Typeface design education from Cooper Union
Grocery signs price tickets

Price Tickets and Paper Signs
with John Downer

This workshop will focus on small scale and medium scale commercial signs for promoting retail goods. Selling products is the objective, so the lettering styles and layouts need to be catchy. The signs also should be colorful.

Students will be taught how to design price signs for interior display, using a variety of appropriate alphabets. Chisel markers, pointed markers, and lettering brushes will be used, but expertise with the writing tools is not required. Basic instruction will be provided. In addition, several pages of handouts will be distributed in the form of a comprehensive pdf.

Card stock and paper are customary substrates for interior display. Only nontoxic paint will be used during the course. Students who can gain access to a photocopy machine which prints on 11" by 17" paper (or equivalent), and has enlarging capabilities up to at least 200%, will benefit significantly from the paper signs layout lessons.

Registration is now closed

Thu, November 10 – Thu, December 8, 2022

Where: Online

About John Downer

John downer

Mr. Downer is a sign painter, a typeface designer, and an educator. He has written about type and type history for various publications and is widely known as a perceptive type critic. His typefaces have been published by Bitstream, Font Bureau, Emigre, House Industries, and Design Lab. Among his most popular type designs are Iowan Old Style (on Apple Books and iOS 7+), Roxy, Ironmonger, and the ubiquitous food and beverage branding favorite, Brothers.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, a region of the US with a rich history of sign painting and hand-lettering, Mr. Downer was first introduced to commercial pen & brush lettering in the 1960s in junior high school. He began an apprenticeship in a sign painting shop at age 18. He holds BA, MA, and MFA degrees in art.

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. He began teaching lettering at the university level in 1972, making him one of the most experienced American educators in the fields of lettering and typeface design. He’s been teaching in the Type@Cooper program at The Cooper Union since its founding in 2010. He established the Sign Painting Support Group on Facebook as a platform to educate and guide serious enthusiasts and professionals in the principles of letter construction and the tricks of the trade.