Legacy of Letters

Legacy of Letters was conceived in 1996 by Garrett Boge as an opportunity for calligraphers, lettercutters, typographers and anyone else passionate about letterforms to study the history of the Roman alphabet in its place of origin. The tour was inspired by the famous student tours of Rome and Florence led every other Spring by Prof. Michael Twyman and his colleagues in the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. Boge and I led tours of Rome from 1997 to 1999 and of Florence and Tuscany in 2000. In 2010 I revived Legacy of Letters with the help of Alta Price. The tour currently focuses on cities in the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions, but in the future it will expand to include other locations in Italy.

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My first meeting with Alan Kitching in 1995

I discovered Alan Kitching nearly 30 years ago. But what I discovered was not what I expected. In 1995 I took a self-paid two month “sabbatical” from teaching and designing to travel in Europe with the goal of looking at letters first-hand: in manuscripts in libraries, on the buildings and monuments of cities, in churches and museums. While in London, I went to visit type designer Dave Farey, who I had met the year before at ATypI in San Francisco. …
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Legacy of Letters 2015—Alan Kitching Letterpress Workshop

Poster designed by Alan Kitching and printed letterpress (2014).
This just hot off the press (so to speak): Alan Kitching, British graphic design legend, has agreed to teach a 4-day letterpress workshop, limited to eight people, as part of the 2015 Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop. The entire tour and workshop, organized by Paul Shaw and Alta Price, will take place next summer from June 28 to July 7. The Kitching workshop will take place at the Continue reading

Legacy of Letters 2014 Update

Due to insufficient enrollment the 2014 Legacy of Letters workshop and tour has been cancelled, much to my regret. However, Alta and I are already preparing for the 2015 Legacy of Letters workshop and tour and hope to have details posted before June. Save up your money and clear your calendar. Please contact me at paulshaw@nyc.rr.com to be on our mailing list. Grazie.
House number (Modena).

Legacy of Letters 2014

Alta examining Roman inscription on a wall in Verona (2013). Photograph by Paul Shaw.
The 2014 Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop will be different from prior ones. I will be leading it on my own since my colleague Alta Price is taking a sabbatical from Legacy of Letters to attend to her burgeoning career as a translator. She will return in 2015. Meanwhile, I am using the occasion to shake up the itinerary a bit.
Legacy of Letters 2014 will …
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La dolce vita dei caratteri: looking back at Legacy of Letters 2012

In preparation for Legacy of Letters 2013 I was looking through the over 1300 photos that Alexander Trubin sent me from last year’s tour and workshop. I had failed to organize them and last night I found myself bogged down in the tedious task while watching the New York Rangers demolish the Washington Capitals. The tedium was relieved by the opportunity to enjoy and relive the tour afresh: rubbing inscriptions in the courtyard of Sant’Ambrogio in Milano, viewing the moulds …
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Legacy of Letters 2013 Tour and Workshop Options

Legacy of Letters 2013 Tour and Workshop Options
For the first time Legacy of Letters is offering shorter options to its full ten day tour and workshop. Here are the various choices:
Full Tour and Workshops with Tony Di Spigna and Lucio Passerini
Sunday, June 23 through Thursday, July 4
$3775 / €2900 regular price
$3500 / €2690 student discount
Details at http://www.paulshawletterdesign.com/category/tours-talks/legacy-of-letters/
Punches for swash capitals by Giambattista Bodoni.
Optional Post-Tour trip to Parma (Museo Bodoniano)
Thursday, July 4 through Friday, July 5
$360 / €275 single-room occupancy
$300 / €230 …
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Legacy of Letters 2013 profile—Tony Di Spigna

Tony Di Spigna has been creating gems of Spencerian script—his term for drawn lettering derived from roundhand and other forms of pointed-pen writing—for over forty years. He learned the skill from Tom Carnase while working for Herb Lubalin & Associates, though I believe he has surpassed his mentor. There are two things that have always impressed me the most about Tony’s Spencerian script: 1. the gracefulness and naturalness of his curves; and 2. his ability to make compositions that hold …
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2013 Legacy of Letters Tour Leaders and Instructors

Meet the Legacy of Letters staff for 2013: Paul Shaw and Alta Price, tour leaders; Lucio Passerini and Tony Di Spigna, instructors; and Sandro Berra, coordinator of the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione.
Paul Shaw is widely known and respected as a guide to urban lettering.With Garrett Boge he co-founded and led the original Legacy of Letters tours of Rome, Florence and Tuscany from 1997 to 2000. On his own he has led regular walking tours of lettering in …
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Legacy of Letters: “I loved it and would do it every year if I could.”

“I loved that it was a small group, as we got to meet one another. The tour allowed for us to explore the city we were in. The tour included so much I was surprised we managed to fit in everything. I LOVED IT and would do it every year if I could. Thank you for the most enjoyable, informative and exciting 3 weeks. I have met friends that will last a lifetime.
Diana Pasovski, graphic designer, Australia
Diana Pasovski printing …
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“Grab life by the typographic tail!”

There is still time to sign up for the 2013 Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop at the early bird discounted price. Join Alta Price and me in Italy this summer and see how much fun you can have with letters. It is the experience of a lifetime.
Paul Shaw 
Alexander practicing Cyrillic calligraphy.
“This ten-day immersion in the world of Latin letterforms, in their native environment, was an unforgettable experience. It was such an amazing time, filled with lots of …
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Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop 2013

Legacy of Letters participants at Il Buon Tempo, Lucio Passerini’s letterpress studio in Milano
Alta Price and I have decided not to wait until 2014 as originally announced to reprise our Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop but to go ahead with one in 2013. We have been spurred to this decision by the urgings of colleagues in Italy and the wonderful time we had in 2012. (See Imprint for just one aspect of the 2012 tour …
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Special Three-day Lettering and Type Intensive

From Ruling Pens to Wood Type: A Special Three-day Lettering and Type Intensive
with Luca Barcellona, Lucio Passerini and Paul Shaw
at the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione
Wednesday through Friday 25–27 July
Ornate wood type from Pirola at the Tipoteca
Alta Price and Paul Shaw are opening the workshop portion of their Legacy of Letters 2012 tour to those with tight schedules and other constraints who would otherwise be unable to join us by structuring the workshop so that it can be taken separately from …
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Vacation for lettermaniacs

Wood type at the Tipoteca. Photograph by Carlo Scherer (2010). The 2012 Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop is shaping up quickly. Five people—a healthy mix of calligraphers, graphic designers and letterpress printers—are signed up and with one more participant the tour will become a reality. The tour is deliberately kept small—twelve people maximum, six minimum—in order to enhance the experience for everyone involved. This edition of Legacy of Letters broadens the workshop experience to encompass half …
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Legacy of Letters Workshop & Tour 2012

Legacy of Letters Workshop & Tour
Milan · Parma · Cornuda· Aquileia · Venice · Rovereto · Verona
Paul Shaw · Alta Price · Luca Barcellona · Lucio Passerini · James Clough · Sandro Berra
Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione
18–28 July 2012
Legacy of Letters 2012
In 2012 Legacy of Letters will again be a combination workshop and tour, but this time the emphasis will be on the former. The workshop, focusing on calligraphy, typography and letterpress printing, will take place over the course of a …
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Last Chance to Register for Legacy of Letters

Roman Imperial Capitals, Museo Lapidario di Scipione Maffei (Verona). Photograph by Carlo Scherer.
There are only three weeks left to sign up for the Legacy of Letters tour of Northern Italy this summer. The last day is Friday, May 20. There are still some places left. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to combine great lettering with great food and drink in a beautiful setting. To register click here.

2011 Legacy of Letters Tour of Northern Italy

The tour covers the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions of Northern Italy, from Parma to Venice. It focuses on lettering in all of its manifestations: inscriptions from ancient Rome to the Fascist era, Renaissance manuscripts and incunabula, the typefaces of Giambattista Bodoni, 19th-century Italian wood type and more. There will be informal conversations with several contemporary Italian calligraphers, typographers and graphic designers.  And, naturally, there will be opportunities to enjoy the great food and wine of these gastronomically rich regions. The …
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