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W. A. Dwiggins, Hermann Püterschein, and the Fictional Society of Calligraphers

  • Date
  • Time
  • Led By Bruce Kennett
  • Where TypeCon

After focusing on the typeface designs of William Addison Dwiggins in two recent, popular lectures, Bruce Kennett will turn his attention to Dwiggins's lettering and calligraphy at TypeCon2017 in Boston.

As a youth Dwiggins was already in love with letters. In art school he studied lettering and ornament with Fred Goudy. Once launched on his freelance career in Boston, he made lettering and calligraphy daily for advertising agencies and publishers — headlines for ads and brochures, backstrips and title pages for books — and published private projects. Over the decades his skills deepened ever more. This presentation features 50 years of WAD’s work, from roman, uncial, blackletter and his swooping italic hand, to the jackets and book spines that he hand-lettered for Knopf.

Dwiggins’s fictional Society of Calligraphers provided opportunities for him to publish and promote his ideas about design, illustration, and paper in the 1910s and 1920s. WAD served as secretary; his alter-ego Hermann Püterschein was president. The Society produced hilarious works of satire, serious essays on typography and design, stencil prints of great beauty, and copious expressions of identity: membership certificates, pressmarks, envelopes, letterheads, and mailing labels. Dwiggins’s myriad creations for the Society will be on display in all their color and variety.

Letterform Archive will also present a pop-up exhibition at TypeCon featuring unique and rare objects from Kennett’s presentation and other Dwiggins work of local and typographic interest. We’ll share more details about this exhibit soon.

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