Letterform Archive – Beyond Exemplars and Ductus


Beyond Exemplars and Ductus

Beyond Exemplars and Ductus
with John Stevens

Lecture at SFPL Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Tue, Nov 19, 2019
6:00pm–7:30pm PT

Nearly four decades of letter-making have provided John with a comprehensive view of letterforms and design, having worked with classical letterforms, experimental letterforms, and personally expressive letterforms from the functional to the experimental. This talk will provide insights into form (and what is “good form”) – beyond the “form is function” model, the Universal Line, strategies to expand a letter designer’s vision (vs. so much copying), how visual literacy can expand one’s possibilities to see beyond “styles”, and a few models John has developed for visualization, ideation, and creation with letterforms.

About John Stevens

John Stevens is a well-known and accomplished letter artist on the international scene, renowned for his versatility and skill as a calligrapher and letter artist; resulting in a wide range of exemplary work. Beginning as a sign painter in New York, his insatiable inquiry into letters and their design led him into type, calligraphy, and lettering, learning to use various pens, brushes, and later the computer. By his mid-twenties he was working for nationally known clients in publishing, packaging, advertising, television, and film (Lucasfilm, Life, Time, Newsweek. Tiffany’s, New York Public Library, to name a few.) He has been invited to teach at many national and international letter arts conferences throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America as an instructor of this art. His original works are included in the collections of the San Francisco Public Library; Berlin’s Akademie der Künste; and La Casa del Libro (San Juan, Puerto Rico), as well as in many private collections. His work has been published and reproduced in dozens of publications and books in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the U.S.A and more recently, his book Scribe: Artist of the Written Word was published in 2013 to critical acclaim. He is working on completing the book; Mastering Broad Brush Capitals.

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