toronto.

She attended high school at Central Technical School in Toronto and was accepted into the school’s art program, where she took an interest in sculpture and drawing. Shortly after graduating, she became a founding member of Dreadnaught Press, working first as an apprentice, and later as an art director. The fine press printing collective was well-known in the Canadian literary and publishing community, and served as a space for Barnett to hone her print, design, and typography skills.

Beginning in 1981, Barnett lectured at the annual Banff Publishing Workshop in Alberta for nearly a decade, teaching design, art direction, and colour theory. After Dreadnaught Press disbanded in the mid 1980s, she started her own commercial design studio under the name Dreadnaught Design. Clients included Price Waterhouse Cooper, The National Arts Centre, The National Ballet of Canada, the AIDS Committee of Toronto, and Reed Books Canada. In 2001, Dreadnaught Design became Launched by Barnett and business partner Aaron Benson, specialized in website development, web design, and communications. During this time, Barnett also took on creative director roles for several large investment firms. She returned to more extensive fine press printing in 2010, collaborating on letterpress projects and creating custom materials for clients. In 2015, she launched Someone Editions, a specialty letterpress imprint in the spirit of Dreadnaught Press, alongside editor and poet Beatriz Hausner.

In 2018, Barnett took on the role of Master Printer at Kelly Library at St. Michael’s College, where she taught printing and typesetting workshops, and led production of a series of limited edition chapbooks for the Kelly Library Print Studio. In 2021, she earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Interdisciplinary Art, Media, and Design (IAMD) from OCAD University.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The collection was acquired by Kelly Library from Deborah Barnett in March 2020.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Collection consists of printed materials including chapbooks, books, bound volumes, broadsides, posters, greeting cards, stationery, advertising materials, and other ephemera. The collection spans Deborah Barnett’s career as a designer, printer, and publisher at Dreadnaught Press, Dreadnaught Design,, and Someone Editions.

Chapbooks and production materials Barnett designed and produced as the College Printer at Kelly Library Print Studio are held in a separate collection, which is currently being processed.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Further accruals are expected, particularly for Series 4: Someone Editions.

System of arrangement

Title based on contents of the collection.

Collection has been arranged chronologically by business entity into the following four series:

  1. Dreadnaught Press
  2. Dreadnaught Design
  4. Someone Editions

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by J Gilmore, 12 October 2021.




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