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.

Tours & Events

Lettering and Type at Push Pin: A Preliminary Investigation

The link below is to the video of my talk on “Lettering and Type at Push Pin” for Poster House (via Zoom) on November 16, 2021. There are a few errors in it. Here is the correct information:
• the “Chicago has a great lake” poster by John Massey is shown in an untrimmed state. The white circle at right should bleed. Thanks to Greg D’Onofrio for pointing this out.
• The small type on the cover of Our Crowd is …
Continue reading

Blue Pencil

Blue Pencil no. 49—Creative Typography

Creative Type: A Sourcebook of Classic and Contemporary Letterforms by Alston Purvis, Cees de Jong, and Friedrich Friedl (London and New York: Thames & Hudson, 2005)
This is not a full Blue Pencil dissection. It is based solely on the portions of Creative Type available as a Google Books preview online. The preview includes the front cover, pp. 268, 276, 279–280, 282–291, 294–295, 297, 299–304, 306–310, 313–320, 322–323, 326–327, 329–333, 335, 338, 340, 342–345, 347, 349–351, 353–355, 357–359, 362–364, …
Continue reading


A Visit to the Meister Museum in Amsterdam

Karina Meister at the door to the Meister Museum. Photograph by Paul Shaw (2006).
The Meister Museum: A Very Private Wunderkammer
I have known Karina Meister, a calligrapher/graphic designer/artist in Amsterdam, for nearly forty years. We first met in 1983 when she was living in the Kinkerbuurt neighborhood of the city, not far from the Vondelpark. In 1991 she moved to her present apartment in the Transvaalbuurt neighborhood. I don’t remember her first apartment very well, but her second one has fascinated …
Continue reading