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

More about AIGA Medalists

Three years ago I wrote a long post about the history and demographics of the AIGA medalists. Three of the overlooked names I listed are being honored this year: Nancy Skolos (with her husband and partner Tom Wedell), Art Chantry and Lance Wyman. This is a positive step, though I wish that among the six honorees there were some from the past as there was in 2014. At the top of my list would be Oswald Cooper, Helen Dryden …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 55—Mary Elizabeth Church

In 1909 W.A. Dwiggins designed a bookplate for Mary Elizabeth Church, the proprietor of Miss Church’s School for Girls on Beacon Street in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. It is not a significant design visually, but the correspondence surrounding it is of some interest. [1]
The origins of the project are murky. Despite the voluminous correspondence between Dwiggins and Daniel Berkeley Updike that survives, there are no letters from the latter commissioning the bookplate. The commission may have been an …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 53—Harper’s Magazine continued

W.A. Dwiggins’ work for Harper’s Magazine did not end with the appearance of tailpiece no. 7 in the August 1926 issue. In the November 1930 issue a new series of decorative elements—headpieces, tailpieces and column frames—began to appear. They are abstract rather than pictorial or floral like the first series. Although there is no documentation about their origin, I have some speculative ideas about how they came to be.
At the time that Dwiggins was redesigning Harper’s Magazine in 1925 a …
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