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.

Tipo Cibo Vino: Legacy of Letters 2016 Workshop

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).
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

Strathmore Papers and the Untold History of American Graphic Design

Recently Chris Harrold, Vice President of Business Development/Creative Director at Mohawk, invited me to up to the Albany/Troy area to see the Strathmore Archives that he has been digging into for the past few months. I was lured by the promise of seeing unknown work by W.A. Dwiggins and by the opportunity to do some preparation for my upcoming talk on “W.A. Dwiggins and the Promotion of Paper 1915–1935” at the Type Directors Club on June 3*.
For months both Dan Rhatigan …
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Legacy of Letters 2014 Update

Due to insufficient enrollment the 2014 Legacy of Letters workshop and tour has been cancelled, much to my regret. However, Alta and I are already preparing for the 2015 Legacy of Letters workshop and tour and hope to have details posted before June. Save up your money and clear your calendar. Please contact me at to be on our mailing list. Grazie.
House number (Modena).

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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Legacy of Letters 2014

Alta examining Roman inscription on a wall in Verona (2013). Photograph by Paul Shaw.
The 2014 Legacy of Letters Tour and Workshop will be different from prior ones. I will be leading it on my own since my colleague Alta Price is taking a sabbatical from Legacy of Letters to attend to her burgeoning career as a translator. She will return in 2015. Meanwhile, I am using the occasion to shake up the itinerary a bit.
Legacy of Letters 2014 will …
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Sagmeister unmasked

The TDC lettering walk on Sunday, May 19 was a gray, rainy mess. Although five participants stuck it out to the end, it was a miserable day and the new signage gems that we found in the Woodhaven and Richmond Hill neighborhoods were overshadowed by the difficulty of photographing them in the drizzle. Not only was my camera wet but so were my glasses. I had no idea what I was even looking at as I took photographs—and the results …
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La dolce vita dei caratteri: looking back at Legacy of Letters 2012

In preparation for Legacy of Letters 2013 I was looking through the over 1300 photos that Alexander Trubin sent me from last year’s tour and workshop. I had failed to organize them and last night I found myself bogged down in the tedious task while watching the New York Rangers demolish the Washington Capitals. The tedium was relieved by the opportunity to enjoy and relive the tour afresh: rubbing inscriptions in the courtyard of Sant’Ambrogio in Milano, viewing the moulds …
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Legacy of Letters 2013 Tour and Workshop Options

Legacy of Letters 2013 Tour and Workshop Options
For the first time Legacy of Letters is offering shorter options to its full ten day tour and workshop. Here are the various choices:
Full Tour and Workshops with Tony Di Spigna and Lucio Passerini
Sunday, June 23 through Thursday, July 4
$3775 / €2900 regular price
$3500 / €2690 student discount
Details at
Punches for swash capitals by Giambattista Bodoni.
Optional Post-Tour trip to Parma (Museo Bodoniano)
Thursday, July 4 through Friday, July 5
$360 / €275 single-room occupancy
$300 / €230 …
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Legacy of Letters 2013 profile—Tony Di Spigna

Tony Di Spigna has been creating gems of Spencerian script—his term for drawn lettering derived from roundhand and other forms of pointed-pen writing—for over forty years. He learned the skill from Tom Carnase while working for Herb Lubalin & Associates, though I believe he has surpassed his mentor. There are two things that have always impressed me the most about Tony’s Spencerian script: 1. the gracefulness and naturalness of his curves; and 2. his ability to make compositions that hold …
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