Author Archives: Paul Shaw

About Paul Shaw

Paul Shaw is a letter designer and design historian. He is the recipient of many design awards as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution. He currently teaches at Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts.

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Erotica: Award-Winning Spencerian Script

Ever since OpenType sparked an explosion in script typefaces, I've been waiting for someone to design a credible Spencerian style font. Maximiliano Sproviero, a young Argentinean in his mid-20s, has done just that with the perfectly named Erotica from Lián Types. The font family has already won an award from the Type Directors Club,...

Making an Ampersand

The 2012 Legacy of Letters tour and workshop, led by myself and Alta Price, took place in northern Italy this past July. As in previous years, it was an opportunity for calligraphers, letter cutters, typographers, and anyone else passionate about letterforms to study the history of the Roman alphabet in the place of its...

Inside Cyrus Highsmith's New Book, a Typographic Classic in the Making

Inside Paragraphs: Typographic Fundamentals By Cyrus Highsmith Font Bureau, 2012 Cyrus Highsmith, senior designer at the Boston-based Font Bureau, has written a short book on the basics of typography that, despite its odd approach—or maybe because of it—promises to become a standard text in introductory typography courses. The book, to be formally released next...

Michael Harvey's Life of Letters

I have known Michael Harvey, the British book jacket designer / lettercutter / type designer, for nearly thirty years. And I have known his work for far longer, having first discovered it in Erik Lindegren’s ABC of Lettering and Printing Types (Askim, Sweden: Erik Lindegren Grafisk Studio, 1964–1965, 3 vols.) when I was a...

Book Review: Characters by Stephen Banham

My blog Blue Pencil has become infamous for no-holds-barred critiques of books. This is not a Blue Pencil takedown. Instead, this is a welcome opportunity to praise a book that is exemplary in nearly all respects. The book in question is Characters: Cultural Stories Revealed through Typography by Stephen Banham (Port Melbourne: Thames &...

A Closer Look at Type@Cooper

Cooper Union and the Type Directors Club teamed up in the fall of 2010 to sponsor Type@Cooper (known informally as CooperType), the first postgraduate certificate program in type design offered in the United States. The extended program*, coordinated by Cara Di Edwardo and led by Jesse Ragan and Alexander Tochilovsky, covers a wide range of topics: techniques, technology, aesthetics...

The Kerning Game

The art of spacing is one of the most difficult aspects of working with letters. But anyone who works with letters extensively knows that good spacing is often more important than good letters. In “Lettering as a Work of Art”, the essay that prefaces Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering (1966 but originally Meisterbuch der...