Type@Cooper - Sign Painting: Color & Composition

Sign Painting: Color & Composition


with John Downer




Sat., Apr. 14 – Sun., Apr. 15, 2018
10:00AM – 5:00PM
tuition: $ 440

location: On campus

Sign painting has long been practiced by professionals who understand the importance of arranging prioritized copy effectively and assigning color values expertly. This workshop will cover several of the most accepted approaches to laying out lettering and making it work chromatically. Among the topics covered will be color theory, basic color combinations, and terminology.

Also taught, will be the fundamental considerations for arranging compositional elements for dynamic effect.

Students will be urged to explore various aspects of elementary sign design and color value selection for the sake of utilizing high, medium, and low contrast, as ways of elegantly expressing a clear graphic message.


    Required Materials

  • Soft lead pencil
  • Black ballpoint pen
  • Black fine point Sharpie
  • Metal ruler
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto knife (#11 blade)
  • Apron (optional)
  • $30 materials fee will cover tempera paint, card stock, colored paper, 1/4" brush and a color wheel


Also taught, will be the fundamental considerations for arranging compositional elements for dynamic effect.

Students will be urged to explore various aspects of elementary sign design and color value selection for the sake of utilizing high, medium, and low contrast, as ways of elegantly expressing a clear graphic message.

Registration for this workshop will open on January 4th. To receive updates on workshops, classes and free lectures please join our mailing list.


Register online…


Instructor: John Downer

Sign Painting: Color & Composition
Mr. Downer has been a journeyman sign painter since 1973, a freelance typeface designer since 1983, and a crusader for designers’ rights his entire adult life in the lettering game. He has written about type and type history for various publications, and he is widely known as a perceptive type critic. His typefaces have been published by Bitstream, Font Bureau, Emigre, House Industries, and Design Lab. Stylistically, his designs refer to various eras of history and means of letterform production: 19th- and 20th-century American sign painting and show card writing; 19th- and 20th-century American chromolithography and wood type; 18th-century European book types; 15th- and 16th-century Chancery cursive writing styles; 15th- and 16th-century Venetian printing; and 2nd-century Imperial Roman epigraphy.



Venue