Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fine Lettering Never Goes Out of Date

Out of print, maybe. Out of date, never! There is no shelf life on fine lettering. These book titles and more are shared by sign painter and pinstriper, Rodney Vicik of Red Rocket Signs on his Flickrstream
     As an interesting side note, the book immediately above, titled The Elements of Lettering is co-authored by John Howard Benson (1901-1956), artist, designer, calligrapher and famed stonecarver at The John Stevens Shop in Newport RI. Originally published in 1940, this book is a practical and historical guide for lettering. Benson and his family were the subject of one of my favorite columns which I wrote nearly two years ago in this space (later recast as an article for AIGA). It is the remarkable story of a family of truly noted artists and craftsmen; two of which received MacArthur genius grants for their work. Through John Howard Benson's legacy, his family has gone on to become their own solo art colony. A year or so ago, I had the good fortune to visit JHBs son John and grandson Nick who now runs the shop in Newport, and gained such a respect for the accomplished work they each do. Days later, I was in a used bookstore in Manchester MA, and without thought in mind, I happened to find Benson's lettering book. It was a later 1950 edition printed on poor wood pulp paper, but I treasure it all the same.    

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