On August 4th, guest host Richard Hake interviewed me on The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC about my book Helvetica and the New York City Subway System. It’s too late to hear me live, but you still hear me online.
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.
7 July 2011
Taxi stand, Leiden
I gave my talk “From the Street to the Sky” at the Hochschule RheinMain / University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden on July 6th for students in the Design Informatik Medien department. The talk was at the invitation of Prof. Gregor Krisztian. “From the Street to the Sky” is a survey of the many places that lettering can be found in the urban environment—from manhole covers in the street to neon signage on the rooftops of buildings. …
12 May 2011
Mid-Manhattan Library, New York Public Library
6:30 pm, Monday, 23 May 2011
This visual lecture will show how the signs in the New York City subway system have evolved over the past forty-ﬁve years, from the ﬁrst attempt by Unimark to create a coherent, cohesive and modular system in 1966 to its incarnation today. The resulting story is more than a tale of a typeface; it is a look at the forces that …
11 May 2011
New York City
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Unimark International, formed in 1965, was a new kind of design ﬁrm, one that sought to wed American marketing know-how with European modernist design. Over the course of a decade it transformed graphic design and corporate identity, creating a new paradigm of how design and business worked together. Among its major clients was the New York City Transit Authority for whom it created a new subway sign system between 1966 and …
9 May 2011
This is an early notice of what promises to be one of the seminal typographic exhibitions of 2011/2012.
In December 2011 The Grolier Club of New York will host an exhibition on the history of the French national printing establishment, the Imprimerie Nationale, arguably the most important printing house in Europe. Drawn from the vast and comprehensive archives of the Imprimerie Nationale, the exhibition will document the signiﬁcant influence of the press, not only on printing and the book arts, …
1 May 2011
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.
27 April 2011
Helvetica and the New York City Subway System
Albany Institute of History & Art
Albany, New York
2 pm, Sunday, 22 May 2011
For years, the signs in the New York City subway system were a bewildering hodge-podge of lettering styles, sizes, shapes, materials, colors, and messages. The original mosaics (dating from as early as 1904), displaying a variety of serif and sans serif letters and decorative elements, were supplemented by signs in terracotta and cut stone. Over the years, enamel signs identifying …
25 April 2011
It is only a taste, but listen to the sound of type meeting track at Spokenword.org. Although my voice is not as rich as this man’s, the audio snippet—which came as a surprise to me—gives one an idea of what the reading that I did at BookCourt in Brooklyn on March 18 was like.
23 April 2011
Society of Printers Annual Meeting
The Club of Odd Volumes
77 Mt. Vernon Street
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
The Society of Printers is the oldest graphic arts organization in the United States. I will be speaking on Helvetica and the New York City Subway System at their annual meeting.
23 April 2011
Ciao means both goodbye and hello in Italian. This is hello for Blue Pencil as part of my new website [nicknamed Shaw*] and goodbye for Blue Pencil as a standalone blog. This website gathers together all of my myriad activities under a single umbrella in a manner that makes clear how they all stem from my deep and abiding love of letters in all of their variegated forms and uses. It is about making letters, designing with them, studying …
12 April 2011
Midtown South is the area between 42nd Street and 23rd Street. Some of it is familiar to tourists, but much of it is not. The two One Club tours will try to cover this area, if not from river to river, at least from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue. The neighborhoods in this area are home to a variety of lettering styles, materials and techniques to see. These tours represent an opportunity to go beyond …
7 April 2011
Last Spring the TDC New York City Lettering Tour valiantly tried to cover Soho and Greenwich Village—and failed. We had a great time in Soho and ran out of time (and good weather) before we could get to the Village. This April we will try again to see what lettering jewels (and junk) the West Village has to offer. If time allows, we will continue to the Gansevoort Meat Market district to see what has survived there from the area’s …
7 April 2011
Paul Shaw, author of Helvetica and the New York City Subway System, and Abby Goldstein, book designer, will be appearing for a reading and book signing (with special Subway t-shirts for sale).
Friday, April 8, 2011 at 7pm
Spoonbill and Sugartown
218 Bedford Avenue
11 March 2011
You are invited to an illustrated talk by Alta Price and I about looking for lettering in Italy at the Type Directors Club on Wednesday, March 30 at 6 pm. The evening is free and there will be wine—but no pasta. And some serifs and some sans serifs. If you are curious about the Legacy of Letters tour this is your chance to see what all the fun and fuss is about. We hope to see you there.
8 March 2011
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 …