Paul Shaw

Keynote Speaker

Paul Shaw


Paul Shaw is a designer and a design historian. For three decades he has researched and written about the history of graphic design with a focus on typography, lettering and calligraphy. Among his areas of interest have been designers W.A. Dwiggins, George Salter, Phil Grushkin, Morris Fuller Benton, and Oswald Cooper; and artists Bartolomeo Sanvito and Andrea Bregno. He has received scholarships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, the American Printing History Association, and the Printing Historical Society. In 2002 he was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

As a graphic designer Shaw has executed calligraphy, hand lettering and typographic design for department stores, cosmetic companies, food conglomerates, universities, advertising agencies, design studios and others. His work has won awards from the Type Directors Club, AIGA, and the New York Art Directors Club. From 1992 to 2001 Shaw was a partner with Garrett Boge in the digital typefoundry LetterPerfect. He has designed or co-designed 18 typefaces, among them Kolo, Donatello, Bermuda, Old Claude, and Stockholm.

Since 1980 Shaw has taught calligraphy, lettering, typography, book design, the history of graphic design and the history of typography at a variety of New York-area universities and design schools. He has also led calligraphy workshops in the U.S. and Italy and has lectured widely on a variety of lettering and design history topics. From 1997 to 2000 and 2010 to the present Shaw has co-led the Legacy of Letters tours and workshops in Italy.

Shaw was the co-curator, with Peter Bain, of the groundbreaking exhibition Blackletter: Type and National Identity. Together they co-authored an accompanying monograph (1998) and catalogue (1999). On his own he completed the trilogy with The Calligraphic Tradition in Blackletter Type (2001). He is the author of the acclaimed Helvetica and the New York City Subway System (2011) and editor of The Eternal Letter: Two Millennia of the Classical Roman Capital (2015). His most recent book, Revival Type: Digital Typefaces Inspired by the Past (2017), has been praised for its rich historical information and modern application.

Events with Paul Shaw

  • Typographic Walking Tour on Thursday, October 3
  • Keynote: “Chicago Style—20th-Century Chicago Designers and their Type” on Thursday, October 3