History of Typography in the West (Cal RBS) August 8–12, 2022

I have been teaching The History of Type for California Rare Book School since 2014. The five-day class has taken place every two years, either in Los Angeles or the Bay Area. With the exception of 2020, when the class was conducted via Zoom due to the pandemic, it has been a hands-on class. This year the class will return to the Bay Area where it will be based at the Letterform Archive.
Grendl Löfkvist, Education Director at the …
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Images from Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2019)—Part 1: Treviso, Venice, Rovereto, and Trento

The first iteration of Tipo Cibo Vino, the 2019 Legacy of Letters tour and workshop, was a smashing success. The ten participants and one companion had a marvelous time touring cultural and gastronomic sites in the Veneto, taking cooking and beverage lessons from Cristina Colle and Mauro Drago of Le Corderie restaurant, and then working collaboratively on a letterpress book at the Tipoteca under the guidance of Peter Kruty and Sayre Gaydos of Peter Kruty Editions. The experience was so …
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Gushing over Helvetica and the New York City Subway System

Alexander Cameron has just written an exuberantly positive review of Helvetica and the New York City Subway System for I Love Typography. He especially focuses on the design of the book which both Abby and I appreciate. Some of his comments:
The format size of Helvetica+—285mm (w) x 245mm (h)—immediately suggests that this is primarily a book to study, and not necessarily read in transit. Both the text content (including substantial notes and captions) and that of the photography, illustration and …
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Philip Grushkin Collection

Philip Grushkin: A Designer’s Archive (2013). Cover design by Kind Company.
The Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University recently announced the acquisition of the Philip Grushkin Collection. Grushkin (1921–1998) was a book jacket designer, book designer and publishing educator and consultant. The collection was acquired from the Grushkin family by Glen Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. I wrote the text for Philip Grushkin: A Designer’s Archive, the catalogue accompanying the collection. It outlines the life and career of Grushkin …
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The Lettermaniac or Literaphiliac Profiled: A Day with Alexandra Horowitz

On Looking: Eleven Walks with Experts. Jacket design by Tal Goretsky.
Alexandra Horowitz, Professor of Psychology at Barnard College (Columbia University) and author of Inside of a Dog (a no. 1 New York Times bestseller) has just written On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes (Scribner). One of the eleven “experts” is me, a literaphiliac—someone suffering from a malady that “makes one seek, and see, letters”—in Horowitz’s view. Guilty as charged, though I would have used the term lettermaniac. Anyway, I …
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Helvetica and the New York City Subway System short-listed

Great news! MIT Press has given me advance notice that Helvetica and the New York City Subway System has been shortlisted for The Art Book Prize (formerly the Banister Fletcher Prize), which is administered by the Authors’ Club in London. The shortlist of eight titles will be formally announced at the opening of The London Art Book Fair this Thursday evening, September 20th, at The Whitechapel Gallery. The winner will be announced later this year at a reception in late November.

Helvetica and the New York City Subway System passes a milestone

When The MIT Press offered to republish Helvetica and the New York City Subway System they initially planned a print run of 3000 copies. While it was far more than the modest 500 copies that Blue Pencil Editions did originally, it was a standard quantity for design titles. But The MIT Press quickly changed their minds and, to my astonishment, upped the figure to 5000 copies. Their faith in the book, especially that of their executive editor Roger Conover, has …
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New praise for Helvetica and the New York City Subway

Helvetica and the New York City Subway System has been awarded an Honorable Mention at the 2011 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in the Architecture & Urban Planning category by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The PROSE Awards annually recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in over forty categories. Judged by peer publishers, …
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I am excited to announce that John Boardley, publisher of the popular website ilovetypography, has asked me to serve as editor of the second issue of his print publication Codex.
Codex: The Journal of Typography (Issue 1, Spring 2011). Front cover.
For those unaware of Codex, its debut issue, published in spring 2011, contains a wonderful mix of material, both high and low, scholarly and popular: a review of the typeface Huronia, a paean to Ottmar …
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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 …
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