Type@Cooper - Sign Painting

Sign Painting


with John Downer




Mon., Jun. 12 – Thu., Jun. 15, 2017
9:00AM – 4:00PM
location: On campus

A discount is available to Typographics conference participants. A promotional discount code will be found on the PDF of your conference ticket. Please apply the code to workshop registration.

John Downer’s sign painting career began in the late 1960s
 and was instrumental in steering his path toward type design.
 In this introductory course, he will teach the two main kinds 
of letterform construction which have traditionally been done
 with a brush: single-stroke and built-up. Students will learn 
the importance of paint consistency and brush control. The 
class will focus on rendering a few particular styles of capital 
letters that were commonly used in American sign painting
 during the 20th century. Script lettering will be addressed in
 the final day and a half.


    Required Materials

  • no 2 pencil
  • kneaded eraser
  • $50 material fee payable to the instructor on the first day, covers the cost of brushes and board


The instructor will have available the following items:
 1/4” flat brush, show card brushes, and 2-sided white railroad board, plastic cups, tape and tempera paint for you to purchase directly from him. Please bring $50 cash to class on Monday morning.





Instructor: John Downer

Sign Painting
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