George Salter (1897–1967) was arguably the leading American book jacket designer from the time he arrived in the United States in 1934, following a forced emigration from Nazi Germany, until his death in 1967. He had already been one of the most influential jacket designers in Weimar Germany, a period rich in innovative book covers. For all of their inventiveness and variety, Salter's German jackets lacked a defining aesthetic. Some are expressionistic, some are classical; some are illustrated while others are photographic; and others rely solely on type, hand lettering or calligraphy. In contrast, Salter's American jackets—especially after 1940—relied on a combination of illustration and calligraphy. His calligraphy, in service to the emotional aspects of a book, was idiosyncratic and unpredictable. This talk will look at the role that calligraphy played in Salter's jacket designs and trace its evolution from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Paul Shaw is a letter designer and graphic design historian. He is the sole proprietor of Paul Shaw / Letter Design, a studio specializing for thirty years in calligraphy, lettering and typography. Among his clients have been Clairol, Origins, Lord & Taylor, Campbell’s Soup, Cinzano, Vignelli Associates, and Pentagram. Paul was formerly a partner in LetterPerfect, a digital type foundry based in Seattle. Since 1980 he has taught calligraphy, lettering, typography and graphic design history at a variety of New York area design schools. Currently he is at both Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts. He writes on letter-related subjects for Print, Eye, Baseline, Letter Arts Review, and AIGA's Voice. His book Helvetica and the New York City Subway sold out in two months, with a trade edition planned to be published by MIT Press. In 2002 Paul was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Finally, Paul is the reigning authority on W.A. Dwiggins, having spent 30 years researching his life and work.
Date and Time
The Rose Auditorium, in Cooper Union's New Academic Building
41 Cooper Square (at East 7th Street)
New York, NY 10003