Special Effects: Tricks of the Sign Painting Trade
with John Downer
Mon., Nov. 17 – Mon., Nov. 17, 2014
6:30PM – 8:30PM
location: Rose Auditorium
A large proportion of a traditional sign painter's knowledge about color combinations, three-dimensional illusions, and decorated letterforms was gained by apprentices who worked in union shops, under the guidance of journeymen. John Downer has been a journeyman sign painter for more than 40 years. He will open his bag of tricks and explain the techniques he learned along the way, including some clever stunts he acquired long after he finished his formal education. Many of the effects can be advantageously applied to display typography.
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.