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Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 15—Strathmore Artists’ Series (1923)

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I have curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition runs from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
4 Men & Strathmore envelope (1923). Design by Oswald Cooper. Photograph by Annie Schlechter.
The third (and last) of the Strathmore Artists’ Series was mailed out in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 29 addendum—Where’s Oz?

After reading paragraphs 122 and 123 regarding the instructions for enumerators of the Twelfth United States census (1900), I decided to see if I could find another instance of someone counted twice. I had in mind Oswald Cooper (1879–1940), designer of the famous (or, depending on your view, notorious) Cooper Black , who had studied at the Frank Holme School of Illustration at the same time that Dwiggins did. Researching his life and work has—like that of Goudy, Updike, Cleland …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 3 addendum—Who was Charles Fulton Whitmarsh?

In The Definitive Dwiggins no. 3 post I included one (possibly two) uncredited designs by W.A. Dwiggins reproduced on a page of “trade-marks” from Applied Art by Pedro J. Lemos (1920), a book I stumbled across earlier this year while in the Bay Area to do research at the Letterform Archive. But I found the book while rummaging around at Black Oak Books in Berkeley with Stephen Coles. The title caught my eye as I am constantly trying …
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Addendum to Thoughts on Letterform Nomenclature

Ed Benguiat just let me know that his terminology chart is online at americanliteracy.com. There is a complete scan of Life with Letters as They Turned Photogenic by Edward Rondthaler (New York: Photo-Lettering, Inc., 1981). If you scroll to p. 183 you can find Ed’s chart. It is rotated, much reduced and lacking the subtle color of the original poster, but it is still legible—and thus functional. Thanks, Ed.

The Rchive no. 14—Superior Florists

Superior Florists (Manhattan). Photograph by Paul Shaw (2005).
Superior Florists, established in 1930, is one of the remaining floral and plant businesses in what used to be the thriving Flower District along Sixth Avenue south of Herald Square in Manhattan. The neon sign (script for “Superior” and sans for “Florist”) is dated to 1951 by Tom Rinaldi, author of New York Neon.

“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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Blue Pencil no. 25—A last word on About More Alphabets

Jerry Kelly has emailed me (12 December 2012) with a response to Blue Pencil no. 24 but also with a request not to post his comments. Although I will honor his request not to quote him or his email I will respond to two of his assertions. First, he claims that Comenius Antiqua had oldstyle figures and suggests I look at the Berthold Exklusiv specimen. Although I am not sure which specimen from Berthold he has in mind, my copy …
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Blue Pencil no. 24—Jerry Kelly response to Blue Pencil no. 23

Jerry Kelly has emailed me about Blue Pencil no. 24. Here is his commentary with my responses.

While it was good to see Paul Shaw acknowledge that “Kelly is right,” “Kelly is absolutely right,” “Kelly is making a subtle but important distinction,” “mea [Shaw] culpa,”; etc., about many errors I pointed out in his review of “About More Alphabets,” I’m afraid that his response to me introduced yet more errors.

[I did acknowledge errors in Blue Pencil no. 23 but three times …
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Blue Pencil no. 20—Zapfiana no. 1 update

David Lemon, Senior Manager, Type Development at Adobe, has given me the background on the digital version of Wilhelm Klingsporschrift in the Adobe Type Library:
For better or (mostly) worse, the ‘Adobe’ version was developed by Linotype under our joint Type 1 font development program. They concluded that Americans wouldn’t buy blackletter fonts with traditional forms for some of the characters (perhaps Goudy’s blackletters scared them), so they ‘modernized’ the forms to broaden market appeal. I argued for leaving the traditional …
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Blue Pencil no. 22—Zapfiana no. 3: Works and Typefaces

The publication of About More Alphabets by Jerry Kelly spurred me to create this third Zapfiana post which lists books by and about Hermann Zapf and typefaces by him (as well as pirated copies by others). The latter is, unfortunately, incomplete as gathering information on them has been very difficult. But it is a task that needs to be done.
Last updated 13 December 2012.
ZAPFIANA
This is a list of the most important texts by and about Hermann Zapf arranged in chronological …
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Blue Pencil no. 20—Zapfiana no. 1: About More Alphabets

Title page spread, About More Alphabets (2011). Typography by Jerry Kelly.
About More Alphabets
Jerry Kelly and Robert Bringhurst
Rochester: The Typophiles and RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2011
Typophile Chap Book New Series no. 3
112 pp.
4.5 x 7 in.
$35
http://carypress.rit.edu/publications/books/about-more-alphabets.html
[updated 7 December 2012 to reflect corrections pointed out by Jerry Kelly]
Hermann Zapf (b. 1918), widely considered to be one of the preeminent type designers of the 20th century, has continued to design new typefaces and revise earlier ones in the 21st century. His career …
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The Story behind The Swedish Modern Set: Stockholm, Göteborg and Uppsala

This post was sparked by a Twitter message from @lettersfromswe asking about information on my typeface Göteborg. Here is an account of how the Swedish Modern Set of typefaces (Stockholm, Göteborg and Uppsala) came to be and the obstacles and misunderstandings along the way.
Initial sketches for the Swedish Modern Set (November 1997).
During the 1997 ATypI conference in Reading, England Allan Haley, then working for Agfa/Creative Alliance, asked me for some ideas for new font designs. I suggested that someone look to modern …
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Who’s Who in American Art

Who’s Who in American Art 2013 (33rd edition), published by Marquis Who’s Who, has once again included me in its roster of “foremost achievers in America’s art community.” I am not sure how significant an honor this is, given that I am a designer and not an artist.  Perhaps it indicates that designers are being taken as seriously as fine artists. If so, it is a good thing not just for me but …
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Young Type Lovers Anonymous

Earlier this year Danielle Hall, a student at Parsons School of Design, interviewed me for a documentary on the issue of type piracy. Others interviewed in the film include William Bevington, James Montalbano, Frank Martinez and Carol Wahler. Young Type Lovers Anonymous can be seen online at vimeo.

Tutorial no. 6—Tight but not touching kerning

This tutorial was sparked by “The Kerning Game,” my review of Kern Type in Imprint. The 1970s were the heyday of what Hermann Zapf disparagingly called “sexy spacing” but what trade typographers called TNT (“tight but not touching”) typography. The designer who led this revolution was Herb Lubalin (1918-1981). Although the notion of “tight but not touching” typography is associated with the acceptance of phototypography in the 1960s and 1970s Lubalin’s exploration of the style began during his tenure …
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AIGA Chicago: Helvetica and the New York City Subway System

AIGA Chicago presents Designer as Author
Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: a talk and book signing
Paul Shaw
Getty Images
122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 900
Wednesday, November 16
Registration 6–6:30 pm; Presentation and book signing 6:30–8:30 pm
AIGA Chicago is pleased to present Paul Shaw in our next installment of Designer as Author, an ongoing series devoted to discussing written works with the designer-authors who create them.
The story of signage on the New York City Subway System is both a long and …
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