Free Exhibition Open to Public
July 10 – August 10
Hanson Dodge Creative (HDC) and the Wisconsin chapter of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) will set the stage to welcome TypeCon attendees to Milwaukee this summer with an art exhibition featuring the work of renowned sign painter and typographer John Downer.
“Today’s Special: John Downer” will be open free to the public during regular business hours from Tuesday, July 10 through Friday, Aug. 10 at the HDC studios, 220 E. Buffalo St. The exhibition will showcase almost three-dozen hand-rendered posters reminiscent of nineteenth and twentieth century signs found in historical photographs of buildings, billboards and vehicles.
Each sign measures 2 feet by 3 feet, and will be available for purchase for $200 apiece. All proceeds will benefit the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA), an international, non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, study, and support of typography and related arts.
“Creative inspiration comes from many places and it’s great to celebrate the work of others you respect,” said Dan Herwig, HDC director of brand experience and digital brand director. “This celebration of John’s unique work is designed not only to inspire us, but will also benefit the larger design community as well.”
Twenty posters from Downer’s classic “grocery sign” portfolio will be featured, as well as a dozen new signs commissioned by HDC which express off-beat and fun active lifestyle slogans. Examples include “Get Lost. Enjoy the Outdoors” and “Suck Less. Go for a Run!”
“We work every day with active lifestyle brands that have passionate followers,” said Herwig. “Co-hosting this exhibition with AIGA, as well as co-sponsoring the opening TypeCon reception on July 31, is a natural fit as those who will attend are just as passionate about typography and design.”
TypeCon is an annual conference presented by SOTA. Since its inception in 1998, TypeCon has been held in various cities across the U.S. and Canada. Organizers expect more than 300 designers to descend on this year’s host city, Milwaukee, for the 14th annual conference to be held July 31 through Aug. 5. Pre-conference workshops will be held Aug. 1–2 on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus and at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers. Conference events will be held Aug. 3–5 at the InterContinental Hotel, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave.
HDC and AIGA will host the TypeCon 2012 Opening Reception on Tuesday, July 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the HDC offices. Downer’s artwork will provide the backdrop as designers from around the country gather to network and learn more about their craft.
About John Downer
John Downer is a sign painter and SOTA member. Born in Tacoma, Wash., Downer began sign painting in the Pacific Northwest. He moved to Iowa in 1973, where his career as a sign painter and type designer has been primarily centered since then.
Downer began his training as a sign painter while in high school and finished his apprenticeship after college. He earned both a master’s degree and master of fine arts degree in painting from The University of Iowa. Downer resides in Iowa City and lectures throughout the U.S. and Europe. His essays on type history and hand lettering have become focal points for popular discussions about ethics. Downer’s professional activities include sign painting, lettering, glass gilding, type design, typography and logo design. He has also designed fonts for individuals and corporations.
His expertise in painted letterforms distinguishes his approach from that taken by most other type designers. Rather than referring to existing type or historical models for his original designs, Downer draws from the rich heritage of American sign painting. Letters painted with a sign painter’s brush differ in structure and general appearance from traditional type. Downer continues down the path of commercial brush lettering while adapting his personal notions of letterform and proportion to computer-based design of type.
To see Downer in action, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5ziWVJNU1U
AIGA, the professional association for design, is the place design professionals turn to first to exchange ideas and information, participate in critical analysis and research and advance education and ethical practice. Founded as the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1914, AIGA is the oldest and largest membership association for professionals engaged in the discipline, practice and culture of designing. The Wisconsin chapter, revived in autumn of 2008, represents professionals and students throughout the state of Wisconsin, connecting them to more than 22,000 members nationwide.