Sign for Savoy Taylors Guild Ltd., The Strand, London (c.1906).

Sgraffito on a wall in the Giudecca section of Venice.

Detail of a neon sign for a barbershop in Grottaferrata, Italy.

Detail of page from Les Ecritures Financiere, et Italienne-Bastarde (1647) by Louis Barbedor, a French writing master.

Detail of store sign for Cortese Frizzoti in Venice. The letters in black have been painted over a gold ground which covers a former store name in mosaic tile.

Medieval inscription in Round Gothic capitals. In the cloister of S. Giovanni in Laterano in Rome.

Capital E and G stencils from collection of Eric Kindel, Reading, England.

Ghost signs with printer’s fist on wall of Rue de la Commune in Montreal.

Detail of painted directional sign for Coney Island covering mosaic sign indicating Up Town Trains. 53rd Street station of the R line in Brooklyn.

Punches for punctuation cut by Giambattista Bodoni at the Museo Bodoniano in Parma, Italy.

Detail of cover of Warren’s Standard Printing Papers specimen book by S.D. Warren (1929). Design, ornament and lettering by W.A. Dwiggins.

Blue Pencil

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 168—Teuerdank

Title page from Teuerdank by Maximilian I and Melchior Pfintzing (Nuremberg: Johannes Schoensperger, 1517).
Page from Teuerdank by Maximilian I and Melchior Pfintzing (Nuremberg: Johannes Schoensperger, 1517). Illustration by Albrecht Dürer.
In the 1974 Dwiggins Collection at the Boston Public Library there is a scrap of paper with some outlined bâtarde-like letters drawn on it. [1]No captions, no date. I have traced the letters to the Teuerdank, the book commissioned by Maximilian I as an epic retelling of …
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Blue Pencil

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 181—Three Folksongs from the Coast of Northern France

Work from early in the career of W.A. Dwiggins frequently looks very different from what casual observers envision as “the Dwiggins look.” This post is about one such instance, a set of five ornaments designed to fill out several lines of typography on the title page of some sheet music.
On New Year’s day, 1910 Daniel Berkeley Updike—not resting on the holiday—commissioned Dwiggins to design “line endings typographical.” (Elsewhere in his account books Dwiggins entered the job as “line endings Grasset.”) …
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Blue Pencil

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 165 addendum—Another B

On page 114 of W.A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design by Bruce Kennett (San Francisco: Letterform Archive, 2018) the author shows a cropped image of an insert for Beckett Paper from Direct Advertising vol. IV, no. 3 entitled “The Buckeye ‘Dummy’ Covers”. [1] “Dwiggins cleverly recycled the ornamental B from his Bartlett days, Kennett comments. Unfortunately, the decorative B, despite looking very much like the one Dwiggins designed for Alfred Bartlett in 1906, is not by Dwiggins.
The Buckeye …
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