Detail of cast stone sign for “Dairy Supply Company Limited”, Coptic Street, London (1888).

Rubbing of letters from tombstone of Elisabeth Stoute (d. 1764), Trinity Church cemetery (New York City). Carved by Uzal Ward.

Detail of doorway sign for Ninth & Broadway Building (1929) in downtown Los Angeles. Designed by Claud Beelman.

Detail from a cutting from a 15th c. Italian chorale, a large manuscript intended for use by a choir. The script is Rotunda, a rounded form of blackletter mostly found in Italy and Spain. The music notes are square and rhombic.

Detail of an inscription (c. 1462) on the facade of S. Anastasia in Verona.

Neon sign for Crown Caterers Deli Restaurant in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The sign dates from the 1930s or 1940s.

Tombstone of Stefano Giuseppe Brion (d.1906) in the Cimiterio Brion-Vega, San Vito d’Altivole, Italy. Designed by Carlo Scarpa (1970–1972). The name is hidden in the “keys”.

Tours & Events

Tours & Events lists all lettering walks, Legacy of Letters tours, public lectures, talks, panel discussions, workshops, calligraphic demonstrations, etc. that I am engaged in.

Chronology of Lettering Walks

This is a list of all of the lettering walks I have led or co-led since the beginning of Legacy of Letters in 1997. There are additional cities that I have not led walks in, but have the capability to do so. They include Amsterdam, Baltimore, Berlin, Leiden, London, Mainz, Montreal, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rochester (New York), and Tulsa. I have led walks for institutions, organizations, design schools, businesses and individuals. For more information about my lettering walks …
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Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop 2017 Itinerary

Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop 2017 : Letterpress Printing with Erik Spiekermann
The upcoming Legacy of Letters Tour & Workshop will begin in Turin (Torino) before visiting Rovereto and Padua. It will conclude in Cornuda, home of the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione, where Erik Spiekermann will lead a five-day letterpress printing workshop.
For the first time the Legacy of Letters tour will visit Torino, the home of the House of Savoy, in the Piedmont region of Italy. Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour (commonly known …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 36—Knopf Colophons

Recently, I gave a talk at The Book Club of California titled Beyond the Spine: A Closer Look at the Book Designs of W.A. Dwiggins for Alfred A. Knopf. While preparing the talk a few months ago, Jennifer Sime, the executive director of the club, asked me if I could prepare an article on short notice for the club’s quarterly newsletter. I jumped at the offer because it gave me an opportunity to write in depth about the colophons in …
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Legacy of Letters 2017—Erik Spiekermann at the Tipoteca

If you don’t recognize this face you haven’t been paying attention to graphic design, information design, typography and type design for the past three decades. This is Erik Spiekermann. He was trained, in the true German printing tradition, as a compositor before working at H. Berthold GmbH under the legendary Gunter Gerhard Lange. For Berthold he both designed typefaces (the revivals of Berliner Grotesk and LoType for instance) and type specimens. In 1987 he also wrote the wonderfully …
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Lettering Walk in Newark

Flaking gold leaf business address in Newark. Photograph by Paul Shaw (2005)
Detail of the cast lettering on the facade of The Federal Trust Company building (1926) in Newark. Photograph by Paul Shaw (2005).
CooperType is holding the second annual Typographics conference between  June 13 and 23. To complement the tours scheduled for Sunday, June 19, I will be leading a lettering tour of Newark, New Jersey.
Sunday, June 19
10 am to 2 pm
$25; $20 for students
maximum …
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Typefaces vs. alphabets: The case of a parochial school in the Bronx

Cover of The Speedball Text Book: Lettering and Poster Design for Pen and Brush (14th edition) by Ross F. George (Camden, New Jersey: C. Howard Hunt Pen Co., 1941). Courtey of Lee Littlewood.
On April 17 I led a lettering walk for the Type Directors Club in several north Bronx neighborhoods: Norwood, Williamsbridge, Wakefield and Woodlawn Heights. In Williamsbridge we looked at the lettering on the facade of Immaculate Conception Church on Gun Hill Road (at Holland Avenue). The name …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 24—Talks on Dwiggins

For the past decade I have been giving talks on W.A. Dwiggins as a means of spreading the discoveries I have made about his life and career while my magnum opus remains in gestation. Below is a chronological list of the talks I have already given, including some in which Dwiggins is a player but not the main subject. They cover a wide range of topics since Dwiggins had a multi-faceted career. There are many other topics* that I have …
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Legacy of Letters 2016—Cibo part 1

Click here for more information on Legacy of Letters 2016.
With the theme of the 2016 Legacy of Letters workshop being Tipo Cibo Vino (Type Food Wine) here are a few photographs of “cibo” from past Legacy of Letters tours.
Photograph by Paul Shaw 2013.
Food is everywhere in Italy, in the streets as well as in the ristoranti, trattorie, and osterie. These first two photographs are from vegetable and fruit markets in Venice and the third is of some octopus …
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Poggio Bracciolini, an Inscription in Terranuova & the Monument to Carlo Marsuppini: A Theory

NOTE: This is the text of a short talk that I gave at the CAA Calligraphy/Epigraphy Session of the College Art Association 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC on February 5, 2016. The session, officially entitled Forming Letters: New Research in Renaissance Calligraphy and Epigraphy, was chaired by Debra Pincus and included presentations by David Boffa, James Fishburne, Roberta Ricci, Philippa Sissis and myself with William Stenhouse as the respondent. Jonathan J.G. …
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Tipo Cibo Vino: Legacy of Letters 2016 Workshop

LEGACY OF LETTERS 2016 TIPO CIBO VINO
The 2016 Legacy of Letters letterpress workshop will take place at the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione in Cornuda, Italy from July 9 to 16. Food and wine have always been an important aspect of previous Legacy of Letters tours, but this time they will become an integral aspect of the workshop which will pair cooking lessons with letterpress printing. Thus, the title of Tipo Cibo Vino (Type Food Wine).
THE WORKSHOP
Tipo Cibo Vino will begin with a …
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The Rchive no. 21—Poets’ Row in Denver

In August I conducted a lettering walk in Denver for TypeCon 2015. As part of my preparation I spent the day before walking and driving around the city. My chauffeur and cicerone was Diane Wray Tomasso, former New York graphic designer and Denver preservationist, an excellent repository of knowledge of the city’s architectural heritage past and present. One part of the city which we visited but which did not make it into the TypeCon 2015 lettering walk was Poets’ …
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Legacy of Letters 2015 with Alan Kitching—Itinerary, workshop and registration

Mr. Kitching’s Travels around London (2012). Letterpress print designed by Alan Kitching showing the various locations where his Typography Workshop has been located. Image courtesy of Advanced Graphics London.

The 2015 Legacy of Letters tour and workshop with Alan Kitching will take place in Northern Italy from June 27 to July 8. It will consist of six days of touring museums, libraries and churches in Lombardy and the Veneto and four days of letterpress printing with the celebrated British designer …
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Walk this Way, Sign this Way: A Downtown Los Angeles Lettering Walk

Cole’s French Dipped Sandwiches, 118 East Sixth Street, Los Angeles. Photograph by Paul Shaw, 2010.
Walk this Way, Sign this Way: A Downtown Los Angeles Lettering Walk with Paul Shaw
Saturday | November 8 10am–1pm
American Printing History Association , Southern California Chapter
Here in Los Angeles, we call it the Downtown Renaissance. Over the past decade or so, Historic Downtown Los Angeles has been revitalized with a youthful new population that has brought with it a resurgence of fashion, culture, and the arts. Fortunately, vestiges of Downtown’s former glory remain throughout the cityscape, giving …
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Monumental Design: Lettering in Green-Wood

I will be doing a lettering walk at historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on Sunday, September 14 from 1 to 3 pm. For details and to reserve a place click on the link above. Although I have often included cemeteries in my various lettering tours, this will be the first time that I have done an exclusive cemetery walk.
18th century tombstone for Maria Heuys Boerum, Green-Wood Cemetery. Photograph by Paul Shaw (2014).
Although the cemetery was established in 1838, …
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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