Sign Painting: The Great American Price Ticket
with John Downer
Sat., Apr. 18 – Sun., Apr. 19, 2015
10:00AM – 5:00PM
Once upon a time, stores had lettering artists on staff making price tickets. This American vernacular of commercial lettering takes many forms, from swinging brush scripts to bold block letter. The styles of lettering and layout were efficient, colorful and dynamic; their purpose was to grab attention and sell. John Downer’s workshop will provide instruction in the use of Speedball pens, show card brushes and felt-tip markers and will deal with establishing a hierarchy of lettering styles and color. Please bring a $20 materials fee, payable to the instructor, to the first class. Bring an apron or smock.
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.